(This is my story from the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.)
A Shelbyville church is celebrating its 75th anniversary by preparing to move into a “new” building that is a local landmark.
Gateway Church is moving a few blocks up Madison Street to the old Walmart building.
Work should be complete by December, and the move could take place around the first of the year, pastor Jason Daughdrill said. Recent renovations include the placing of a new church sign and repaving of the parking lot.
“God has been faithful to provide,” he said. “We are excited.”
Gateway, which is part of the Church of God denomination, was established Dec. 10, 1939, Daughdrill said.
The 75th anniversary of Gateway Church coincides with the 25th anniversary of the old building it is leaving behind, Daughdrill said. That building has been sold to another organization, which is not currently at liberty to announce its pending move, he said.
Gateway bought the old Walmart from Nothing But God (NBG) Ministries for an undisclosed amount. Daughdrill is also a board member of NBG.
Daughdrill said he did not believe the church could afford the building, but God provided the opportunity when NBG decided to sell. He prayed about the building and asked NBG about buying half the facility, adding that he did not at first believe he could pursue the entire property. The owner told Daughdrill he felt that the church should have the entire building.
On the day of that meeting, Daughdrill said his Bible app verse of the day was Isaiah 61:7. The New King James Version reads, “Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.”
“I think it was a God wink to say ‘I’m with you on this,'” Daughdrill said.
One hundred percent of the church congregation voted to buy the new building, he said.
The church is renting the use of its old building from the new owner until it can move into the old Walmart, he said. The church has an average attendance of 300.
Gateway will continue to provide the use of the old Walmart building for the Summer Feed and Fun Blowout, he said. That event, held just before the start of school at the building, marks the end of the Johnson Residential Group’s Summer Feed Program. The Center for Family Development partners with Johnson to run the program and hold the blowout.
“We’ve been anticipating this,” Daughdrill said. “There’s so much we want to do here.”
The church would like to make the building available for other community needs, he said. The congregation is open to ideas from the community.
“We don’t want to let it be just a Sunday thing,” he said. “It’s too good a facility to be just a Sunday thing.”
Gateway welcomes all to visit and attend, Daughdrill said, and to “encounter God’s love. We envision it as a safe place for people who are far from God.”