During the Sept. 17 Campus Catalyst Meeting, the church discussed and voted to approve a three-year lease agreement for a property at 1516 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake, as our second location. Launching this new location is a part of our Ten-Year Vision, and more specifically, our One-Year Goal:
First Norfolk Advance: Between January and December 2017, we will launch a new location in our multi-site strategy.
This building on Volvo Parkway began as a church plant more than 10 years ago, but the church plant went out of business and a finance group purchased the partially-finished facility. The building has never been used and is in great condition. This facility works well for our purposes as it already includes a worship center and has three stories (plenty of space for student, young adult, adult, children, and preschool ministries). There are some construction projects that the owners will finish, and this will leave us to furnish the space with things like lighting, sound, furniture, and technology.
There are 170 parking spots for the building, which could present a potential challenge for significant future growth. However, this many spots give us parking for approximately 400 people. If/when we have more than 400 people attending church, we would then move to two gatherings at that location.
Our lease ownership begins on Oct. 1 (we are leasing this building, not purchasing it). Pastor Eric said that we plan to use October to finish and furnish the facility, and then plan a “soft launch” of the campus in November as we get our leadership teams (staff and lay people) in place. We plan to host some events at the location to help acclimate those who attend the church and people in the community to this new campus. We are planning for a “hard launch” of the new campus in January 2018. Currently, we are calling this location “First Norfolk on Volvo Parkway.” Brent Wilson, Minister to Young Adults, will be the pastor at this location.
There have been numerous things happening in our church life since the beginning of the year, so below is a summary of major news and events of which we’d like our church body to be aware.
As a reminder, this is our vision for the next 10 years: “Over the next decade, First Norfolk will raise up hundreds of leaders who will take thousands of people on a courageous adventure of hope. Fueled by power of the Holy Spirit and His Word, we will develop a team transformed by Jesus to radiate His rescuing light into the world. We see our members, like a fleet of lightships in dark and turbulent seas, illuminating the way to peace. We see people captured in the menacing waves of misery finding refuge in the hope that Jesus alone offers through the life-giving love and kindness we shine toward them. We see neighborhoods throughout the seven cities of Hampton Roads transformed by the light of hope we share. We see 1,500 life groups with 15,000 missionary followers of Jesus pulling people from the ocean of hopeless loneliness. We see lighthouse stations with platoons of people starting ten campuses in Hampton Roads and planting twenty new churches around the world, shining the light of truth and hope for those buffeted by the storm.”
We are adapting well to the parking changes that took place last fall.
We are identifying current challenges and working on a solution.
Shuttle pickups happen from 7:15 am to 1:15 pm on Sunday at three locations: the Cross Roads Center, the HRT lot, and the Interstate Commerce Center at Fortis College.
We ended our 21 Days of Prayer journey on Feb. 4, but we still ask that going forward you continue to pray for our church, our nation, and our world. Read prayer points and prompts here, and continue to share your prayers on social media for First Norfolk and the advance of the gospel using #firstnorfolkpray.
This Sunday and Wednesday, the left lane of Newtown Road will be closed in both directions between Center Drive and Princess Anne Road/Kempsville Road. Please adjust your travel time accordingly. Find more information and see a map here.
On April 16, we will gather along with hundreds of guests to celebrate the resurrection at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on the campus of Old Dominion University. We will have on exciting gathering at 10 am. Look for more details in the coming weeks. Begin to invite your friends and neighbors for this special worship gathering!
FAQs about Campus Catalyst
We welcome questions about Campus Catalyst and First Norfolk Advance. The most common questions we have had so far are about the second campus location. As you know, we have identified this as one of our strategic objectives for 2017. We don’t have much new information as the research and planning process is still in the early stages; however, we wanted to answer some basic questions:
Where will the location be?
We don’t know yet, but we have been looking at two location possibilities. Last Sunday, Pastor Eric shared in worship that “the door has closed” for one of these locations. We are continuing to investigate the second possibility.
When will it begin?
Originally, we had the goal of starting with a soft launch of the second campus on April 23, the week after Easter. Without having a location at this time, however, that time frame is not practical. We want to do this right and not rush into starting something that isn’t ready. We also don’t want to miss the opportunity to reach people, so we are diligently working on the plans for the new campus. We do not have a date at this time.
This has not been decided, but Pastor Eric will be delivering a message to all locations — either live in person or live via video — much of the time. Again, we are thinking and praying about what is best for the entire church.
Who’s going to the new campus?
No one has been asked to go at this time. We have developed a leadership training process for equipping leaders for all locations. The first round of this training is happening now with a group of people. This will be rolled out to additional groups in the near future. We do not have a timeline for beginning the process of selecting a core team to start the second location, but we are working on it, and will know something soon.
During the Nov. 27 Campus Catalyst Town Hall, once again Pastor Eric Thomas opened the meeting with this passage of Scripture:
“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:23-24)
Although the changes to our campus due to the VDOT highway construction project are presenting challenges, we believe all of these changes have been orchestrated by God. This is what God has given us, and we need to take the perspective of the verse above and “be glad in it.”
First, Pastor Eric discussed the one-year goal for 2017, which is part of “First Norfolk Advance,” our ten-year ministry strategy. Between January and December 2017, we will launch a campus in our multi-site strategy. This campus will be linked with our current location in terms of budget, polity, staff, and technology.
One of the main reasons for launching a new campus soon is because of the current parking restrictions due to the highway construction. We have lost 361 parking spaces, and the parking we currently have limits our church growth and the advance we believe God wants us to pursue. Once a church reaches 80 percent of their parking capacity, their growth is hindered. Although yes, we have borrowed parking lots, we can only borrow parking for a season — it is not a long-term solution that allows for church growth. We believe a new campus is the best approach we can take to solve this issue.
Statistics and research from other churches show us that on average, the year a church starts another campus, they experience 28 percent growth in that multi-site, and 20 percent growth in the second year. Because of this anticipated growth, we need to make sure we have the right pieces in place to be able to move forward with that strategy, which leads us to our objectives for the next three months.
Our 90-day objectives for Jan.1-March 31, 2017 are as follows:
Develop Leaders: Create a leadership development process. First group by Feb. 28. Second group by April 9.
Phillip Herring, our associate pastor of education, is developing a leadership training process for First Baptist Norfolk. We want everyone to be a part of this process, but we will take our staff through it first, and they will finish the training by Feb. 28. The second group will be volunteer church members that God has called to be a part of the new campus so that we can have a leadership core prepared to serve at our satellite location.
Select Campus Location: Call the church to join in a prayer journey for God to open door of opportunity for a campus location.
We do not yet have a location for our satellite campus — we are dependent on what God opens up for us. However, we are considering Virginia Beach or Chesapeake, since this is where the majority of our members reside, and our new location will accommodate growth. We are looking for a location we can lease for a period of time and develop a full ministry there. Future satellites may be in locations where we do not have a presence of many current church members.
On Jan. 8, we will begin a prayer journey together as a church for this new advance. First, pray that God would open the door for the right location for our satellite campus. Second, pray that God would call out individuals and families to be a part of that location.
Develop Communication Plan: Develop a compelling communication plan to tell the story of First Norfolk Advance to the church and community.
We need to communicate these big changes within the framework of our body of believers: how we’re doing, what we’re doing, etc. This blog is going to be important source for updates going forward. An unexpected outcome of the highway construction is that now that the trees are cut down, our church is very visible from the interstate. What a window of opportunity to be seen by many at this crossroads of our Hampton Roads community!
Select Leadership/Core Team: Beginning Jan. 8, call the church to pray that God would call out individuals and families to go on mission to a new campus. Have initial leadership and core team in place by Feb. 5.
We ask that you pray and ask God if you should become a part of our new campus. We will be multiplying our leadership in order to facilitate this new location, but we are not multiplying our staff. This embodies Ephesians 4:12, which speaks of equipping the saints for the work of ministry — this means our church members. However, we will not be “recruiting” anyone for the new location. We are trusting God to orchestrate who goes and who stays at each location.
On Jan. 8 — or even before — please join us in praying for our First Norfolk Advance.