Jump directly to the Content


The persistent creativity required to find a place to worship.

Easter 1987 was fast approaching, when we would hold our church's first service. With eight other adults, we were planting a church where no Protestant church had been started for more than 125 years. The community had grown considerably since then. Surely it would see the need for another congregation.

One week before Easter, everything seemed in place. Our 23,000 hand-addressed invitations had reached everyone's mailbox, announcing our service times and location. We had rented a room in a beautifully restored, forty-four-room mansion now serving as an office complex. It had not yet opened to the general public; curiosity alone would bring people to such a unique setting.

Then the mayor called: "Our zoning laws do not permit a church to meet in that building."

A certified letter the next day warned, "You'll have to cancel your services and meet elsewhere or be fined $5,000 for every week you violate the zoning laws." The office complex we were so excited about now wore our not-to-be-removed ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

An Everyday Hero
An Everyday Hero
What does it really look like to love our neighbors as ourselves?
From the Magazine
How One Family’s Faith Survived Three Generations in the Pulpit
How One Family’s Faith Survived Three Generations in the Pulpit
With a front-row seat to their parents’ failures and burnout, a long line of pastor’s kids still went into ministry. Why?
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.