More Space, Please: Louisiana Church Goes Portable amid Renovation
By Carl Stagner
It’s an all-too-common sight: a local congregation widely scattered for worship in a cavernous auditorium. If pews could talk, they’d speak of a bygone era when seats were filled and space was limited. In Louisiana, one church is testifying to a different story, though. Sunnyside Church in Clayton, under the leadership of Pastor Jerry Sharp, is crying, “More space, please!” as growth has the church bursting at the seams. Sunnyside Church recognizes “a good problem to have” when they see one, stepping out in faith to expand—and “go portable for awhile.”
“We are renovating our current building to add more space to the sanctuary, add a nursery, and add a green room,” Pastor Jerry explains. “We are at capacity with our current seating and are looking forward to growth opportunities. We are having to stay out of our building during the construction. This is the reason we are going portable.”
Because of what God has been up to in their midst, Sunnyside Church finds themselves in an exciting, though somewhat uncomfortable, situation. Adapting and flexing to fit their needs in the interim, they’re readying themselves for God’s best to come to pass. Of course, the goal of such expansion isn’t to build a monument to themselves. It’s to provide a bigger, more fully functional launchpad for community ministry, and a hub of hope and inspiration to worship the Lord each weekend. Sunnyside, essential in their community’s eyes, isn’t accidentally serving their neighbors or equipping and encouraging the saints. They love everyone, whether their neighbors are close or far from God.
“Our motivation is to reach the lost in our community,” Jerry explains. “Weekend services are our best foot forward to helping people get to know God. My leadership is driven from a passion to help people know God, grow in their relationship with Jesus, find freedom, and go make a difference in this world. Helping others live out God’s design for their lives brings great fulfillment to us.”
Renovation of a building is one thing, but Sunnyside’s ultimate focus is renovation of the heart. When the people of God are actively engaged in the mission of God, amazing things begin to happen. Expansion of a single building becomes expansion to other buildings and other places. Only God can conceive of what is possible, but that doesn’t stop Pastor Jerry and the congregation from praying that God’s will be done.
“My prayer and vision for the congregation of Sunnyside,” Pastor Jerry concludes, “is that we would each continue on the journey of being conformed to the image of Christ, the vision God holds for us. That is to say that each member is living the abundant life of God’s gifts, passions, and purpose through the empowering Holy Spirit. I see this resulting in growth in our present location, as well as, planting more life-giving churches in surrounding areas.”
On July 23, Sunnyside Church held their first service at their temporary location, the Vidalia Convention Center.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.