(Photo: Living Hope Church)
The pastor of a 6,000-member church that meets in a former K-Mart building is asking other churches to help with the $1 million needed to stay on the property he considers the “promised land.”
Living Hope Church Pastor John Bishop, who wrote the book Dangerous Church, which is primarily about the risk-taking culture of his congregation, said he has 40 days to come up with the money needed to supplement the $4 million already collected to buy the building.
Bishop’s campaign includes specifically seeking 1,000 churches to each donate $1,000.
The Vancouver, Wash., church had to move from a former Mervyns mall store late last year after the property was bought by a movie theater company, Bishop told The Christian Post. He said the church was teetering on the possibility of being the "first homeless megachurch in the nation."
However, since then, the church has been housed in the former K-Mart building “on a handshake” (without a lease agreement) for the first five months, and now on a purchase agreement that may expire in October.
The church is in a neighborhood that includes the highest crime rate and number of homeless people in the city, Bishop said. Living Hope has become a place for people to be fed not only spiritually, but physically.
At the church’s 1 p.m. service on Sundays, about 200 children are fed lunch, he said. During the church’s other four services (including Saturday), 10 to 12 tables always have food available for anyone in need.
“I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this place was our promised land on the first day,” Bishop said. “It’s like God has put us at the center of reaching the marginalized in society. God’s given us favor. We are clearly ministering to people and it’s really awesome.”
Living Hope was listed as one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation by Outreach Magazine in 2007 and has also been named one of the most influential. Bucking a current trend, Bishop is moving away from the multisite model to a centralized one. At one point, prior to the transition, 19 church services were offered at multiple locations.
In the introduction to Dangerous Church, it states that “the book is less about methods or even the message of God, but about a church (Living Hope) that risks everything it has to reach lost people. A dangerous church sees what 'only God' can do when it acts upon what the church is supposed to be. It risks everything to reach people.”
Bishop produced a video for his campaign on the website, fortyfirstday.com, which launched on Monday. In the first couple of days of the campaign, three churches have given $1,000 each and others have promised to do so, he said.
“We are at that final 38 days and other churches are fasting and praying with us,” he said. “I am not a ‘plan B’ guy. I’ve never ever been a ‘plan B’ person. We are going to trust God. We are going to all in and I’m going to believe there’s a 41st day for Living Hope Church.”