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“Herb’s Renovation Story”
by Tom Goodman
August 18, 2005

As I’ve told you before, I believe God called me here to be the foreman of a great renovation project.  The word “renovate” comes from the Latin word renovare and it means “to make new again.”  God is in the business of making “new again” what we value, what we do, and how we look.  In other words, we’re undergoing a renovation of our church’s heart, a renovation of our church’s program, and a renovation of our church’s space.  Last week, Herb Ingram compared the joys and frustrations of this Hillcrest renovation to his experience at renovating his own house.  I asked him if I could share his words.  Here they are—


“My Renovation Story”
by Herb Ingram

Having gone through a renovation project on my house not too long ago, I feel qualified to recount the rough and rocky ride with some degree of clarity.  It started out innocently enough.  “Our bathroom is really small and I was wondering if we could build a new one,” Sharron said.  So we started plotting and planning.  “Adding on” sounds so noble and positive, and we began to make plans to “add on” to the kitchen as well.  Then we decided if we built out two small wings on the back of our small home, then wouldn’t it make sense just to go all the way across the back and add to our living and dining areas as well?  It would be so much more cost efficient!  (This is what a degree in Architecture is good for!)

So we settled on “adding on” ten feet of space all across the backside of our house.  I drew up a floor plan and we began to get bids.  The first bid I got was almost double what I though it should be, so we shopped around.  Finally the reality of the cost of this little project came home to roost!  Everything had been so much fun up to that point, but reality bites.  We mulled it over awhile, but the desire for more room was firmly planted by this point so we decided to forge ahead.

This is where things really got hairy.  The contractor started talking about moving our sprinkler and water lines, digging up the backyard, making a truck entrance in the backyard fence, chopping off half of one of my big trees, ripping off half my roof, completely removing the entire back wall of the house, and on and on.  “Stop, Stop!” I wanted to yell, but it was too late, the “renovation” had begun and it was gathering steam!  Another “bombshell” came when we were informed that it would be impossible to live in the rest of the house for several weeks and “Oh by the way, do you have a place to go?”  It was one shocking experience after another.

After they poured the slab in the back, and before we had moved out, I got up one night to make my way to the restroom and felt “squish, squish” under my feet.  It had been raining, and it seems the new slab was sloped to drain into the house and not the other way around.  I spent the rest of the night sweeping water away from my carpet, which I had to pull up and vacuum for hours.  What fun that was!

Then one day as things were progressing and we were living out of suitcases with friends, my contractor said, “Oh, by the way, did you want cabinets with that kitchen?”  It seems I would be responsible for that little detail.  I had no idea cabinets were so expensive!  To make a long story short (I know. . .\  too late!), four months later we stood in our new space with great pride and decided to have an open house to celebrate.  As I look back on it, I guess it is a little like childbirth pain.  When you are holding the baby, the pain fades a little or else you would never do it again!

As Hillcrest proceeds with a renovation of our heart, our program, and our look, I’m sure there will be many times when we will be ready to throw up our hands and say “Why did I start this?”  Some people won’t like being in a construction zone and will bail on us.  Without a clear vision of the finished product, and without an intense desire to get there, the temptation to not see the project through is strong.

As for me, I believe being a church that is Honoring the Lord of Life, Inviting our World to Life, Loving the Fellowship for Life, and Living the Word of Life is worth all the effort.  Moving people up the Discipleship H.I.L.L. is worth the effort.  Seeing people living out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in their daily circles of influence is worth all the effort.  Watching people move from the Community to the Crowd to the Congregation to the Committed to the Core is worth the effort.  I’m willing to bear the pain now in order to one day stand by and watch the glory of God break loose at Hillcrest Baptist Church.  Let’s recommit to the renovation project, and as we do, let’s enjoy the climb together!!


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