Constructed in 1950 and expanded in 1971, the Chapel now needs significant renovation. Water leaks into the sanctuary, first floor and basement leaving unsightly water stains, holes cut out of the ceiling, and damaged walls. Handicap accessibility, inefficient heating and cooling, security concerns with homeless individuals sleeping in dark corners, an unrecognizable main entrance and inadequate electrical and wiring compound the problem.
Located on the edge of UNL's campus, the Chapel has a vital role connecting students to Jesus. We don't need a building to do ministry, but a well-functioning space helps us build relationships with other believers and develop friendships with non-believers by encouraging them to use our space.
This renovation will change the whole look and functionality of the Chapel. Instead of a fortress, the street view will be friendly and inviting to those walking by making it much easier for new students on Sunday morning, Bible studies throughout the week, or simply a place to study and relax. We want the Chapel to feel like a second home for all those who enter through our doors.
A flat floor in the sanctuary along with the flexibility of chairs instead of pews will not only enhance worship and meet handicap codes, but will give us a valuable tool to build good will on campus among students looking to host dinner parties, dances, wedding receptions, etc.
Volunteers who serve Sunday lunch each week after worship will love the kitchen on the main floor near the sanctuary. Providing a space for students to cook for each other, host movie parties, and invite their unbelieving friends into a church to meet their "church friends" is huge ministry. Along with the new kitchen, there will be a simple area to make coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as well as vending machines for anyone studying or using the space during the week.
Other improvements include full handicap accessibility, updated restrooms, new office spaces, classrooms in the basement that will be a source of income for the ministry, efficient heating and air conditioning, updated electrical, more quiet study space, and a conference and game room.
The intern apartment will be larger and ideal for hosting social gatherings. These young men not only clean the building, maintain the landscaping, provide security, manage the parking lot, shovel snow and schedule the building usage but they also take on key leadership roles in the ministry as they live in community together under pastoral mentoring.
There is no doubt that the scope of this renovation will cost a great deal of money, but hopefully you are able to see the benefits. We are reaching out on UNL campus, sharing God's love and grace to students and inviting them into God's eternal family. Our ministry is important, especially in the culture that we face where young people are leaving the church and their faith. We are able to be a light on campus showing why God matters in our lives and encouraging others to turn to our Creator who is still active and present in this world.
It is our prayer that this renovation project would go smoothly and be fully funded by the time it is completed. We also ask God to place His mighty hand on this place, the building, and the community that gathers around it. We ask for guidance as we continue to follow His will in ministry. We pray for courage to be vulnerable and open about our own lives, our struggles, and our joys alike. We thank God for this community and for His never-ending love that He so graciously pours out upon us everyday. Finally, we ask that He would send the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of those He sends us to and that He would work in their hearts to turn them to the truth so they might enjoy the same future as we are confident of, eternal life with our Lord. Amen!