Led by our youth pastor, Tim Ruland, the church spend over a year renovating an old feed store building to be used as our youth building. Not being one of those churches with millions to play with, Tim used his creativity, some grant money and hundreds of hours put in by his whole family, the youth group and others in the community to make the building a place for youth ministry. The grand opening was in early February, and since then the youth have had a great time meeting and hanging out in there.
This morning at 6 we got a call that the Feed Store was on fire. I rushed down to the church. The Pittsburg Fire Department was already there, but (as I heard later) had been unable to get the nearest hydrant to work, and were only pumping a small amount of water on the fire. By the time they were able to get real water flow on the building – almost 30 minutes later – it was too late. we give thanks that no one was hurt and that the fire didn’t spread to other buildings (our other buildings are very close – one only three feet away). But we have a long way to go to get our dream for a youth ministry facility back on track.
Since we have old buildings (including a beautiful hundred year old sanctuary that was just renovated – which we’re still paying for – not to mention the pipe organ and windows) that demand lots of money and attention I’ve often told the people that we’re not in the building business but the people business. Right now the people are hurting inside. Tons of labor went up in smoke. But in the end it’s a building. We’re out to build people. So pray for us.
UPDATE: The state Fire Marshall and peopel from ATF are investigating the remains this morning. We don’t have any reason to suspect arson, but it’s certainly worth checking out.
Also – KLTV in Tyler/Longview sent a camera man out to interview Tim Ruland our youth pastor. If you’re in the region watch their newscasts tonight.