In the midst of gusty winds on March 10, a crane raised the cross at Southeast Christian Church’s Shelby County Campus.
About 200 people attended the cross raising, and the cross being raised in the wind seemed to be a fitting symbol of how the church is built on the unshakable foundation of Christ’s finished work.
Shelby County Campus Pastor Max Semenick and his wife, Sara, moved to Shelbyville about six years ago. They simply loved people one at a time and slowly, but surely, God raised up an army.
“I was looking at the crowd and there are folks here today who—six years ago—were in our basement where we first started gathering people together,” Max Semenick said. “We began talking about the life of Jesus and dreaming about what God might do among a community of people fully dedicated to Him. There are so many people in this crowd that I look at and I know your stories. I know the faithfulness, sacrifice and generosity you poured out because you believe the Gospel was worth everything you had. There are stories in this crowd now of people who have been the beneficiary of your blessing.”
The Shelby County Campus is located in the Midland Center at 196 Midland Boulevard in the former home of a Tractor Supply Co. store. The campus has a 630-seat sanctuary and is set to open Sunday, April 18.
Having a building is merely an added blessing for a community of believers already being the church in the community.
“Max and Sara moved out to Shelbyville six years ago and invested in the community,” said Connie Roach, who is a member of the Shelby County Campus with her husband, Larry. “They made those bonds. Max has such a passion for people and he already laid all the groundwork for a church to be birthed. We kept saying, ‘I wonder when Southeast is going to build a campus out here’ because he kept pouring into people and made connections.”
Associate Pastor Matt Reagan, who also spoke at the cross raising, asked the audience, “How many of you have been driving to Blankenbaker for a really long time?’”
About 75% of the crowd raised their hands.
“One of the things that we’re really praying for is that this wouldn’t just be a campus that makes it a shorter drive for you, but a sending post to really love people and to take the Gospel message of the goodness of God and the beauty of Jesus to people who just don’t know,” Reagan said. “There are so many people in the community, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in you and through you.”
A crane lifted the cross as Worship Pastor Bryce Osborne led the crowd in Awaken Worship’s “Broke the Grave.”
Audrey Holland, who has three teenagers, attended the event and is ready to connect with others and build community. The Holland family attends the Blankenbaker Campus.
“I’m really excited about seeing what it feels like to have Southeast in our own backyard,” Holland said. “I remember Bob Russell and Dave Stone always talked about the more you get involved, the smaller the church becomes. I did see that at Blankenbaker. It does become very small in time. This is just exponentially quicker. It’ll truly be our home church in our hometown.”
Jennifer Hawkins, who has been a member at Southeast for more than a decade and was raised in Shelbyville, brought her granddaughter, Allie, to the cross raising.
“I’m ready to make some changes,” said Hawkins, 58. “We’re excited. We’re ready to get this campus built.”
George Borders brought his friend Frank Paige to the cross raising.
“I was worried about the wind. I’ve been coming to the Blankenbaker Campus for 20 years,” said Borders, 55. “It took me 10 years to get Frank to come. We’ve been friends since first grade.”
Jeremy Harrell, founder of Veteran’s Club Inc., brought his family out to celebrate.
“It’s pretty exciting. I’m ready. We want to identify veteran families to connect them with Southeast and to us, too. We’re really looking forward to using this space,” Harrell said.
“I’ve known Max for a few years now, and it’s cool that this finally happened,” added Tyler Minogue, Shelby County Campus community pastor.
Service times will be Sundays at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children’s programming is available for every service except 1 p.m.
Text “SHELBY” to 733-733 for info.