Blessed in Order to Bless Others | Niagara Falls Campus Update

As we have shared in recent issues of On Mission magazine, we were able to acquire a facility for our Niagara Falls Campus completely debt-free. We purchased a former private high school right off the I-190, just around the corner from where we have been meeting on Sundays at the Regal Cinema. When God quite literally opened this door of opportunity for us (after a long, arduous search for a permanent gathering space), we realized that He was not just opening it for us. This was immediately clear to us when we walked through the 85,000 square foot building that sits on 10 acres in the Lasalle district of Niagara Falls. After touring the space, the prevailing thought among our team was that we did not need this entire space for ourselves. But that did not become a disqualifier for the building; in fact, it redirected our focus to how we would use the building. Like God told Abraham, “I will bless you . . . and through you all the nations will be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). Blessed in order to bless others. This became our filter for what the future home of The Chapel’s Niagara Falls Campus would look like. 

Even before we officially closed on the property in late 2019, we were already busy thinking and talking about how to make this space work for our mission and our strategy of partnership. Our architect, who is a brother in Christ, instantly understood our vision and was instrumental in turning our thoughts into floor plans and blueprints. We designed the space that not only would be necessary for our congregation (with some room to grow numerically) but also what would be needed to house multiple non-profit partners under the same roof. The reason is simple: for us here at The Chapel, partnership is not just a buzzword or a box to check. It represents our firm conviction that God intends to accomplish His mission through a unified body of believers. So, we became convinced that God had allowed us to acquire this building not just for us, but for others as well.

In March 2020, just as we were gearing up to dig into construction, life came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that our initial hopes of a late 2020/early 2021 move-in date would be pushed back quite a bit. Because of COVID, no new permits were issued in Niagara Falls for an extended period of time. But despite this interruption in timeline, we submitted our plans to the Lord and trusted that He knew best. As of this writing, we do not have a move-in date but are hopeful to have that very soon.

I am so grateful for how our Facilities Team coordinated the rehabilitation and renovation of this massive building. They, too, grasped the vision of a multi-tenant, non-profit space. They created beautiful spaces that will one day be occupied by several kingdom-focused, like-minded ministries alongside our ministry. Currently, we are having conversations and look forward to reporting what partnership opportunities are born and grow as a result.

Our congregation is excited and eager to enter into this next chapter. Of course, it would be easy to conflate “success” with “moving into our permanent facility.” But our  job is not done when we no longer have to set up a sound system in a movie theater. If anything, our presence at the Regal has been the preface to a book, or the tuning of instruments before a concert. We look forward with great excitement to what God is going to do next. And we know that what God wants to do is work through a unified Church that joins Him on mission. By His grace, we’ll steward everything we have and offer everything we are until Niagara Falls – and yes, the whole Earth – is full of His glory.

Together for the Mission,

Jonathan Drake

Did You Know: Niagara Falls got its start as a popular honeymoon destination thanks to Theodosia Burr (daughter of Aaron Burr) and her husband Joseph Alston. After they were married, they began a tour of New York State beginning in Albany and eventually made their way to the Falls. Soon after, other distinguished and wealthy newlyweds followed suit, and in time – with the development of the Erie Canal and expansive railway system – Niagara Falls earned the moniker, “Honeymoon Capital of the World.”