Taking The Land by Michele A. Yowler

       In celebration of the opening of their new church building on July 23, the congregation of Church on the Rise formed a one and a half-mile long motorcade made up of nearly 200 cars.

       The procession, led by Captain Turner of the Westlake Police Department, proceeded from the Westlake High School, where services were previously held, to their new home at 3550 Crocker Road.

       Asked how she felt about the motorcade, Trish Campbell, a ground building member of the church, said, "I was kinda teary when I came in and saw all the cars. I did not realize how many families we had impacted over these past few years and how many people the Lord had drawn. It's just really a blessing to see the success of it."

       Under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Paul Endrei, Church on the Rise was launched on October 24, 1993, with 52 people attending the first service. In June of 1996, the congregation, comprising of about 400 members, purchased the 18.8 acres of prime land in Westlake. In miraculous fashion, attributed to the faithfulness of God, the nearly $1M in property was completely paid for in 6 months.

       Asked about the mighty miracle, Pastor Paul stated, "It was a wholesale move of God's Spirit throughout our whole church. Everybody seemed to contribute in a sacrificial fashion. For example, we had somebody who had been attending the church for about two months that called me after we got started with this. And they said, 'Pastor, I'd like to donate some money, where do you want me to donate it to in the church?' I was thinking, 'a new person, maybe $100 or something like that.' And I said, 'Well, right now we need it for the land more than anything else and that would be really nice if you could do something for that.' Well, about a week later he handed me an envelope. I opened it up at home and I started dancing around my living room and shouting. My wife thought I was going crazy. I said, 'Patty it's a check for $30,000.' That was one of the big signs to me that God was really in this, for a brand new person to come in and give this kind of money."

       Pastor Paul was amazed to see the church was full for the first service in the new building. "I was surprised. I had too small of faith for what God was wanting to do. I was expecting a full floor, but I didn't expect the balcony to be full too. There were at least 100 new people the first Sunday," Pastor Paul expressed. Many of the first time visitors stated that they had been watching the church grow for a long time and felt that they wanted to get involved when the building was built.

       Well, the building is built and the doors are open. The 10-foot bow on the front of the 35-foot sky tower and the bows on the front signage make the invitation complete. The sign reads, 'God's gift to our city'. Asked about the sign, Pastor Paul said, "The idea is that God is in the gift-giving business. The bible says that 'God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.' So God has given his Son to the church, and now he has given the church to the world as well. To be able to provide a place of refuge from the sin and suffering and shame that the world is so entangled in. And to be able to provide hope beyond the scope of human reason, so many people have lost hope."

       God is doing something fresh and amazing at Church on the Rise. Since July, their attendance has grown 35% and continues to grow. Everyone is invited to come and visit the new building and share in the vision of total success in life that begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ.