How Net Church got a three million pound building with just £100,000 in the bank
Three years ago, Net Church in Dartford needed more room. A year before that they had moved to double services to combat a packed full auditorium, but now both services were completely full again. Minister Roy Morley started praying for a 1000 seater auditorium.
The church had spent ten years praying for a new building, and in 2013 the bingo hall in the centre of the town went up for sale. It cost three million pounds, and the church had only £100,000 in the bank. The church offered 1.2 million, but the agent was certain that it would be refused. Several months passed.
The agent contacted the church again saying that the price had been reduced to two million. Net Church offered 1.2 million again and were refused again. But after more time, the bingo hall went on the market for 1.1 million. In this time Net Church had found a miraculous buyer for their own building too, and were able to sign contracts to the bingo hall in December 2014.
There was still a lot to do. It needed huge renovation, a new roof, working heating, and the restoration of many rooms that were derelict and in a very bad state of repair. The church got official change of use in January 2014 and have been transforming the space ever since.
It is always exciting to take new ground.
The Dartford church and the Sittingbourne campus are growing at a tremendous rate, and they also planted Net Church Woolwich in the same year. Keely Morley said: “We still have much to do but we have already made huge strides forward and the church has a very good reputation in the town.
“It is always exciting to take new ground. We are now full downstairs on a Sunday morning and are pushing in 2017 to fill the balconies. We are seeing people come to know Jesus weekly across all locations. We have never been this way before as a church and we are constantly pushing for growth and depth.”
The expansion doesn’t stop there. The churches are still packed and needing more room. Keely said: “Our main challenge is space, believe it or not. The size of the auditorium is fantastic but our minor hall is fairly small and we do not have as much office space as we would like. We are constantly having to be inventive with secondary space and have rented a hall over the road for our children's ministries.
“We are also looking for a new building for Net Church Sittingbourne once both Sunday morning services are full. We are looking to establish Net Church Woolwich to 100 people by the end of 2017 attending every Sunday, and in Dartford we are looking for fill the balconies.
We want to make disciples, grow big churches and take a nation.
“We will plant more churches in London and the South East and we are starting our leadership academy in preparation for the next church plant. We want to make disciples, grow big churches and take a nation.”
Both Keely and Roy became Christians in the church they now pastor, then Emmanuel Pentecostal AoG church. They were both the first Christians in their families for generations, and both went to Mattersey Hall to study, came back to be youth pastors in their home church for four years then went to lead the Sittingbourne church before starting to lead the Dartford church too in 2011.
As the church grows, they’re seeing more and more people become Christians and join the church, just like they did years ago. Keely said: “We have been holding quarterly events called 'I love Dartford' or 'I love Sittingbourne' etc where we really connect with our towns.
“On one of these days we were holding building tours as our building is really well known, and we had a local historian in too sharing some of the history, showing photos from through the ages and we had question and answer times at the end.
We really believe it is God's heart for every church to grow and that no area is to difficult for the Spirit of God.
“We had over 160 people come in for these on just one Saturday, and at the end of one of the tours a lady in her thirties put her hand up. She said her daughters both attend Brownies and go to the methodist church once a month for a service, and whilst they were in there she had been wandering over to our church and standing outside the fire exits listening to our music.
“She asked if it would be okay to come in one Sunday! We said absolutely and she came the next Sunday and has been coming ever since.”
The Morleys and Net Church are a key part of the London area, and hosted the area conference recently. Keely said: “We really believe it is God's heart for every church to grow and that no area is to difficult for the Spirit of God. The Gospel works!
“London and the South East are ripe and we must be ready. The baton is in our hand. Let's believe for growth, expect growth, work for growth, pray for growth, plan for growth, and then see growth.”