On Monday January 6, 2014, Andrew and the CBC-Colorado staff welcomed students into their new home in Woodland Park. The first day in the new facility was more a celebration than a regularly scheduled school day, and rightfully so; the opening represented the culmination of four-and-half years of hard work, planning, labor, and a new beginning for Charis Bible College.
While the official opening included elements of the typical school day, they were mixed with words of praise, welcoming, dedication and congratulations. After an enthusiastic and room-shaking praise and worship session, several speakers shared brief messages of thanksgiving and encouragement. Speakers included the school's Director, Gary Luecke; AWM's Director of World Outreach, Wendell Parr; the Dean of Students, Greg Mohr; AWM's COO, David Hardesty; AWM board member, Bob Yandian, and of course, Andrew.
Beth Landt, CBC's Dean of Women, opened the second hour with announcements and a few words welcoming the students to the Barn, the first of the two buildings to be erected on the new campus. Beth was followed by Gary Luecke, who shared some statistics related to CBC's impact around the globe and what he believed to be a prophetic word from Genesis 12. After reading verses one through three, Gary said of the new campus, "This is a great place, and this place is a blessing. And, I believe that anybody coming here—attending—you're name will be great, and you shall be blessed."
Gary introduced Wendell Parr, who has been with Andrew since the launch of CBC in 1994. In Wendell's opening remarks he acknowledged the grand step forward for the school when he said, "Well Dorothy, we're not on Robinson Street anymore. This is quite a change from our beginning, but you know what? From day one, it's been about the Word of God, exalting Jesus, and it continues to be that way. And so, it's exciting to see what God is doing."
Greg Mohr, echoed Gary's word from Genesis, and also shared a few words including Scripture from Joshua 1:6. In doing so, Greg encouraged the staff and students to celebrate the new building, the new location and to take possession of the land the Lord has given to Andrew.
David Hardesty, Andrew's General Manager, who has been serving AWM in various capacities since 1987, made the point that while the Woodland Park campus is Andrew's fifth location; it is the first property he has developed from the ground up. David went on, sometimes emotionally, to share a few of the financial details that made the building possible. While it has taken a large number of people, giving very generously, to make this campus a reality, David could still recall the person who made the first donation of $100 toward The Sanctuary project back in June of 2009. He went on to share that CBC and the students had donated 1.2 million since 2009, and that AWM had invested eight-million since the beginning. But it was when he announced that friends outside the ministry, Andrew's partners and foundation builders, had given more than 27-million dollars since the project began, that the God-sized nature of this project was made evident. David went on to praise God, and the many men and women it took to bring the project together.
Longtime friend, and AWM board member, Bob Yandian, wrapped up the comments shared by guest speakers. Bob remembered years ago, when Andrew told the board that he was taking the limits off God, and he remembered wondering at the time what Andrew meant; the ministry was already doing well. Now, as Bob looks back, he recognizes the transition that took place when Andrew lifted the limits. The ministry left the realm of added blessings (Matthew 6:33), and moved ahead into to the arena of multiplied blessings. Bob said things began to move so fast that he felt they were just hanging on for the ride, and that continues to this day. "But I like this," said Bob, "In all of that, Andrew hasn't changed; he's still Andrew—he hasn't changed a bit."
Andrew and Jamie stepped on to the platform for the first time during hour three. After pointing out that the project has never been about the buildings as much as it has always been about creating a place to exalt Jesus and increase the school's capacity to train and reach more people, he acknowledged it was indeed a day to celebrate the building itself. Andrew said, "This is the only first day in a new building we'll ever have." Referencing his teaching, Staying Full of God, he went on to comment that it is important to value and prize what God has done, and to be thankful. "We need to value this. Our partners have built this building so we can train people and change people's lives...I tell you, this is a miracle...It's only God that did this," said Andrew.
During the final hour of the class schedule, staff and students were free to explore the facility and enjoy the celebration—which of course included cake, coffee and other treats!
While there are several projects and punch-list items yet to be completed at the Barn, thanks to Andrew's partners and foundation builders, the doors are open, students are engaged and the world is being changed.
Here are more images from the opening day celebration...enjoy!