In 2002, a group of families began meeting together to follow a vision of creating a church where people who were far from God could come and pursue faith, exist in authentic community, and do so in a way that was relevant to themselves and their friends.
In March of 2004, Element3 Church officially opened at its first location on Mahan Drive, which used to be a barbecue restaurant. Prior to our launch, dozens of men, women, and even children dedicated countless hours to renovating the facility from a restaurant into a church experience that Tallahassee had never seen before. Over a thousand invitations went out to homes in the area and we had no idea what to expect. The response to E3 was so great that more worship gatherings had to immediately be added to accommodate people’s interest in this new thing that was happening.
In 2006, the E3 church community again united around expanding our worship space and adding additional staff in order to make room for more folks who were looking for something more out of life. Even so, after several years, we felt the constraints of our Mahan location and began to look for another place where we could reach even more people. In 2013, God provided an amazing opportunity when another area church invited us to assume their lease in a nearby warehouse, located at 1190 Capital Circle Northeast. Within 18 months, we were given an option to buy the property, including the retail spaces in the front. Again, the E3 community came together in an effort to supply the down payment for the mortgage as well as provide for renovations to the exterior of the building, making it a more attractive and inviting space.
Over the years, through building moves and renovations, we have worked, given, and sacrificed to make room for people who need to meet Jesus. But buildings aren’t the whole story. The real story is in between all of those things.
Jesus had one life and he lived it with amazing focus and intensity. He told people about the radical love of God, and spent his time helping others, ultimately dying on the cross to heal our brokenness and to open up the Kingdom of God to the whole world. As Jesus’ followers, we want to live like him. We want to love like him.
This means that we want to look around and to see the world—our neighbors and family and friends and coworkers—and respond to them just like he did. With love, individually, one at a time, right where they are.
E3 was established and built on this idea. From a new church in a crazy barbecue restaurant, to expansions, to new locations, people at E3 have constantly been living like Jesus did and telling their friends about the life that God has for them, about the love that God has for them.
Over the years, through facility changes and moves, we have repeatedly worked, given and sacrificed to make room for more. God has been faithful to provide, through people, and we’ve been able to celebrate many things.
We have much to celebrate, but according to a Barna study in 2017, 43% of people remain unchurched which means we can assume that nearly half of our community is in desperate need of people who invest, care, and share the hope of Jesus. It is crucial that we continue to care for one life at a time and make room for one more.
We’ll never set down the vision to bring more people into God’s story and though we’ve seen God doing incredible things at E3 lately, we believe that He wants to do more; however, in order for that to happen, we need to address some challenges on our campus.
Our challenge now….
Our E3kids are simply out of room and are in need of a larger, more creative space. Our parking lot is in deep need of repairs, and our lobby, worship, and student ministry spaces need key upgrades. We believe these changes will drive the next season of mission at E3 and make room for ## more people seeking faith.
These needs come with a financial cost – one greater than what we could take on with tithes and offerings alone. This is a cost that requires above and beyond sacrifice from each of us. In order to do this we are launching into a new phase of radical generosity where each of us will have the opportunity to join together: One Mission.
One Mission represents the one church with one purpose. That purpose hasn’t changed—we still want to be a place where our family members and friends can find faith and discover a God that radically loves them and wants more for them; however, it’s times like these that call for all of us to sacrifice together for one cause, for one mission.
The total anticipated cost of this project is $500,000.
Though this can seem like a lofty goal, we know it can happen. We also know that it will take something from each of us – sacrifice.
As we seek to bring more people into God’s story, God has shown us again and again that if we are faithful with His call on our community, He will bless our sacrifice. Our previous seasons of sacrifice—to expand at Mahan, to buy our current facility—have led the way for this work! We believe that through this sacrifice, more people than we can imagine – our friends, our family, our neighbors, our coworkers – will come to know the abundant life that God has promised through his saving grace. God has been on the move in this community and He won’t relent now.
In order for us to make room here at Element3, we will be:
- Making updates to our lobby, student ministry, and worship spaces so that people can experience God in new ways and journey deeper into community.
- Resurfacing our parking lot in order to better serve our guests and local business partners.
- Creating a creative, NEW and larger space for our ever-expanding E3kids ministry.
In addition, we are also funding these strategic initiatives:
- Project Annie – A community-based, grassroots organization that promotes stable families and improves the lives of the Frenchtown community through education, good nutrition, and drug prevention.
- Serve Tallahassee Food Pantry – The Serve Tallahassee Food Pantry currently provides short-term grocery help twice a month for over 40 families who come to Element3 for help. The pantry also seeks to help with job placement and social concerns for their guests/participants.
- Global Outreach Partners – Element3 partners with organizations that are doing vital “good news” and development work in Guatemala, Haiti, and Uganda.
So, what are we asking you to do?
As we prepare, would you please join us in prayer? “Father, show me what step of faith I can take to help meet this need.” We are praying along with you! When we seek to serve others, God meets us, supplies us, and provides for our needs.
All of this matters because every life matters to God. Your life matters to God. Your neighbor’s life matters to God. Your coworker’s life matters to God. We make room so that people we know have a place to come so it’s important to consistently ask ourselves ”Who am I making room for? Who is my ‘one more’?”
We are asking everyone who calls E3 home to pray and commit to a sacrificial gift beyond your normal giving. To help your family discern this financial commitment, we have included some tools to provide perspective and examples.
Click here to see some creative ways to give to the ONE MISSION campaign!
Q: What is the purpose of this campaign? Is it necessary?
A: We believe God is calling us to reach more people for Christ. We want Element3 to be a place where more people – in any season of life and from any background – can find God and find their place in a God-focused community. The reality of our campaign starts with me, when I ask God, “Who do you want me to love like Christ loves me?” As each of us asks God for His grace and power to work through us, we will reach people with the Gospel of Christ and see them grow in grace and joy and love.
Q: What are the changes planned for Element3?
A: We want everyone who walks through our doors to have the opportunity to hear God’s words, to experience Him personally and know Him deeply. To accomplish this, we plan to create a move inviting and comfortable environment throughout our campus, by: 1) moving E3Kids into a new, large creative space in the back of the complex that will attract more children with plenty of room to grow; 2) refreshing the lobby area to include more community space so people can connect more deeply; 3) improving the gathering space; 4) updating the youth room; and 5) fully repaving the parking lot – the first thing our friends and families see as they enter the campus.
Q: What is the high-level timeline, when will the project start and when will the kids occupy the new space?
A: Our desire is to fully launch all projects. After pledges are in, we will prioritize projects and determine the timeline for construction. Planning for moving E3kids has already begun. Our goal is to begin physical work by the end of the year and to complete that work by summer 2019.
Q: Will Element3 take on debt for this project?
A: We are going to have the money in the bank before we begin the projects.
Q: Does my pledge replace my tithe?
A: Your tithe, the 10% of your worshipful financial giving, must continue to ensure the normal day-to-day ministry functions of our church. Your pledge to the vision campaign is an additional sacrifice above your tithe.
Q: So what exactly are you asking me to do?
A: Every day over the next few weeks, join us as we seek His direction. We can begin by asking God, “How do You want to use me to reach more people for your Kingdom?” Each of us will be called to sacrifice for this project. He will guide us to the appropriate sacrifice of our time, talents and treasures as we seek His vision for Element3. All of us are going to have to pray like we’ve never prayed before and we’re hoping that every person who calls E3 home will give financially, beyond their tithe, to see more people know the love of Jesus. We need people who are willing to take a step of faith out of their comfort zones, to serve and to respond to however God is leading. Imagine if we all yielded our lives to God? How might our community and the world around us change? What might God do through us for the sake of people He has placed in our lives? How might we be transformed personally? Please prayerfully consider what God is asking of you.
Q: What is the Vision of Element3?
A: Our vision is to love people and make disciples. This stems from our mission to help everyone take their next step in their relationship journey with Christ. For some, that means meeting Jesus for the first time. For others, it is taking a next step of studying His word, serving his people locally or globally or being a part of a Growth Group.
Q: It takes 3 years to collect all the campaign commitments; don’t we need the funding now?
A: In order to make all of the improvements, we will ultimately need all of the budgeted amount. The amount of initial “first fruits” funds available from the campaign will affect how the rest of the campaign progresses.
Q: Couldn’t we just add additional gatherings so that E3kids are spread out?
A: At the rate that E3kids has grown, we believe we have exhausted our Sunday morning options. With over 100 kids at your church Sunday morning, it feels full and is at the top of our capacity. Furthermore, moving E3kids also has a positive financial incentive for the church as it would open up two bays in the front of the complex that we could rent to tenants.
Q: Based on pledge commitments, how will projects be prioritized and when will ground break?
A: Our desire is to fully launch all projects. After pledges are in, we will prioritize projects and determine the wisest first step. Target dates for beginning construction will be set after pledges.
Q: What do you mean by sacrificial giving?
A: We are asking for boldness from our church to be radically generous and to give sacrificially to our vision – for us to be unified in our ONE MISSION towards life-transformation. This means our goal is not for everyone to give equal gifts, but for everyone to give equal sacrifice. For each of us to contribute to the ONE MISSION campaign from the biblical foundation of sacrificial giving, we may need to give up something big in order to give big to Christ’s movement at E3. In the end, it’s about full equal sacrifice, not equal amounts, and we will celebrate not the dollar amount, but the number of individuals who have joined the ONE MISSION.
ONE BLESSING (A letter from Pastor Eric)
What a year it’s been! Just 12 months ago, we heard God challenging us to intensify our focus on life transformation and to align everything we did as a community to that singular purpose. Since then, we’ve seen our weekend attendance, Growth Group participation, and service opportunities grow steadily. More people seem to be finding a home at E3 and are responding to God’s invitation to be transformed into someone who loves God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and loves others as themselves.
As we celebrate what God has done at E3 and what he’s still doing, we also embrace the challenge of making room for “One More” individual or family who wants to encounter the loving God we celebrate. We need to create more space for those who want to be a part of our inviting and authentic community at E3.
With E3kids near capacity each and every week, the need to open up a larger and more creative space for that ministry is clear. Additionally, in order to provide a clear and beautiful first impression for guests, our parking lot is in desperate need of repair and resurfacing. Finally, our Sunday environments—our lobby, student ministry, and worship spaces—need to be refreshed and updated to better serve those who are coming to hear the message of Jesus.
Element3 has always responded to God’s call to make disciples. From our beginnings on Mahan Drive to our move to Capital Circle NE, our community has repeatedly stepped up to make room for more kids, more students, and more adults. Because of this rich history, we will once again stretch and exercise our faith with a campaign called “One Mission.”
In Matthew 28, Jesus is crystal clear: he tells his followers to “go and make disciples.” So we will indeed “go,” do, and sacrifice whatever is necessary to see lives changed forever. One of the distinctives of following a first century rabbi or teacher like Jesus is that his followers were expected to do the same things that their teacher did. Jesus relentlessly sought out people to help and heal, and he fully expected his disciples—from the first Twelve to us today—to do the same.
Element3 has always been a special place because those who are here NOW have always prayed for, worked for, and sacrificially given to make room for those who are not yet here. Right now, it is OUR turn. We have our opportunity to accomplish something significant and amazing together. Let’s join together in asking God to work in us and through us as we walk together through our One Mission campaign.
“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Under the mercy of Christ,
Eric Case | Lead Pastor