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Below Is A Letter Submitted Directly to the City Of Carrollton Zoning Committee from Shannon Lovelady, Pastor of Southern Hills Christian Church.
I love the city of Carrollton. I plan to be in Carrollton until Jesus calls me home. When that day comes, I pray it is said that the church that I have been honored to be a part of truly looks like the church and made our town better.
I believe that God is tired of seeing millions of dollars of mortar and steel sitting empty 6 days a week, while we ignore the needs of the community. I believe God is tired of us handing out food and money while we neglect to build relationships and get involved in their lives. I believe that God is tired of us blaming the government for the issues of our nation, our state, and even our city, while the church is the one that abandoned her purpose. Our purpose as the church is to be a beacon of hope, a place of refuge, a help in time of need, a catalyst for change. That’s the church!
As I’ve wrestled with these thoughts alongside others, we saw a vision of Carrollton united at one location where the church acts as God intended. We are in the beginning stages of planning for a community center located behind the Maple Street Commons. City Station will be a place for the entire community.
Our desire is to provide a true community center that is accessible to everyone in Carrollton, no matter the economic status or race. The location on the Greenbelt will not only be convenient for the college students, it provides easy access from all neighborhoods in Carrollton.
So what is the plan? What are the different aspects of City Station?
One of the key aspects of City Station is covenant housing for college students. Seventy percent of Christian college students walk away from their faith when they enter their college years. Our desire is to reverse that trend with 70% of Christian college students growing stronger in their faith during their college years. Students who live in our housing will be committed to Christian principles (i.e. service in the community, discipling relationships, abstaining from alcohol, drugs, etc.). On the financial end, the housing will pay for current and future ministries throughout our city, like buying homes in struggling neighborhoods and providing help from within. The possibilities for community renewal from the overhead of this housing will be astronomic.
Within City Station, there will be an extended stay, Christian preschool, the only one in Carrollton at this time. We want to offer an affordable, quality education for kids whose moms or dads may not be able to work full-time without it.
Other aspects of City Station center include a fitness center, gymnasium, and pool area, open to the public 7 days a week. The lap pool will be a zero-entry style pool for easy access for special needs children and the elderly. The gymnasium will be a safe environment for all people to play basketball, volleyball, etc. The fitness center will offer affordable classes and exercise equipment to everyone in Carrollton as well.
There will be a restaurant with healthy meals that is affordable to everyone, rich or poor. There will be a bookstore with resources for personal and family growth. We will offer large multipurpose rooms for FREE to the community for business meetings, birthday parties, school events, etc.
My favorite part of City Station is the Biblical counseling area. We are committed to offering FREE certified Biblical counseling to any and all people in our community. I believe that the church’s mission is to make disciples who are committed to making disciples. Our desire in this venture is to build relationships with people and give them hope when life gets hard.
Ultimately, City Station will lead to safer neighborhoods, better schools, happier homes, positive workplaces, and a more united Carrollton. We will be providing jobs for the unemployable, giving people an opportunity to get out of the negative circumstances they find themselves, instead of feeling like they are stuck in “the system” without any viable way out, and offering hope to all people.
As you can see, this project spans far beyond the walls of Southern Hills Christian Church. I believe this will be a catalyst for positive change in our community, create positive economic development, but more importantly, be a place for spiritual growth. I hope that you will see the opportunity that God has laid before our community. Let’s show our state, our nation, our world, what God can do when a community comes together under His name for His purpose!