Bethesda Workshops is thrilled to share that we have secured our own home! After many challenges, all the pieces came together in recent days, and the ministry’s board of directors voted unanimously to move forward with a lease-purchase arrangement. We couldn’t be happier! Our heartfelt gratitude flows to all of you who prayed for us and supported our vision.


The past three months have been a crazy, exhausting, gut wrenching roller coaster. Fear has tread in tandem with faith, doubt has danced with certainty, and growth has bloomed while forward movement wilted into pessimism. Control has fought with surrender and usually won.


Not surprisingly, I have received the grace of many lessons through this process. Although I often wish the good Lord would have chosen a different avenue for producing growth, I am better at accepting that character building usually requires pain. In the coming weeks I likely will share a number of lessons learned through the pursuit of our own home. This week I’ll start at the beginning: Develop a vision and let it direct your steps.


Since 2008, Bethesda Workshops has been blessed to be housed in a wing of the Woodmont Hills church, where in 1995 I began my professional career as a marriage and family therapist in the church-based counseling center. As the ministry grew, we realized we were limited by the availability of the church space, and we began to dream of having our own. It was only a dream, though, for a few years. It seemed impossible to get from here to there – from free space to a venue designed specifically to suit our needs. The financial obstacle felt insurmountable.


In January 2015, the board of directors and other invited participants held a Visioning Retreat to identify key areas of initiative over the next 10 years. It became abundantly clear the primary need for meeting our future goals was our own dedicated space. The group honed that vision and identified key parameters for our permanent home. We got specific and measurable. The pipe dream grew feet.


When our vision was clear, that very day an alumni couple stepped forward to offer an enormous challenge gift to fund it, which is a story for another blog. That gift propelled us exponentially forward, and we started preparing for a matching campaign and eventually began searching for property. With every virtual or in-person tour, we measured the space against our vision.


To my surprise, the hardest part was when we identified a particular property. We quickly became engulfed in frantic fundraising and incessant details about financing and renovation. How do you measure the value of property that seemed perfect, but a huge leap from donated space? It’s hard to beat free, and we were looking at spending a lot of money – dollars that we didn’t yet have in hand or a proven track record to solicit.


The fear of financial insecurity was strong, and we were torn. Late one night I pulled up the notes from our Visioning Retreat and read the parameters about our desired property and how we intended to use it to better serve hurting people. After weeks of angst, the path forward crystalized immediately. Vision and integrity are the best currency. We were clear on the vision for Bethesda Workshops, we had found a place that enabled that vision, and it was time to lean into the integrity of what we stand for and take a leap of faith. To my surprise, the next day I discovered others had independently reviewed the vision statement and description of our desired space.


And so we joyfully shout, Hallelujah! We have a new home!


What today is your vision? Have you identified what it will take to get there? Counted the cost? Keep focused on your vision and let it direct your steps.


Marnie C. Ferree