LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Crews have been busy at work on the future home of one Indiana church.
Lead Pastor at Lafayette Community Church, Jeff Mikels, said the search for a bigger building to fit the growing congregation began last spring. After deciding to save money by purchasing an existing building, Mikels said his associate came to him with an option for their new home.
“He said, ‘Hey, I found an interesting building that might work for us, but it’s right next door to a strip club,’” said Mikels.
The building sits next to Filly’s Gentlemen’s Club and an adult gift store on Concord Road.
Although Mikels said he was reluctant, the building was an inexpensive option that fit their needs. He said the congregation was a little nervous at first, but is excited about their new church home and the possibilities that come with it.
“The more and more we talked about it, the more we felt like we could find ways to be a blessing to the people who come to this part of town,” said Mikels.
Filly’s co-owner Ed Gobel said the new neighbors have been respectful and kind, even bringing gift baskets to employees during the holidays.
“It’s been a very, very good working relationship,” said Gobel. “And I think they respect our viewpoints and we respect theirs.”
The first renovation project was tearing down the old fence that ran between the two properties and replacing it with this one, but Mikels said the barrier is not a representation of the relationship between the church and the business next door.
“The fence is just there because we’re trying to build an aesthetically pleasing environment here, so we want to make sure people feel comfortable to be in this space because we want them to feel love,” said Mikels.
Gobel said he’s already feeling the love from his neighbors and hopes it sets an example for others.
“It’s a wonderful thing because it’s the fact that we’re all sharing together because we want to all prosper,” said Gobel.
Gobel doesn’t believe having the church next door will impact his business.
Construction is set to be complete by April, with the goal of its first service by April 10.