|Walnut Creek South band (L to R): Jon Andorf, Zac Oler, Alaina Irlbeck, Sean Covington|
This winter, a group of about 40 Walnut Creek Church snowbirds headed south—not in Winnebagos that cost more than my house, and not for a temporary stay. This group of energetic Christ-followers planted a church on Des Moines’ south side. Although the church officially launched in January, they didn’t have their own building to meet in—until now.
Walnut Creek South held its first service in its new location last weekend. The church is located on a prime piece of real estate on Army Post Road right in front of Southridge Mall and the newest DMACC campus. “It’s a great location, and I think it’s going to be a wonderful home for us for years to come,” Pastor Dan Rude said. “We started the process of trying to get in here in August. A lot of people have worked really hard to get us here, and it’s great to finally be here.”
The building has a lot more going for it besides its location. Store-front windows allow lots of natural light into the large open space that houses the stage, plenty of room for seating, and an ample bar for refreshments and information. The building also features a black-and-white-checkered tile floor underfoot and a high ceiling with exposed rafters above the stage. Other perks include functional—dare I say attractive—bathrooms and space in the back with lots of potential for classrooms, offices, and storage.
“We’re super pumped and excited to be here,” said Ryan Weeks, who helped lead the church plant. “Everyone labored hard and gave it their all. It’s been a lot of work, and we have a lot of work left.”
The sign of building’s former occupant, Destination Lounge, still hangs above the front door. The rooms in the back are delineated by studs and unfinished drywall. But on Saturday night, the building was filled with so much energy and excitement, it wasn’t hard to look past the imperfections. “It’s pretty surreal. It looks totally different to see the parking lot full and all the people inside,” said Tyler Johnson, who also helped lead the plant.
More importantly than the building itself, the church is already growing, and its members are maturing. Someone who attended the first service back in January came to know the Lord and was recently baptized. The leaders also have many plans for future service and outreach opportunities to the south side.
Until now, the church was meeting at Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church down the road. Although many obstacles slowed down the process of getting into their own building, everyone seems to agree it’s been for the best. “I think it’s been good to have time to work out the kinks. Things are going a lot more smoothly now than when we first started,” said Meghan Ostergaard, who also helped with the church plant. Johnson agrees: “God clearly wanted us to wait a while. God has been refining us, and that could be a reason he had us wait.”