In December of 2011, the Assembly at Riverside was disappointed after a zoning denial had nixed its plans to start a new congregation in Macon, Georgia. Divine intervention, however, guided the Assembly along another path to a former car dealership located next to a Cracker Barrel restaurant and close to the location it had previously sought.
Down but not out following the zoning denial, Marc Merrill, regional presbyter for more than 50 Assembly of God churches in the Macon, Warner Robbins, Griffin, and Dublin areas always preached: Be patient, God will work it out. That patience paid off when the Assembly obtained approval to place its new congregation at a 20,000 square-foot facility with more than 200 parking spaces, and close to the interstate exit, not far from the original site. The facility has an information kiosk and a coffee and refreshment area, similar to a convenience store. More than the 160 people attended the first church services when doors opened in September.
Merrill said of the initial zoning denial: “But it was a blessing in disguise. The facility is everything we wanted and better suited to what were doing. Physically, its rare you can lease a place with such a huge space for children, office space, space for fellowship and of course an auditorium.”
The lesson learned from the Assembly at Riverside denial and ultimate success in finding an even better location is that sometimes it may be more productive to spend time finding another site than bringing a lawsuit.