A Dallas church left devastated by a tornado has been told that its precious sanctuary structure cannot be saved.
Ever since it took a direct hit from the massive twister on the night of October 20, Northway Church (formerly part of Matt Chandler’s “The Village Church”) has been trying to rebuild and regroup.
Tragically, despite innumerable prayers and practical restoration efforts, its beautifully designed sanctuary roof, made to resemble Noah’s Ark, was maimed beyond repair. Demolition crews will now come in to finish the job.
Speaking to Dallas News, pastor Matt Younger recalled the terrible moments he surveyed the damage on the night of the storm. “It was so dark, but in the lightning, you could tell,” he said. “And as soon as I saw it, we all lost it. My wife said she’ll always remember our 5-year-old son crying as soon as he saw it.”
Trees had smashed through the ceiling and water soaked the pews below — the stunning roof, designed by renowned architect, George Dahl, had been destroyed.
Incredibly, as Faithwire previously reported, a cross inside the main hall was discovered unscathed among the ruins.
“There is a long road ahead,” added senior pastor Shea Sumlin of the extensive demolition and rebuild process that the church will now undertake. “[It’ll be] a couple of years, at least.”
Still, the congregation marches forward, gathering in the nearby Watermark Community Church for Sunday Service while it arranges for a temporary home of its own.
Though discipleship classes and Bible studies are canceled for the rest of the semester, the ministry team are still remaining active by helping their local community rebuild after the storm.
The worship leaders are also staying creative, even managing to record a beautiful rendition of “Mighty Conqueror” right in the very midst of the church’s scattered remnants — an emotive picture of God’s relentless love and grace in the face of life’s difficulties.
“On October 20, 2019, Northway Church suffered a direct hit from an EF3 tornado,” the caption reads. “The church’s worship center was destroyed, along with countless homes and businesses in the surrounding area. Because of Jesus, joy can be found in sorrow, and hope amid destruction. Still more to come.”
It is incredible to see such a heartbroken community declare that their church is beyond just a physical structure. Yes, the loss of such a historic space is devastating, but it will not beat back their faith; their resolve to live out the call of Jesus Christ cannot be defeated by a mere storm.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the loss is not felt deeply by many of Northway’s leaders and veteran members. “I am thinking of all the babies who have been dedicated. All the baptisms. All the people who heard the Gospel preached and gave their life to Christ. All the worship in there,” Sumlin told the outlet.
“I am thinking about all the memories in there,” he added, nodding towards two elderly members. “What grieved me was their loss, their memories.”
Do continue to pray for this faith community as they move forward. You can also give to the church’s Tornado Relief Fund by heading here.