South Side property Updates

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster,

to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)


The plans that God has for North Ridge Church are known only by Him, and it’s by faith that we journey with God to see hope and life breathed into the Central Wisconsin community. This is our story of where God is taking us, and you are invited to be a part of it.


Restoration and redemption have been God's goals since almost the very beginning of time. As a church, it is our goal to do the same. Here is the story of how North Ridge Church bought a strip club!


Check back often as we continue to see God’s faithfulness in NRC’s journey to help people experience Christ-centered wholeness through loving relationships with His people.

The deal is done

As of November 1, 2018 at 10:00am, North Ridge Church is the sole owner of 17 acres of prime real estate on the south side of Marshfield, WI. God’s providence and leading was the impetus of this property purchase and His fingerprints continue to be on this process.


We are overjoyed with the relationship that has been built with the former owner, the funds that were raised by the 184 faithful givers for the down payment, and the excitement surrounding the potential future uses of the land. With this step in the process we now turn our attention to God’s plans for the short term and His goals for the long term development of the south side campus. We are looking forward to hosting some summer events throughout 2019 and can’t wait to see you there. Stay tuned for information in the coming months.

the building comes down

The end of one era closes as a new one opens. Saturday, October 20, 2018 saw the old movie theater concession stand and most recently the exotic dance club and bar building come down. Block, wood, and concrete were demolished then hauled away. The south side property is one step closer to being utilized as a positive place in and for our community.


The demolition of the main building is another step in God’s restoration process not only for the land but for the families of our community. Instead of a place secluded from the public, we envision an area for families to build hope and memories together. Now there is just open soil, ready for seeds of redemption to be sown by God. 

We want to move forward to a future with a family friendly space on the south side of Marshfield.


The corner of Heritage Dr. and US Hwy 80 will once again be a place for families to come together. Pray with us for the next steps and phases of restoring the south side of Marshfield.

Early News Coverage

When WSAW TV 7’s Brennen Scarborough asked about telling the story of North Ridge’s purchasing of the Rear End it touched off a media domino affect.  Scarborough’s story was picked up in Flint, MI and a few other national news outlets.  We also were visited by WAOW TV 9 from Wausau as well as the Marshfield and Wausau newspapers.  Other online sites have written articles and featured the story.  We are happy to see God get the glory about two unlikely entities coming together to see something good happen in their community.  NRC’s prayer is that more and more people would be positively affected by these changes and desire to know how Jesus can do the same in their lives.

Below are links to some of the news coverage for the journey we’ve been on:


WSAW TV7  Wausau

Christian Post

CBN

WAOW TV9 Wausau

Marshfield News Herald (AP)

NPR

WEAU TV 13- Eau Claire

Fox TV6  Milwaukee

ABC 12 Flint, MI

West Texas news

Roanoke, VA news

Madison, WI news

Daily Reporter

Albany, NY news

Clean-up

On Saturday, July 28th, many of the North Ridge Family got their first view of the new property.  Almost 70 different people worked side by side to gut the inside and outside of the building. Tin was recycled, studs came out, the bar was broken down, and even the pole was re-purposed.

The clean-up extended all over the 17 acres.  Brush hogs, weed wakers, and sickles mowed down all the tall weeds and scrub brush.  Chainsaws and skid steers took down old fence lines, dead trees, and opened up the south side of the property for the first time in decades.  Light and life was being infused into all the grounds!

After only a few hours the property is well on its way to being transformed.  Thank you so much to everyone who came out to help and to the leaders who made it happen.  We look forward to some more transformation happening in the near future!

The Purchase

Anyone who has tried to work with an organization of 600+ people knows that a proposal to do something big is often met with differing opinions and impossible odds for agreement. In the church world, big decisions, like purchasing property, have to be voted on by the membership. This was step one, and the first step can always be the scariest.


On May 20, 2018, at a special business meeting, NRC members discussed and voted on purchasing 17 acres on the south side of Marshfield, formerly operated as the Rear End Bar.  It was an unprecedented vote for NRC and the results were overwhelming for the purchase of the property.


Then shortly after that vote, the church was challenged to help make it a reality by raising half the purchase price as a down payment. An offering of this magnitude had never happened at NRC. Could our church raise $165,000 on one Sunday? This would be a monumental moment for North Ridge, a true test to know if God was speaking the same message to purchase the land to the whole church family. This one time offering needed to be more than 12 times what a normal Sunday offering was.This would have to be a large step of faith for many.


When the offering was counted, the amount raised had gone far beyond the need. Celebration and thankfulness for God’s goodness was seen and resonated throughout the church family and the community.


In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan wrote, “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.” North Ridge Church is dependent on God coming through. We believe that every person who is part of the growing NRC family should be dependent on God coming through in their lives, and so we live for Him. We encourage others and draw others near to us and near to Jesus, through relationship. This is the core of who we are as a church. Buying a strip club is just a step in the journey on which God has launched us.

Closed

On April 2, 2018, Pastor Preston received a phone call from JD, the owner. He had felt inspired over the past week and had decided to take a radical step to shut down the bar and cease operating it as a strip club business. That was it. After 35 years, Marshfield no longer had a club/bar with exotic dancers. This was not only a win for the community, but an answer to prayers --some decades long-- that the land would be repurposed and the lives of individuals would be rebuilt.  It also opened a greater opportunity and urgency for North Ridge Church to purchase the property. Even without solid plans of what could be done or what should be built there, we put plans in motion to purchase the property.

RE

We don’t know why, or when, or even by whom the nickname RE was given to the Rear End bar. But it has been interesting to see the RE theme come up throughout this journey. Instead of initials, an abbreviation, or a nickname, it has become the prefix of many verbs used.


On a cold day in March 2018, the pastoral staff of NRC walked and prayed together around the land. The Rear End ownership had given us permission to gather and pray for God’s wisdom and future for this property and NRC. We prayed that the club would cease operating in its current capacity and that the vision of something good for the whole community would take place on that land regardless of who owned it. We prayed for clear direction. We prayed for God’s plans to continue and not our own. One of the pastors felt especially encouraged by a scripture found in Isaiah 58:12 that says, “Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.“


We know that God REstores, REbuilds, and REdeems, but was purchasing a strip club really what God wanted NRC to do?

Restoring What Once Was

By late January 2018, the owner, JD Koran, had met with Pastor Preston and offered to sell the building to the church. The business had operated as a bar and strip club since 1983. Prior to that, the land had been home to a drive-in movie theater (10-13 Drive In). JD loved the idea that the land could once again become a good, family-friendly, inviting, and central place for Marshfield and surrounding communities. The idea of restoring the south-side of Marshfield was beginning to take form through a deepening connection between NRC and the owners of the Rear End and the 17 acres that it was on.

Buy It & Build SomeThing Great

In December of 2017, at a gathering of community-minded women, the idea of a church purchasing the strip club began. A family member of the bar’s owner spoke to a North Ridge Church pastor and said, “I want you to buy the Rear End, tear it down, and build something great on the land.”


This had never been in the plans for NRC. It wasn’t what the leadership saw for the future. But God’s plans and His future for us aren’t always what we see or even hope for. Who would have imagined a move like that?

Sweet Treats

The goal was never to buy a strip club. Our goal was and is to see people who were broken be whole again, to be restored to wholeness centered on Jesus. It really started in 2012, when a group of women united with the passion to show women they are loved and valuable. They were rooted in God, planted in His church, and passionate about seeing women realize how precious they are to God and others. They began a ministry called Sweet Treats that intentionally built relationships every week with the dancers of the Rear End Bar and Entertainment Club. The women from NRC would help the dancers get ready, learn about their lives, show them love by bringing snacks to their dressing rooms, and treat them with respect for who they were, not what they did. The goal was to treat these women with dignity and learn about what was important to them outside of their profession. This began a relationship--with the dancers and the owners--of mutual respect. That relationship grew stronger up until the bar's closing in April of 2018 and continues to grow through today.


A lot of prayer went into the Sweet Treats ministry, as they learned about the lives and dreams of the female employees. One of the visions given to the team was that someday the strip club would be replaced by something life-giving, family-centered, uplifting, perhaps even a church. It was a vision they kept to themselves.