JUSTIN — It’s one hour before the church service Sunday at the Rock Church in Justin, and the Rev. Shane LeJeune and Andy Gregg, an assistant pastor, are alone discussing the layout of the service in the pastor’s office.
The room they are in is nearly empty, with only three chairs and a row of binders on the floor, surrounded by white walls.
Though the door is shut, the music of choir members practicing hymns sneaks into the room, and LeJeune can barely contain his smile, as the church members prepare to hold their first service in their new building.
“There’s a lot of excitement building, and something great is about to happen. I can feel it,” he says.
On Friday morning, there was only a concrete slab where the church now sits.
The church, which was constructed in about 24 hours, still has its new-building smell — a whiff of fresh paint and sawdust.
“Here’s where we’ll hold our children’s church,” LeJeune said, now touring the building and pointing at a room almost as bare as his office. “There’s still work to be done, but in a few weeks it’ll be a whole lot better.”
The church was built with the help of Church in a Day, a program of the United Pentecostal Church International, which has helped build more than 85 churches across the U.S.
“It went very well,” church member Emily Gregg said. “We were both exhausted and excited.”
Hundreds of volunteers from Texas and bordering states constructed the 4,100-square-foot building.
“I cried so much, I don’t think I have any more tears left,” LeJeune said.
Before moving into the new building, the church rented space in Lucus Funeral Home, where they sometimes had to cancel service in the event of a death.
“I always say, if you can grow a church in a funeral home, you can grow a church anywhere,” Andy Gregg said.
Before the funeral home, The Rock Church first started services in Mom’s Cafe about 4 1/2 years ago, after LeJeune and his wife began teaching a Bible study for families in Justin.
The class continued to grow and LeJeune said he recognized that God was sending him a message.
“He wanted me to start a church here in Justin,” he said.
Members of the church who have followed LeJeune said they never believed that the building made the church. It’s the people, they said.
“This building will never hold the church,” LeJeune said. “We’re a church in school, in the grocery store and when we’re at home.”
Though they were in a new building, church members appeared comfortable, as if this service was no different than any other.
And that’s the point, LeJeune said.
Though the building is complete, church members said there’s still a lot of work to do on the inside, like fastening down the pews, furnishing the fellowship hall and organizing the Sunday school rooms.
It’s about one hour later and LeJeune approaches the altar and addresses the congregation.
“Let me start by saying, this building ain’t the church. I know that’s not good grammar, but if you know God, you know what I mean,” he said. “Wherever we are, that’s where the church is.”
“Amen,” the church rejoiced.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.