As Danny Shelton began to see God work miracle after miracle at just the right time, and with just the right amount of money, his faith soared. On Friday nights and Sabbath afternoons, the little group of family and church members gathered at the 3ABN building site to pray and sing, “We Are Standing on Holy Ground.” Those were hopeful days. They had so little—and needed so much. Nevertheless, like explorers, their sights were on their goal, instead of the tremendous hurdles that lay before them. And they kept moving forward.
The group had no idea how large a building to construct, so Danny started out with plans to build a small, 40 by 70 foot building. But this was where he learned that faith and common sense were not the same thing, and so he enlarged his plans to 50 by 90 feet.
Finally, as he and his brother Kenny walked out on to the land to stake out the building, God laid out His plans in Danny’s heart—at least as much of it as his finite faith could handle at that time.
Danny put a stake in one corner of God’s holy ground, and as Kenny held the tape measure, he started walking in the opposite direction—going well past the ninety feet he intended!
“Do you think this is big enough?” he called back.
“It looks fine to me,” Kenny answered.
But God was saying, “Go a little farther son; go on, use your faith, and not your common sense.”
Danny kept walking—almost to the end of the tape! Finally he stopped at 150 feet. “What do you think about making it this big?” he called back.
“Okay,” Kenny hollered.
As Danny pounded the stake, I believe God smiled.
They did the same thing to determine the width of the building, ending up with a 60 by 150 foot building. If they built most of it in two stories, there would be a total of about 16,000 square feet. It looked really big to Danny as he looked at those stakes in the middle of an empty field. In fact, he’d never built anything that big—especially without a penny to do it!
In those days, I was sure that none of them had any inkling of the magnitude of the work they were starting. When I looked at the building stakes for the first time, my only comment was, “It’s not nearly big enough! Why are you building such a little building?”
Within a few years, my prediction came true. By 1994, 3ABN began building a new office and production facility that would be three times larger than the original, and when it was completed in 1996 it became 3ABN’s major Production Center and the network’s world headquarters.
The original Uplink Building, with one production studio, was used only as the Master Control facility, but later it housed the offices and production equipment for 3ABN Radio Network.
3ABN now has a state-of-the art Sound Center, as well as a large Call Center. In 2003 Master Control was moved to 3ABN’s headquarters, the Production Center, as well. Then, a new 1,500-seat Worship Center was built across from the new Thompsonville Christian School and gymnasium. And, oh yes, let’s not forget the new production studio for 3ABN’s Kids’ Time programs, or the SonBeam, Proclaim, International, Russian and Dare To Dream channels. As you can see, the construction hasn’t stopped as 3ABN continues to grow, following God’s building plans. When we follow God’s building plans, we can never build big enough, because God has a world vision.
Danny may have only had a tape measure in his hand when he walked across that first plot of land, but he had God’s vision in his heart.