Legacy Series - David LaDay
StoneBridge elder and school teacher David LaDay has been part of our family for 12 years.
In 2006, he and his wife, Laura, moved to Omaha from the Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota area. They invested about seven months visiting different churches, but they had not yet found a place where they both felt welcomed.
On the way back to Omaha from visiting family, Laura got online to search nearby churches--and that’s how they found us.
“We visited the first Easter at StoneBridge, and we’ve been here ever since,” David says.
What the LaDays Love About StoneBridge
One of the first things that caught David’s attention was the sense of community at StoneBridge. Shortly before the LaDays began worshiping here, David spent a lot of time traveling between Omaha and the Twin Cities while they searched for a house. During that time, he visited multiple churches, but most weren’t welcoming.
While unloading the moving truck at their new house in Omaha, he took a lunch break with his brother-in-law.
“We went over to Baker’s to get food,” he says. “While we were walking in the parking lot, we were talking about churches. Someone walked by us and shouted, ‘Try Fort Street Christian!’ It didn’t make any sense to us until we realized StoneBridge was formerly Fort Street.”
When it comes to StoneBridge, David says, the people and the authenticity make all the difference. From the beginning, he was also impacted by the fact that StoneBridge lives its mission.
“I’ve been part of a lot of organizations,” he says. “But I haven’t been a part of any other organization that truly uses its mission statement to drive every decision we make from top to bottom. If it fits that vision, we do it. If it doesn’t fit, we don’t. So that’s really cool.
“We’re real people; we recognize we have real problems/issues everybody deals with,” he says.
What Has Kept the LaDays at StoneBridge Long-Term?
“Our messages are biblically sound, our music is second to none, and our children’s ministry is absolutely stellar. We take pride in the things we do very well and own the things we don’t. And we try to live out that we’re an extension of our family.”
David says the small groups at StoneBridge are a big part of the family connection the church has cultivated over the years.
“If you have a need, you’re not going to call pastor Mark at 2 a.m.,” he says. “You don’t have that kind of relationship with him; you don’t know him that well. But your small group becomes that extension, that is connected to the church--the group you live life together with.
“If you aren’t comfortable with calling me at 1 a.m. when you have a need, we still have work to do. We want the relationships to be to that level: you can call me at 2 a.m. if you have a need and we’re going to be there for you. That’s the heartbeat of StoneBridge.”
David also champions StoneBridge’s services, which have been designed with non-churchgoers in mind.
“We build Sunday mornings for a non-believer,” he says. “If someone walks in, they won’t be uncomfortable.
“That’s part of the reason why small groups are so important to how we structure. Small groups are where we go deeper.”
Looking Toward the Future
David says he’s thrilled about StoneBridge’s continued multisite expansion.
“I was nervous about the transformation,” he says. “Before we did our first multisite, I was one who asked, ‘How do we know it’s going to work?’
“Mark said, ‘When God has given momentum, you need to make sure you keep it, because if you lose it, you may never get it back.’”
David’s family has been impacted by the multisite expansion in a positive way. He says they attempted to commute to Omaha with their four young kids, but that wasn’t working well for them. He and Laura were in the process of deciding what to do when Mark mentioned the possibility of establishing a presence in Fremont.
Soon after, StoneBridge acquired the building that is now the Fremont campus, and David’s family began attending that campus.
“We saw Holy Spirit put this thing together; that’s one of the things I’m excited about,” he says. “Wow, where else is this going to go?
David says the multisite campuses “keep the heartbeat of StoneBridge the same for every person, no matter which campus they’re at.”
He says he’s also looking forward to helping develop curricula and teaching opportunities that will help the StoneBridge family dive deeper into their faith.
“It’s rare that I’m speechless, but when it comes to what God’s doing through StoneBridge, it makes me speechless sometimes.”