The church at Latah that had seemed too big sixteen years before, had been stretched, added onto, remodeled, but finally once again daddy was faced with the delightful problem that there were very few square feet left for expansion. The church was completely filled with about 600 people.
Daddy and the board of the church began to pray for direction. He took a week off and went up to a cabin in McCall, Idaho, to meditate and pray and set some goals. The Lord gave him direction as to what He wanted to accomplish through the ministry of Central Assembly.
The following is an excerpt from the Pastor's Report dated January 17, 1973:
"I would like to share with you some of the goals which I believe God has included in His plans for Central Assembly in the not so distant future. I see facilities geared to meet the present and future needs of this vigorous church. A worship center with ample seating for reasonably projected growth with a platform stage area built around the needs of our expanding choir and music ministry. Facilities and equipment for the care and training of babies and pre-school children, not only on Sunday, but specialized care during the week for children of working mothers ... also for possible kindergarten or lower grade-school use.
"In addition to this I see in the future of this church a recreation area for use by all ages. Included in this projected outreach of our church may well be apartments for those in retirement or in need of emergency housing ... not to forget facilities for kind Christian care for the ill and bedfast. Yes, I see this church as the center of life and activity for the families associated and for those God brings our way so that we need not look beyond ourselves for the answer to our temporal and spiritual needs. Truly a great door is open. This is our day. We cannot afford to let it pass but will advance until He comes."
Daddy and mother began looking for some property. They really had fun driving around Boise together, prayerfully seeking just the right spot for the new church which would be a Christian Life Center. The Lord had so impressed on daddy the importance of the whole man, body, soul and spirit, and he wanted this new facility to meet the needs of the whole person.
They found some property near a freeway that seemed ideal. The board was happy with it, but the more daddy prayed about it, the more uncomfortable he felt with it. He told mother that "It has the smell of death on it!" Because of this, the board delayed any action on this property.
One night about eleven daddy told mother that he just had to go out and drive around. He was gone for several hours. He told mother when he returned that he had begun to pray and drive. Finally he ended up by some land that seemed to be way out from the city center, yet it had a good feel about it. There were seventeen acres of good land on a well-traveled road.
A few days after daddy found this property, the owner of the first property near the freeway died. If they had gone ahead and purchased that land, the estate could have been tied up in litigation for a long time.
The new spot on Fairview had been sought after by many hopeful buyers throughout the years, but the owner just hadn't felt like selling. When he was approached about selling his land to Central Assembly, however, God quickened his heart, and he consented to sell at a modest price compared to what he could have been paid for the land.
In researching the land before finalizing the purchase, the board learned that the flow of the city was going in the direction of the property. They were able to purchase seventeen acres, and take out an option on seventeen more.
God continued to add His blessing to the congregation as they moved forward for Him, by helping them to sell the Latah church to a business conglomerate. This released some much needed funds for the new project.
What an exciting time! The plans that were drawn up appeared huge. An auditorium to seat 1500 seemed almost too big for this congregation. The foyer that was included in the plans seemed absolutely mammoth. Some of the people began to complain and say, "Why do we have to build a new church, we're satisfied with things the way they are!" But Daddy was being directed by the Holy Spirit and he took as his model Nehemiah from the Old Testament, who told the would-be distracters from the job of rebuilding the wall, "I'm not coming down from the wall to fight with you! God has given me a job and I am going to do it!"
The building was completed in record time for a structure of this size. John Hisel, the general contractor for the project shared with me another glimpse into what kind of person my daddy, Pastor Roland Buck, was:
"I'll never forget the time when we were building the church, and my carpenters had built the foundation forms to the prayer room about two feet out of square. As the general contractor, it was my responsibility to make sure everything was mechanically and structurally correct. But in my own checking of the job, I missed the error. We were to pour the concrete at 8 AM the next morning. Unknown to me, pastor, in his general observation of the job, had seen the mistake. Instead of jumping on me or my carpenters about an error which could have been very costly, and causing us to lose face, he was on the job site at seven o'clock the next morning.
"As I was preparing the day's work, he said, 'Say, John, I haven't had a personal tour of the job lately. Do you think you could update me on our progress? I said, 'Sure, pastor, things are just great. I'll show you around.' As we toured the job site he asked me questions about different things. Then he led me to the prayer room, and asked questions about how we built forms, and what was involved in pouring the concrete. This caused me to look closely at our layout, and immediately I saw that the forms were out of square. I excused myself, fast, and went to cancel my concrete order. As I hung up the phone, I realized what your dad had done. He had allowed me to discover my own mistake and retain my dignity as a leader of the job. When I got back to where we had been talking, he had disappeared. At that point he had won my undying loyalty. The church was built in eleven months, which was almost unheard of for a project of that size.
"Pastor Buck had a unique ability to lead people. There was never any strain or manipulation. He had a way of making you want to follow and be a part of what he was doing. He made you want to work hard on the common goal.
"Another thing that meant so much to me personally was that in our board meetings, he never discussed difficulties that members of the church got themselves into, or allowed us to discuss people's problems. He handled all of those himself. So, when I met someone in the hall of the church, who maybe had a problem, I could shake his or her hand and never be embarrassed, and they could hold their head up high, knowing that what they had entrusted with him, he would never divulge.
"This to me is a sign of true leadership - helping people attain their goals, without elevating yourself! This was my pastor."