Faith is deep-seated in 37-year-old Brad Snyder, lead pastor of the soon-to-open Veritas Community Church, 4772 Cemetery Road, at the former Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Snyder did not question it when it led him to a place he did not plan: being a lead pastor.
As an adolescent attending churches in suburban Indianapolis, Snyder said, he often found those churches lacked a passion for Jesus.
"Going to church, to me, was more than something to do every Sunday," Snyder said. "In my prayers, I'd say, 'God, I'll do what you want but please don't make me a pastor.' Now it is my greatest joy to lead people in their journeys of faith."
About the time of his high school graduation and then while attending college at Miami University in Oxford, Snyder said, it began "stirring in my heart even more" that Jesus died for him and others.
"It was a radical transformation for me," said Snyder, which led him and Pastor Nick Nye to found Veritas Community Church.
The congregation first met in 2008 at a church at Neil and Fourth avenues in downtown Columbus, two years after Snyder completed three years as a missionary overseas, primarily in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Liverpool, England.
With financial assistance from Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, Veritas purchased its first church building in 2010 at 345 E. 2nd Ave., in Columbus' Short North district.
The Short North-based church continues to offer "weekly gospel-centered gatherings intended to reach people of every background and walk of life," Snyder said.
The congregation grew steadily, but rather than exploring ways to add on to the building, Veritas searched for other locations.
"Our vision is to plant new churches in new areas instead of growing the one we have," Snyder said.
In 2011, in response to a number of congregation members who live in northwest Columbus, Upper Arlington, Dublin and Hilliard, Veritas began meeting at Barrington Elementary School, 1780 Barrington Road in Upper Arlington.
It is this congregation that will relocate to the former Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
"We began looking last year all over Hilliard, Upper Arlington and Dublin," but they often found places that were too large and too expensive for us to purchase, Snyder said. "Then the library came up for sale."
The building went on the market last year after Columbus Metropolitan Library relocated its Hilliard branch to Hickory Chase, a mixed-use development on the east side of Leap Road, south of Davidson Road. The new branch opened last June.
The city of Hilliard and the library system did not reach an agreement for the city to purchase the former branch, allowing for it to go on the market.
The Columbus Metropolitan Library sold the 20,000-square-foot library it had occupied since 1996 to Veritas for $2.19 million, said Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist for the library system.
The closing date was Nov. 1, 2018, Zenitsky said.
"It was the right size for us and something we could afford," said Snyder, who added that the building also required few renovations to meet the church's needs.
The church received a renovation permit Jan. 8 but has not yet received an occupancy permit, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.
Snyder said the congregation planned for its first service to be Easter, which is Sunday, April 21, but the project had minor delays.
Veritas has scheduled a grand opening for May 19, which includes outdoor children's activities, but the first worship service could be as soon as May 5, Snyder said.
Among those expected to be there is 36-year-old P.J. Wenzel of Dublin.
He and his wife, Kate, and their four children began attending Veritas about three years ago at Barrington.
"My wife's friend suggested it, and we found it to be a very warm and welcoming place with many people our age and with kids," Wenzel said.
The Hilliard site will replace Barrington.
Veritas also has a church at 12 S. Terrace Ave., in Columbus' Hilltop neighborhood, which opened in 2015.
About 400 people attend two services at Barrington, slightly fewer than the 600 who attend two services at the Short North church.
About 200 people attend one service at the Hilltop church, Snyder said.
The lead pastors at the other churches are Joe Byler at the Short North and Wes Thompson at the Hilltop, Snyder said.
All three pastors give sermons on the same scriptures each week.
"We are not a 'video venue,' " said Snyder, adding that pastors lead each new church that is "planted."
Snyder and his wife, Courtney, have two daughters and one son. They live in Upper Arlington.