KEARNEY, Mo. -- A request for a permit to build new classrooms at a Kearney church ended up with a surprise string of digits with the cost -- that got a lot of people's attention.
Messages matter at the Crossroads Community Church in Kearney, Mo. Just ask pastor Brett Toole, who's excited for the new classrooms his congregation is building.
Kearney's city administrators allow churches to build without paying permit costs, but the number listed on the city's tax statement really got Toole's attention.
"It's the sign of 'The Beast," Toole said. "The sign of the antichrist. You want to not wear that number."
Toole said the whole thing is just funny.
"One of the alderman at the meeting where they waived the fee said something about a bad omen. I think it was tongue in cheek."
In the Bible, "666" represents pure evil. But Toole had a solution. He asked the city for permission to raise the tax bill by one dollar -- thus making the total $667.
Despite the seemingly ironic bad news, Toole said the grand total is actually a blessing. While some Christians might find the '666' objectionable, he says it provided him with a great teaching moment.
"For me, it became a chance to have a Biblical or spiritual conversation with somebody because of the number. Why not take advantage of that?"
The church said they plan to open the new classrooms some time this summer. Cost of the construction was made possible by private donations.