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Hueytown’s Valley Creek aims to reach community with new children’s, youth spacecomment (0)

March 14, 2013

By Julie Payne

Hueytown’s Valley Creek aims to reach  community with new children’s, youth space

When Kevin Blackwell, pastor of Valley Creek Baptist Church, Hueytown, looks at his church’s new 9,000-square-foot children’s building, he sees more than just a structure. 

“It’s an evangelism tool,” he said. 

And the building, with separate wings for nursery/preschool and children’s ministry, doesn’t exist just for those within the church’s walls — it’s for the entire community. “Anything we do here at Valley Creek, we do for the community,” Blackwell noted.

The new building has been a long time coming for the church. In 2005 when Blackwell began serving as pastor of Valley Creek Baptist, there weren’t many kids there. “I knew children’s ministry was so important,” Blackwell said.

With an intentional focus on children’s ministry, the church brought on its children’s minister and began to see kids attend and become saved. “Before we knew it, we had outgrown our facilities in regards to children and youth space,” Blackwell said.

The church formed an exploratory committee, and through surveying the congregation and talking to staff members they soon realized the need for a new children’s building and a larger youth space. 

“That began it all,” Blackwell said. In the fall of 2011, the church began a stewardship campaign known as “Bridge to the Future.”

Phase one of construction includes the newly opened children’s building. It also includes the renovation of existing space for the youth group complete with state-of-the-art technology and a café, kitchenette and game room.

Church members did the work themselves for the youth space, with men in the church sacrificing many hours of their own time to see the construction completed.

The design of Valley Creek’s new children’s building was a collaboration of children’s pastor Steven Hicks, an architect and the children’s building committee.

According to Hicks, the left half of the building includes the nursery and preschool wing for bed babies to 4-year-olds. The other half, the children’s ministry wing, includes two children’s worship rooms: The Construction Yard, for kindergarten through second grade, and Kids Zone, for third through sixth graders. 

Hicks noted the ministry mantra for Valley Creek’s children’s ministry is “Building kids up in Christ,” a theme incorporated into many indoor elements like the construction and road designs in Kids Zone.

The children’s building marks the first structure built on the campus since 1980, and to celebrate its grand opening Valley Creek held both a ribbon-cutting ceremony and afternoon open house for the community March 3.

During the 11 a.m. worship service the same day, the children’s building committee chairperson spoke to the congregation and Blackwell preached from Nehemiah during his sermon titled “Building Together.”

Hueytown’s mayor and some city council members attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony that afternoon, and as Hicks cut the ribbon with Blackwell he sensed the excitement and anticipation of the kids in the crowd. “Seeing their facial expressions … was really neat,” he said. “They couldn’t wait to see (the building).” 

Blackwell looked out over the crowd during the ceremony and spotted people who had been members for decades and others who were new to the church — generations who had “all come together to celebrate,” he said.

Hicks added that the new building is not only “for now” but for “future generations” as well.

And people of all ages have given sacrificially to the campaign, Blackwell said. “It could not have been done without the sacrifice of our people,” he said.  

When God puts a vision in the hearts of His people, “this is what can happen,” Blackwell said of his church. “What’s happening here is not restrictive to [Valley Creek],” he said, adding that churches just have to allow God to work. “I want our church to be an encouragement to other churches,” he said.

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