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FBC Center Point branching out with second campus comment (0)

March 7, 2002

By Susan Chaffin Goggins

First Baptist Church, Center Point, is about to become “one church at two locations” as it extends its campus 11 miles away.

The Argo community, which lies just northeast of Birmingham, will be the future home of a 25-acre outreach campus of First Center Point. For those  who may wonder why the church would want to expand its campus out of its neighborhood, administrative pastor Steve Parr explained, “The Argo exit will be the first exit past the northern beltline when it is built to form a loop around Birmingham connecting I-459. There will be tremendous development in this area,” he said.

The church is excited about the growth possibilities surrounding its location on I-59.  First, Center Point is committed to the challenge of becom-
ing “one church at two locations. This is not a relocation project,” Parr said firmly. “We have a strong commitment from our membership to continue our ministry in the Center Point community, but we are excited about those we will be reaching in northeast Jefferson County and St. Clair County. We have already begun building relationships in this area.”

Parr cites the church’s willingness to be a mirror of the Center Point community and points to the success of the Hispanic church which meets in their chapel. The church, which is considered a part of First, Center Point, congregation and not a mission, had 124 in attendance Jan. 27. The church envisions starting additional multiethnic congregations in the future.

Perhaps the most innovative aspect of this project is the unique building approach. First, Center Point’s commitment to construction missions projects will be rewarded since many of the congregations they’ve ministered to are returning the favor this summer. Builders from all over the nation will converge to help members of First, Center Point, build the Phase 1 building on their Argo campus.

“First Baptist has constructed churches in Alaska, Maine, Utah and Oklahoma as well as locally in Springville, just to name a few,” Parr said. “In fact, we’ve helped build 25 churches over the last 20 years. Often, these congregations will join us on our next project, so we have developed quite a network with these builders.”

Members of First, Center Point, are expecting at least 400 builders consisting of their own members, members of churches they’ve built and other Southern Baptist builders to begin work on their site July 8. “It will be an intense six- to eight-week project,” Parr explained.

“Our building committee chairman, Hugh Patrick, has contacted every organized building group in the Southern Baptist Convention,” he said. “We are getting calls from interested groups daily. Even local congregations are helping. Gardendale First Baptist has committed a team to do drywall work for us.”

The Phase 1 building at the Argo campus will be the largest component of the project with a 34,600-square-foot worship center/multipurpose building being constructed. The building will include Sunday School classrooms and church offices in the education building. The building is designed to hold 800 in worship and 800 in the educational space.

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