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As FBC Opelika grows, overflow room offers unique ministry opportunities for guests, hard of hearingcomment (0)

September 20, 2007

By Jeremy Dale Henderson

By the end of the year, the staff of First Baptist Church, Opelika, hopes the overflow room currently utilized to accommodate their swelling Sunday morning attendance will no longer be necessary. The work undertaken to renovate and expand the Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association church’s sanctuary should be finished by then.

But for now, the overflow room is vital. In fact, it was such even on a rainy Labor Day weekend that coincided with a nighttime Auburn football game. That Sunday, about 30 people participated in worship in the overflow room just around the corner and down a few halls from the sanctuary. Though physically separated from the main congregation, most don’t realize it thanks to the live broadcast of the 11 a.m. service onto an ample screen. In fact, some deliberately opt for it, not only for the better view but also the clarity of sound. And maybe the snacks.

“We serve coffee and doughnuts to those who worship in this room. The sound … is excellent. I have a few hard-of-hearing men who go there so they can hear the sermon better,” Pastor Steve Scoggins said.

And some go to leave room for others, he added. “They know that by taking a seat there, they are allowing a latecomer, usually a college student, to have a seat in the main auditorium.”

One such member is Amy Dorsey. “We probably had over a hundred people down there last Sunday,” she said. Though she admits the more intimate setting lends itself to lesser levels of exuberance as far as singing goes, Dorsey is confident the arrangement’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages.

Though unquestionably a different experience than that of being physically present in the main auditorium, the staff goes out of its way to de-emphasize the differences between the two.

For instance, there is a group of men who volunteer to help lead the singing in the overflow room.

“We don’t want this to be just watching a TV service,” Scoggins said. “I always go to the room just before I preach and thank the folks for being flexible and worshiping there.”

Asked if the consistently crowded services and the necessity of the overflow room are drawbacks to Sunday mornings at First, Opelika, he answers with a resounding “no!”

“People like the excitement of being in a church where it is hard to find a seat.

“People will go to great lengths if they feel the Spirit of the Lord is moving in a place.”

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