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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Gardendale’s FBC to resume building plans comment (0)

July 31, 2008


Though $26 million is definitely not pocket change, the pastor of Gardendale’s First Baptist Church knows that the cost for building a new worship center will be well worth it.

“To put this in perspective, (look at) the University of Alabama. In 2006, they did an expansion project on the football stadium and spent about $50 million,” said Senior Pastor Kevin Hamm. “This year, that stadium will be used seven times. Auburn University is starting construction on a new basketball arena. They are going to spend around $60 million (to construct the facility). They will use that arena about 18 times a year.

“Now here is a church who is going to spend $26 million on a building. We will use it 150 times a year — if you only count worship services.”

The worship center is Phase 1 of a three-phase building plan to relocate the North Jefferson Baptist Association church from its site on Main Street to a plot of land off Interstate 65 it purchased about seven years ago.
Construction of the new church was put on hold three years ago when the pastor at the time, Steve Gaines, was called to a church in Tennessee.

“We wanted to wait and know what God’s will was for us long-term,” Hamm said of the decision to put the construction on hold.

Site work for the future home of the 104,000-square-foot worship center is set to resume in September.

It will have 2,700 seats — double the seating capacity of the current worship center — with a nonfoundational wall, which will allow for an expansion to 4,500 seats if necessary in the future. The church currently averages about 3,500 people in three Sunday morning worship services.

“We will be able to go down to two services, one at 9 a.m. and one at 10:45 a.m.,” Hamm said.

In addition to serving as a worship center, the new building will provide educational space for young singles and senior adults and will have a nursery.

The current worship center will house classrooms until the completion of Phase 2, which will include additional educational facilities and administrative offices. The plan is to sell the church’s current site once this phase has been finished. Phase 3 of the project is a family life center, fellowship hall and chapel.

Though church members are excited about the new buildings, Hamm said they have been very careful to keep their true reason for expanding in mind.

“It isn’t about wowing people with the building,” he said. “It is about providing a place to share the good news of Christ.”

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