Moving Forward at ABC (Building Program)

Last night at Antioch Baptist Church, the power of God and the faith of His people were on full display. Recognizing that God has been moving in us and through us to reach our community and our region for Christ, we voted on a Master Plan that stretches us in faith and obedience. There was an evident spirit of unity and forward momentum… and the unanimous vote on these plans was a living testimony that God’s people at ABC are “letting go of what is behind, and reaching forward to what is ahead” as Paul wrote to the Philippian church in Phil. 3:13. We acknowledge the good work that God has been doing in us and through us in the decades past. And together, our unanimous vote proclaimed that there is no better way to honor the precious saints of our past than to build on the solid foundation they have laid in giving everything we are and everything we have to the cause of Christ.

For many reasons, I decided to record on this blog the motion as unanimously adopted at the business meeting last night, and a short recap of plan descriptions that were discussed. The two main reasons for this blog post are as follows:

  • To serve as a point of reference for clarification as to what was discussed and decided. Share this with others who are wondering what the future looks like at ABC. And remind yourself occasionally of the direction God has laid before us.
  • To serve as a celebratory mile-marker along our journey of faith together. There have been many decisions that have led us to this point, some from decades past. But this specific decision is to be celebrated and remembered as well. It can be a memorial stone, for generations to come, of how we trusted God and stepped out in faith in the direction He is leading us.

The Motion as Unanimously Adopted December 14, 2014:

The Church Council moves that Antioch Baptist Church adopt a three-phase building program as follows:

  1. (Phase 1 to begin immediately, incurring no debt) Remodel the old sanctuary into a children’s wing as presented.
  2. (Phase 2 to be saved toward [estimated $1 million], with a goal of 50% down-payment) Remove the middle section of church facilities and replace with a new building consisting of a worship center, education space, and offices.
  3. (Phase 3 to be completed by church members at minimal cost) Remove the baptistery from the old sanctuary and reconstruct the area into storage space.

The Master Planning Team worked for two years (since December of 2012) to seek God’s direction in a “big picture” plan for our facilities. They thought outside the box, inside the box, and even as if there were no box… all to provide a “best guess” picture of what the facilities at ABC might look like when they meet the needs of our church life together. Below is a shortened recap of the discussion of the three phases:

Phase 1 – The children’s ministry at ABC is the fastest growing ministry area. There is an immediate need to renovate our facilities to accommodate this rapid growth. The remodel of the old sanctuary building into a children’s wing will include a large-space meeting area for children (AKA: “KidZone”), three large classrooms, a large preschool area with two breakout-style classrooms, an expansion of the nursery, and two children’s bathrooms. The baptistery in the old sanctuary will stay for now, until the completion of a new worship center. This phase also includes updates to the outside of the old sanctuary. Metal siding will cover the area, with a 2.5-3′ wainscoting of brick, austin stone, or something similar running along the bottom (this outside “look” will carry across the facilities after the construction of the new building). Ray Butler will oversee this Phase. We currently have all funds necessary to complete Phase 1.

Phase 2 – The new building will offer a centralized concept of church life. Large classrooms downstairs and upstairs will accommodate needs for education space, and an indoor hallway will connect the East side of the building to the West side without having to walk through the worship center itself. The upstairs classrooms are designed in such a way that they could be changed into balcony-seating if needed. The proposed worship center will include seating for 300 (old sanctuary max seating was 140… we currently seat 220, but can fit up to 375 in the FLC if needed). It was stressed that this plan is an educated guess. If, by the time we’ve raised the $500,000 needed to begin we need a worship center that seats more than 300, we will formulate another committee to reevaluate. In any case, upon entering the building portion of Phase 2, a building committee will need to be formed.

Phase 3 – When the new worship center is finished, including a new baptistery, a team of ABCers will remove the baptistery from the old sanctuary and turn that area into storage. Until then, we will continue to use the baptistry in what is to be the “KidZone” by allowing close family and friends to be in the room with the baptismal candidate, and a live-video feed will run to the FLC. This will allow for during-service baptisms without having to relocate the congregation from one end of the building to another or to an off-site location.

OTHER DISCUSSION:

  • Parking – Currently, the maintenance team is working on adding 15-20 parking spots on the West side of the building. We dreamed that eventually we would have concreted or asphalted parking space all around the building. This can be discussed at any time in the future.
  • Your Giving – We are officially in a “building program.” We receive no funding from government institutions or special interest groups. That means we are completely dependent on God’s provision through His people to meet the needs He’s placed before us. Since we currently have the funds necessary for Phase 1’s completion, you can be assured that from this point forward, when you give to the designated “building fund” at ABC, you are giving toward the new worship center (“Phase 2”). Your undesignated tithes fund the daily ministries and operational expenses of our church. Please do not stop your current giving practices. On top of these, I challenge you and your family to prayerfully consider how God would have you sacrificially give regular designated gifts to the building fund. Our church budget models this sacrificial giving by designating 12% off the top to missions… and we are currently forward-paying ourselves $1500/mo. into the designated building fund. This $1500/mo. will not, in a reasonable time frame, add up to the needed Phase 2 funding – we do this to model for our members the sacrificial nature of giving.

According to 2012 Census data, there are 2,888 people living within a 10 mile radius of our doors. Half of them claimed they were either “somewhat involved with their faith” or “not at all involved with their faith.” . . . And we do not plan to stop our outreach efforts at 10 miles from our doors. God has placed thousands of people all around us who are in desperate need of the salvation and the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. They need a church family who will “do life together” with them, love them, and serve them with the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus. Last night we officially decided that we want to be that church. This is where we’re heading. This is the direction God has given us. We’ve stepped into the Jordan River in faith, and are trusting God’s provision as we move toward putting our foot on the destiny He has set before us. May He alone receive the glory! And may He use us in ways we cannot even think to imagine, for the cause of Christ.

Buildings are great, but Antioch Baptist Church is not a building. We are a people. And our only goal is to know Jesus and to make Him known. Our plan for accomplishing this also has nothing to do with buildings. Our method of operation toward the vision God has given us is through Christ-Centered relationships…. one by one, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with whomever God sees fit to put in our path, and inviting them to repentance and faith. Our strength is not in our facilities, our budget, or even our numbers. It is in Christ Jesus. May His power and His glory take center stage in all that we do, and all that we are. To God be the glory! Great things He has done!

Grace and Peace,

Tony