On June 3rd we had a Family meeting to explain and discuss a proposed new direction in our building expansion program. That plan changes our phase priorities from a new worship center as phase one of our building program to adding a new classroom facility as phase one. It also changes the direction of our site plan from building west of our current facilities to building east toward Sunnylane.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED:
Why change direction? We developed our original site plan based on the availability of utilities and zoning restrictions at that time. Building east of our existing building was not an option back then. Building on our east property (with required septic, lateral lines, etc.) was not possible. We would have been required to spend several hundred thousand dollars to tie in with city utilities prior to eighteen months ago. We are now on city water and sewer and the east property has been released for building purposes. God has provided all this at ZERO cost to our church. Building east of our current facilities is now not only an option but an answer to a problem that has perplexed us for years: How could we move our faith family back and forth from the old building to the new worship center (Sunday School, nursery, children, youth, senior adults, etc.) without traveling long distances (approximately 250 feet) outside (often in inclement weather)? The new plan puts the buildings in very close proximity.
If we build to the east of our existing building, how will we expand in the future? Won’t we be land-locking ourselves? It is the consensus of our leadership that if we grow beyond the 600 number that a new building is designed to accommodate that we will seek to plant a new church or establish satellite congregations rather than build again.
How will the grade to the east (in the direction of Sunnylane) affect the appearance of our new facilities? Professional builders know how to deal with land grades. That is something that we will have to wait for a new site plan to reveal. The grade is, relatively speaking, not that extreme. It will, however, necessitate the use of stem walls to compensate for the grade.
Why are we now talking about new classrooms instead of a worship center? Church growth does not take place without space. A consistent, almost universal rule is that the yearly average attendance of any church, large or small, will equal 10 times the number of small groups functioning within a given body. We are currently maxed out on space. According to this “Rule of 10” we cannot grow until we provide more space for growth. We do not currently have the financial base, or the consistent attendance, to justify building a new (600-seat) worship center, and even if we did, we would still not have the classroom space to support (and “close the back door”) for an average attendance of 500 or more. We currently have classes meeting in rooms that were not designed to be classrooms. We desperately need classroom space now.
What if we build the classrooms and attendance increases? What’s our plan for worship? Our hope and prayer is that we would reach and disciple more people for Christ. Two services is always an option to accommodate worship attendance. It is not what we really want to do, but most churches have come to the realization that it is the best way to handle growth while planning to build. We have made some physical alterations to the worship center (last fall) that expanded the number of seats available. When we reach our target attendance numbers on a consistent basis, we will recommend going to multiple services. Once attendance remains steady and giving increases, we can go forward with our plan for a new worship center.
How much will this new classroom facility cost? Our initial estimate is approximately $200,000. We almost have that in our building fund now. The actual cost will be arrived at when we do the official site plan. This will be presented to the church for a vote to proceed at that time. (This cost is a considerable discount that reflects the benefit God has provided through our leadership’s connection to a company that has built hundreds of churches and commercial structures).
Since our original plan was to build a worship center next, what if I only want my designated gifts to be used for that purpose? Our hope is that all our covenant members would support the steps we feel God is leading and guiding us to take as a church. However, if anyone wishes to “earmark” their previously designated Seek Building funds to be used only for the worship center phase, then you may do that by stating your wishes in writing to the Finance Team.
What about the pond? The pond can now go away since we no longer use the septic system that the pond was designed to augment. The Oklahoma State Department of Environmental Quality has given the approvals to proceed with the re-appropriation of the pond.
What about parking? We have allowed enough space for adequate parking in the rough draft of our new site plan. We have more than enough space on the west side to add any additional parking that might be needed. We are adding gravel to the west side parking lot this month and overflow parking is available on both the east and west sides of our parking lots.
What are we going to do with the property we bought on the west side? We don’t have to do anything with it immediately. With all of the building expansion around us, we purchased this land so that our church facilities would not be “land locked.” We currently have 18 acres available for current and future use. There are many things we could do, and we feel certain that the Lord will lead in that. In the meantime, we will continue to use the west property to minister to our neighbors in the form of baseball, softball and football practice fields, July 4th events, block parties, etc., as well as Sunday morning parking overflow.
On Sunday, July 26th we have scheduled a no-comment vote to decide if we will move forward with this new plan. This vote will take place in the morning worship service. “Move forward” simply means that we will spend whatever is necessary to develop the new site plan, insure that our plans are compatible with local ordinances, and arrive at an actual cost. We will then bring that information back to the church. We will not break ground until these things have been accomplished, this information has been presented to the church in a subsequent family meeting and the church again votes to begin construction. If you have further questions, please contact Bill Sisk, Facilities Administrator, Email Bill@highlandmoore.com