To make room for the growth of Waxahachie and Ellis County, three congregations have taken steps of faith, moving from landlocked situations to larger spaces.
The Avenue Church moved to its new 70-acre campus on North U.S. Highway 77 in August 2010 where the congregation, with an average age of 32, worships in a contemporary style, 1,000-seat worship center. There’s a 9:30 a.m. worship service and another at 11 a.m. An enclosed walkway known as “The Avenue” connects the buildings. The facility also has a state-of-the-art children’s educational and play center.
“The company that installed two children’s indoor playgrounds told us that we have the largest one of any church in the United States,” pastor David Brown said. “Since moving in August, attendance has doubled, averaging 1,500 in worship every Sunday.”
Brown noted the benefits his congregation has reaped since making the move.
“It has changed the dynamic of who we are as a church,” he said. “I’m excited that God has led us to do this and am proud of our people making this step of faith.”
Dean Kilmer, minister of the former College Street Church of Christ, says his congregation has attracted new members since relocating from the downtown location where members had worshiped since 1905, to a new 18-acre campus on Farm-to-Market 813 near Finley Seventh Grade Center.
“The move has been a great experience – our congregation has been drawn closer together and many of our people worked hard to make this move a reality,” Kilmer said. “We are better equipped to minister to children and teens and our 1,100-seat worship center provides a great worship environment with state-of-the-art acoustics allowing us to worship God with reverence and respect.”
Kilmer said the design of the worship center allows the large congregation to feel close together when members worship.
Farley Street Baptist Church moved from the location it inhabited for 90 years to a 10-acre tract on Brown Street in November 2008.
“We knew if we were to reach more people, there was no other option than to relocate,” pastor Richard Smith said. “Throughout the process we stood in awe as God worked in ways we never dreamed. The growth we’ve experienced is a testimony to the faithfulness of God and his people.”
Smith noted that the move was a great experience for his church in several ways.
“It has been a journey out of our comfort zone,” he said. “Many were afraid we would lose people – most just hoped we could hold our own.”
Even in a rented space for 2 ˝ years, the church continued to grow.
“This illustrates that a building is not the church – the people are,” he said, saying that the relocation to Brown Street has given them not only a more visible location, but has also opened more doors for the church to minister.
“We have started a Mother’s Day Out program for young families,” he said, adding, “Our new location is a distribution site for Angel Food in Ellis County.”
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