As membership at The Sanctuary church increases, so does the need for additional space.
"They typically say that a new building will generate new growth," said the church's pastor, Bryan Cockrell. "We certainly are hoping for that, but only the Lord knows that, so that's in His hands."
The $3 million expansion project will add nearly 20,000 square feet to the church, located at Cox and Byrd roads. Included in the project are a 900-seat sanctuary, 2,178-square-foot lobby, as well as a 2,605-square-foot coffee shop and Christian bookstore, complete with a double-sided fireplace.
The Evans church is housed by a 14,000-square-feet building, and its sanctuary seats about 350 people. When the project is complete, the sanctuary will be used as an area for children and youth, Cockrell said.
Also, a choir suite and offices will be added in the new building with the current offices becoming Sunday school rooms, he said. The two buildings will be connected by a courtyard.
Construction started in January and is expected to conclude by mid-December, the pastor said.
"It's really been a step-by-step process," he said. "We didn't set out with any grand ideas of what things were going to develop into."
The church started meeting in August 2006 at the former Riverside Baptist Church on Hardy McManus before moving to the Jabez Sandford Hardin Performing Arts Center. The nondenominational church relocated in April 2007.
Church membership began at about 300 people and has grown to approximately 600 members, Cockrell said.
Since purchasing the property in 2007, the church has spent about $1 million in expanding the parking lot by 200 spaces, he said.
"We did that in preparation of the new building," Cockrell said. "We will add approximately 75 more spaces on the front after the building is done."
Additional property behind the church was purchased in 2008, bringing the total lot size to 12 acres, Cockrell said. In a future phase, more classrooms in addition to a three-story Sunday school building and gymnasium are planned, but no time line as to when construction might start on that project has been set, he said.
The building is being designed by the architecture firm, McDonald Law, and will feature cathedral-style windows.
Cockrell said many people he's spoken to are very excited about the additional space and unique design.
"Many of them started with us on the journey of not even having a building, so I think all of us are aware that it's God who has done it," he said. "We could not put a plan together like this and move forward this quickly unless God had been the one who was doing that."
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