FAQs About the Relocation Master Plan
Who are the members of our Building Committee?
The following church members compose the Building Committee: Bro. Billy Compton, Tim Armstrong, Ray Cecil, Melanie Cooke, Gerald Cox, Tom Jasper, George Maddox, Carolyn Shaw, and our chairman, Murrell Porter.
Why does our church need to build additional facilities?
Studies have clearly shown that when church attendance exceeds 70% – 80% of capacity, the attendance growth begins to level off and attendance eventually declines. Some believe that the percentage is even lower when there are multiple services such as at our church. Our church attendance over the last 23 years has grown at an average of 5.2% per year. At this rate, the average attendance at our third service will exceed 80% of capacity in 2017 and we will reach our maximum capacity by 2021 if the growth rate does not decline.
What steps could our church take to extend use of our current facilities past 2017?
Attendance at our first and second services are lower than the third service. Therefore, if many of our members now attending the third service elected to attend the first or second service, our current sanctuary could meet our needs until about 2021, depending on how many chose to change their hour of worship. We could also add a Saturday night service which would help slightly. These changes would also most likely require adjustments in our Sunday School hours. These steps, however, would be a significant inconvenience to a substantial portion of our membership and would only extend the use of our current sanctuary an additional 4 years or so.
Are we limited in our Sunday School space?
Our Sunday School space is not as limited as our sanctuary space. Several of our classes are well below 50% capacity, and we have a few additional classrooms that could be made available in Romans Hall with some reconfiguration. Additionally, there is unfinished space on the second floor of the CLC that could be finished out as classrooms. Our Sunday School space should last well beyond our sanctuary space.
Why do we need to relocate? Could we build a new sanctuary at our current location?
In 2004, our church established a Vision Team to look at our future facility needs and recommend a course of action. In 2005 with the assistance of the consulting firm of Cogun Corporation, the team recommended that our church relocate in lieu of expansion at our current location. There are several reasons why the “stay and build” option was not recommended. First, we would need to purchase 20 properties to expand our current acreage from 5 to 14 acres. It is most likely that some of the property owners would not agree to sell their property. Similarly, the option would require closing Hilltop Avenue and a portion of Snapp Street to achieve a workable layout of facilities. It would most likely be difficult to get city approval for these closures. Third, this option would allow only limited growth over the next 10 to 15 years and would not meet our objective to posture our church for longer-term growth. A minimum of 25-30 acres is needed. There would be insurmountable obstacles to purchasing this much property in the center of town. Fourth, while building additional facilities at our current site would be a significant improvement, the limitations of our current facilities would limit our potential to reach the greatest number of people in our community. The limitations of our current facilities include a confusing and inefficient floor plan due to multiple additions, limited handicap and elderly access, and limited restrooms and lobby areas. Finally, because we would not have revenue from the sale of our current facilities, the “stay and build” option was not as cost effective as relocation when considering the long term growth of our church.
Why can’t we expand by starting a mission church and stay where we are?
Our church has already taken significant steps to start a mission church in Shepherdsville. At an appropriate time we could also start a mission church in the Mt.Washington area. That certainly could be successful given the current number of un-churched people in our area and the projected population growth. However, if this was our only growth initiative, FirstBaptistChurch would then become a “maintenance” church within a few years. Our membership would plateau and would then likely decline. We believe God’s will for His church is to grow and provide a vibrant, evangelistic outreach to the community by building new facilities and by also planting new churches where God leads us.
Does the proposed facility master plan include adequate space for all of our current ministries?
Phase 1 of the master plan includes 60,000 sq. ft. of new facilities. This compares to 92,000 sq ft in our current facilities. The proposed plan is much more efficient and effective in utilization of space, providing adequate space for all of our Sunday School and worship activities on Sunday morning. After extensive study, we determined we could not afford in the first phase to build sufficient space to relocate all our ministries to our new campus. Therefore, we will need to operate two campuses for a while until we can afford to build additional space. Most current weekday activities will remain at our current campus as follows: 1) All Christian Life Center (CLC) activities; 2) Fellowship hall and supporting kitchen; 3) All offices except for the Minister of Music and Children’s Director; 4) Mother’s Day Out (MDO); 5) Performing Arts Center (PAC); 6) Wednesday night activities including the youth Worship on Wednesday (WOW) services; 7) The Community Ministry food pantry; and 8) The radio station.
Did we consider building a less costly multi-purpose worship facility rather than building a new sanctuary?
While a multi-purpose worship facility costs less per square foot than a new sanctuary, the savings was not sufficient to build enough space to move all of our ministries to the new campus in the first phase of construction. We studied this option in detail and were unable to make it work. In the current plan, we are able to move all of our Sunday morning activities to the new campus, while our weekday activities remain at our current campus as outlined in question 7 above.
Will relocation require any significant adjustments in our schedule of activities?
Two significant adjustments will be needed. First, due to limited adult education space, we will need to have three adult Bible study hours on Sunday morning and use each room three times. Thus we will ask some of our adult classes to move to a different study hour, and we may ask one or two small classes to combine. Second, we will shift to two worship services (2nd and 3rd hours). This works nicely with the three adult Bible study hours. Thus each Sunday School member will be able to attend a worship service immediately before or after their Bible study. The GardendaleBaptistChurch in Gardendale, Al (a northern suburb of Birmingham) has been operating two campuses for nearly three years and made very similar adjustments in their schedule. We visited the church to learn from their experiences and found the congregation to be very supportive and happy with the changes they made, including those who made personal adjustments to their Sunday School or worship hours, or who changed Sunday School classes. We are confident our congregation will be equally supportive.
What will Phase 1 of the Master Plan cost and how can we afford it?
We know that relocation of our church facilities will be a God-size financial challenge for us, but a challenge that God is asking us to meet. We know that when we are in God’s will, he provides the way. Phase 1 will cost about $10.8 million in today’s dollars. We believe by relocating we will be able to better reach our community. Thus, our membership and resultant tithes and offerings will grow faster. Phase 1 will require 9-11 years of capital campaigns and we will also need to commit a larger portion of our general budget to the building program. We will strive to increase the percentage of our general budget that is committed to the building program by 2% per year from the current 7% to 25%. We will be able to do this as our general budget grows. While we cannot know with certainty what our future proceeds will be, we have projected our growth and building budget for the next 20 years. We have found this achievable, given our projected membership growth and the historical results of capital campaigns and giving in our church.
Has our church ever embarked on such a large building program?
While the relocation will be the largest building program for our church, the building of our current sanctuary was a similar challenge considering the size of our church at that time. In 1966, that project cost $450,000 for our church of 888 members with a $76,000 general budget. The cost was 5.9 times the general budget. If we apply the inflation index for each year since 1966 and consider our current membership of over 2000 members, the same God-size project taken in 2013 would be $8.5 million. This would be 5.9 times our current budget of $1.4 million, the same ratio as in 1966. It is also the same cost per member, adjusted for inflation. In 2016, the equivalent project budget would be $9.9 million. While the cost of relocation is 20% larger than this, our church stepped out on faith that God would provide in 1966 and we are confident God will provide again to grow His church.
Why do we think our church will grow as rapidly as projected?
There are several reasons why we are confident in the growth potential of our church. Foremost, our church has demonstrated a deep commitment to follow God’s will in a variety of effective ministries to reach the un-churched in our community. This has resulted in an average growth rate in attendance over the last 23 years of 5.2% per year. Our growth rate has mirrored very closely the growth of our community which continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in the state. In the 10 years prior to the 2010 census, BullittCounty grew 23.5% and was one of the top five growth counties in the state. Mt.Washington grew even faster at 44.1%. In that same period, our church membership grew 43.9%. During our Vision Team study, we learned there were over 118,000 un-churched people within 10 miles of our church and our community is growing rapidly. With convenient 4-lane access to Louisville and our close proximity, Mt.Washington should continue to be one of the fastest growing communities in our state. Finally, by committing ourselves to a building program of new facilities with greater capacities unlimited by our current location, we will attract many people of our community that have not attended our church before. In almost every case, churches that embarked on relocation building programs with increased capacities have substantially accelerated their growth.
What would we do with our current facilities after they are no longer needed? How much could we get for them?
There are several potential uses for our current facilities as evidenced by other church relocation examples such as purchase by another church, Christian or public schools, or local government facilities. Exploration of these possibilities would begin at the appropriate time when our current campus is no longer needed. Cogun Corp, our Vision Team consultant, estimated the average resale value of our facilities in 2005 to be $2,625,000. Additionally, we could explore sharing our current sanctuary and education space with another church during the interim period that we need to use part of our current campus.
What avenues will be available to obtain more information about the Building Committee recommendations and to ask questions?
The Building Committee will make its formal master plan presentation to the church on Sunday afternoon, 30 June 2013. At the end of that presentation, there will be a question and answer (Q&A) session with individual committee members around displays of the plan. Following that, we will hold two additional “information sharing” presentations, currently scheduled for Sunday night, 7 July, and Wednesday night, 17 July. You are encouraged to attend and ask any questions you may have. On this church web site, in addition to these frequently asked questions (FAQs), you can review drawings of the proposed master plan of facilities and review a preview version of the master plan briefing. On this web site, we also have a link for you to communicate to the Building Committee. We welcome your comments about the master plan and will be happy to provide answers to any questions you may have. We also encourage you to speak directly with any member of our Building Committee.
What was the result of the church vote on the facility master plan?
A short business meeting at each of the Sunday morning services on 28 July 2013 to vote on the master plan recommendation by secret ballot. The plan passed with 95% of the vote in favor of the plan.
What are the next steps we will take after the church vote of approval?
The first step will be to form a capital campaign committee who will develop a plan for capital fund raising. We recommend the Church Council appoint an ad-hoc team to begin this planning immediately after the vote. Next, we will develop a schedule for preparation of design drawings. During this process, we will keep the church fully informed and will bring recommendations to the church for approval at key milestones throughout the process.
Describe the welcome center and cafe area.
As you enter through the glass enclosed main entrance way, you enter into the 2-story foyer and welcome center. This area is more than 12 times larger than our current welcome center and more than 5 times larger than the front foyer of our current sanctuary. To the left is an appealing café area that seats up to 100 people. The outside wall is glass, creating a spacious outdoor feeling. Café areas have been extremely valuable in many churches, especially those with multiple services. It provides an area to meet and greet visitors and for fellowship between services so members can stay connected. A supporting coffee and snack bar is included. Immediately to each side of the foyer are staircases leading to the overlooking balcony and upstairs children and youth areas. Directly ahead are adult classrooms that surround the sanctuary and the entrances to the sanctuary main floor. A large adult classroom is also adjacent to the café. Large, theater-entrance style restrooms are directly accessible from the foyer with two smaller restrooms located down the rear hallway. Also, immediately across the foyer from the sanctuary is the controlled check-in point for the preschool wing.
Describe our new sanctuary.
Our new sanctuary will seat 1000 people: 700 on the main floor and 300 in the balcony. The front portion of the main floor is level with moveable chairs for 400 people. The chairs can be replaced with table seating for 250 people. The tables are stored under the stage. The sloped rear portion of the main floor seats 300 people in stationary theater style seating. The foyer, hallways and backstage area are all at stage height; thus there are no steps up to the stage except from the main floor of the sanctuary. The 300-seat balcony is connected to the main sanctuary floor via stairways on each side. Thus one can walk to the front of the sanctuary from the balcony without exiting out to the foyer. The baptistery is located on the left side just in front of the stage, like many newer churches today. Change rooms are located immediately behind the baptistery. The stage is 40% larger than our current stage and it is over 2 1/2 times wider at the front. The 90 person choir area is elevated 4 feet so that the orchestra can be seated in front of the choir. With stage-level loading docks on both sides of the stage, our setup for stage productions will be much easier. The adult classrooms surrounding the outer edge of the sanctuary under the balcony are designed to be removed once additional educational space is constructed and they are no longer needed. This will increase the seating in the sanctuary to 1250.
How does the new sanctuary compare in size to our current sanctuary?
Our new sanctuary seats 1000 (1250 expanded) people compared to 600 in our current sanctuary (not including the choir). The floor seating area of the new sanctuary is over 7,000 sq ft and is 65% larger than our current sanctuary. This will increase to nearly 10,000 sq. ft. after the classrooms are removed, making it nearly 2.5 times as large. Because of the fan-shape of the new sanctuary, the distance from the stage to the last row of floor seating is approximately the same as our current sanctuary but it is nearly twice as wide at the back row of seats. Additionally, we have a much larger backstage area with a stage level loading dock.
Describe the preschool area.
The preschool area is located on the first floor across from the sanctuary. The area has controlled entry and exits with a check-in counter accessible directly from the main foyer and welcome center. There are six preschool classrooms with a capacity for 150 children to accommodate nursery through 4-yr olds. Kindergarten children will meet in the upstairs children’s area as they do now. Each classroom has an adjoining children’s restroom and there is an additional restroom in the hallway. A 2-story indoor play area is located at the end of the preschool area, which will also be used for preschool worship activities. The play area is bounded by glass on both exterior walls. The Children Director’s office is located in the preschool area and is accessible both from within the preschool area and from the main hallway. At our current growth rate, the preschool area should meet our capacity needs until 2040 – 2050.
Describe the children’s area.
The children’s area is located on the second floor directly above the preschool area and across from the sanctuary balcony. You can reach the children’s area via a stairway from the main foyer and welcome center or by the elevator in the main hallway. The area has controlled entry and exits with a check-in counter. There are six children’s classrooms with a capacity for 180 children from kindergarten through 5th grade. There are boys and girls restrooms off the hallway and a children’s worship center with a platform stage that has a capacity for 150 children. At our current growth rate, the children’s area should meet our capacity needs until 2045 – 2055.
Describe the youth area.
The youth area is located on the second floor across from the children’s worship area. There are 4 classrooms with a capacity for 82 young people. This is sufficient for youth Bible study which meets during the 2nd and 3rd hours on Sunday morning. The youth Worship on Wednesday (WOW) services will continue to be held in our current Christian Life Center (CLC). At our current growth rate, the youth area should meet our Sunday School capacity needs until 2045-2050.
Describe the adult Bible study area.
There are 7 adult classrooms surrounding the sanctuary and an additional classroom off the cafe area on the first floor. These classrooms have a total capacity of 172 people, which provides sufficient capacity if the rooms are used in three different Bible study hours. This will require adjustments in adult Bible study hours as described in question 9 above. There are expandable walls between two classrooms on each side of the center entrance to the sanctuary. These walls can be collapsed to provide two larger rooms (20’x40′) for a variety of activities. These classrooms should meet our immediate capacity needs, but will be one of the first areas needing expansion in the next building phase.
Describe the backstage choir rehearsal area.
Our choir rehearsal area is conveniently located just across the backstage hallway from the sanctuary choir loft. The rehearsal room and hallway are at the same level as the stage; therefore there are no stairs except those up to the elevated choir loft. The 60′ by 30′ rehearsal room is 33% larger than our current rehearsal room. The music director’s office is adjacent to the rehearsal room and can be accessed from either the rehearsal room or the hallway. A music storage room with collapsible space-saving storage shelves is also provided. Individual storage lockers and robe hanging racks are provided in the hallway just outside the rehearsal room. Backstage restrooms are also provided.
Describe the remaining backstage area.
Our backstage area provides space for storage and a variety of activities. A “green room” and administrative support office are located just across the backstage hallway from the choir rehearsal suite. The administrative office will provide space for support of Sunday morning activities much like the outer receptionist office on our current campus (copier machine, SS records, Lord’s Supper preparation, etc.) The “green room” is a title often given to a room that will provide the Pastor a private location for preparation before and between services and to meet with members or visitors as needed. Adjacent to these rooms are change rooms and entrance to the baptistery. Finally, there is a large storage area, a semi-trailer loading dock to the right of the platform, and an additional loading point with a 10′ overhead door to the left of the platform. This will allow convenient, platform-level loading and offloading of props and equipment for the facility.
Why was a more modern exterior selected rather than a traditional church exterior such as our current church?
We believe the depicted exterior best meets three important goals we set for our master plan. First and foremost, we want our new church to be appealing to the un-churched. We believe a more modern rather than traditional exterior will best attract the younger population of our town and surrounding area. Second, we want the plan to be very flexible for expansion as our church grows. The current design accomplishes that very nicely. Finally, we want the facility to be easily accessible to the elderly and handicapped. While a traditional approach could be made accessible and expandable, we believe the current design is the best approach and it is less costly than a traditional design.
Do we have adequate parking for our worship services?
Our Phase 1 plan has 470 parking spaces, compared to 328 spaces at our current location. If we find this to be limiting, we can easily expand the parking when the need arises. The parking will be more convenient than at our current location as it will be wrapped around the facility on all four sides and the main entrance will have a large drive-under canopy. There will be ample handicap and van-accessible parking spaces near the public entrances to the facility. Entrances will be at ground level with no stairs. During later phases of the plan, parking would be expanded to more than 1200 spaces.
Will we have convenient and timely traffic flow from our parking lots after worship services?
The traffic flow from the parking lots will be both convenient and timely. There will be two major exits points from the parking lot. One exit will be to the rear, past the fire station onto Old Bardstown Road. The other will be to the front onto the bypass. At each exit, there will be turning lanes for each direction.
At what point will we need to expand the Phase 1 facilities for additional growth and how would that be done?
Based on expected growth, we may need to expand our worship capacity in approximately 2030. This could be done by adding another worship service or by expanding the sanctuary by removing the rear classrooms. Prior to that, however, we will most likely move the remaining activities from our current campus to the new facility by building additional space for offices, Bible study, youth worship, fellowship and CLC activities. This could be done as the debt on Phase 1 facilities is drawn done. The timing and priorities will be determine as we grow and the needs and capabilities become more clear.
What is the status of our effort to sell the property on the “L-shaped” leg toward the bank? Does our master plan include any of this property?
In February 2013, our church approved a contract to sell three acres of the dogleg closest to the Peoples Bank branch to the McFarland, Troutman, Profitt Funeral Home. There was a designated 60-90 day period in the contract to allow the funeral home to pursue proper zoning and other requirements that are necessary to be able to build the funeral home in that location. At the conclusion of that period, the contract was closed. With the revenue from the sale, our church paid off the remaining debt on the 26-acre property and deposited the remaining balance of nearly $180,000 into our Building fund Account. None of the dogleg property is essential to Phase 1 of the master plan, but in later phases parking may be needed on the portion of the dogleg closest to the sanctuary. Our church and the funeral home have agreed to mutually share parking lots, which will be of significant benefit to our church.
Is the water retention basin at the front of the property necessary? Could we eliminate it for more parking?
Zoning ordinances require water retention basins for large parking lots. The ordinances stipulate the size of the basins based on the size of the runoff area. Our basin must be located at the front of the property due to the slope of the land. We will explore further as to whether the drainage ravine can accept some of the runoff and thus allow us to reduce or eliminate the retention basin.
What designs have been completed for the interior of the Phase 1 facility?
None of the interior design has been completed other than the floor plan and some conceptual ideas for the interior. Detailed interior design will be completed as design drawings (blueprints) are prepared. This is the next phase of our planning.
What key resources did the building committee use in their planning process?
We referred to many resources during our planning process. Lifeway has published several useful studies and surveys and they published a book titled “Planning and Building Church Facilities.” Additionally, we visited several churches that had completed large building projects, and we relied heavily on the expertise of our planning and consulting firm, McKnight Corporation. Finally, in 2005 Dr. Tom Rainer led the Rainer Group to complete a study of 58 churches that had completed building projects. Most of us personally know Dr. Rainer from when he was our interim pastor prior to Bro. Chitwood’s arrival in 2003. There are some very useful conclusions in Dr. Rainer’s study that provide important insights as we embark upon our building program: 1) The single greatest regret of churches was that the building projects were too small and expenditures were too low; 2) Churches were the most satisfied with projects that included multi-purpose facilities that could be used for multiple types of activities; 3) The highest level of satisfaction was with total church relocation projects; 4) The building programs were critical to church growth; 5) Building programs strengthened the faith of the church; and 6) The enthusiasm, unity, commitment, and involvement of church members was a highlight in the history of most churches.
What are the qualifications of our master plan consultant?
The consultant for our master plan is The McKnight Group, located in Grove City, OH. The McKnight Group has over 35 years experience in over 500 church and commercial projects. Their specialty is in church design and construction. They partner with the client church through the whole process from concept to operation and were highly recommended by churches with building projects similar to ours. You may find out more information about The McKnight Group on their website at www.mcknightgroup.com.