Dayspring UMC "A Church Without Walls"

The church was established in 2008. Until moving into their new facility on Christmas Eve of 2011, their sanctuary was a movie theater. The idea of “no walls” evolved the longer they ministered from the theater. The lack of education space for Sunday Morning Bible Study to support their adult members created a remarkable opportunity to grow their congregation through small groups meeting during the week in homes, coffee shops, or parks. Each small group became a small family, which in turn strengthened the church. The “no walls” idea grew because of their broadened boundaries beyond where they conduct worship.

Their basic program requirements were to provide space on Sunday for pre-school through fifth grade, gathering areas for fellowship before and after worship services, a sanctuary for 320 and offices for staff. The project size was about 18,500 sf. The children’s area includes a space for a children’s worship time and break-out classrooms and education space after the opening activities. Two preschool rooms satisfy the youngest age groups. The Sanctuary was planned for flexibility with an emphasis placed on providing a space with great acoustics for music. The spoken word was equally important and is recognized as integral to the total worship experience. The sanctuary can be totally blacked out for performance events.

The communication between the Sanctuary and the Gathering area was important. Their idea of community included openness. The result of defining this transition between the two spaces is an opening 20’ wide and 10’ tall. Designing and building the doors to close this opening became a design challenge that required a lot of coordination. The model for developing these areas and how they relate is from their first home at the movie theater. The congregation had become accustomed to having generous space to move about and visit with other church members. The movie theater they called home for several years had lounge seating and a snack bar.

The side of the building away from the street is accessed from the large Gathering area and the sanctuary. The view is through large glass walls with openings into a generous covered porch with a large patio for setting up tables and chairs for fellowship events. This area will eventually access an amphitheater and future facilities. The Sanctuary includes large areas of windows with room darkening shades to view the patio and the forested site.

A paradigm shift is emerging in how churches will increase their attendance with the next generation. This thought centers around churches growing through the worship experience instead of growing through a typical Sunday morning Sunday School. Dayspring’s program reflects this idea with facilities that provide flexibility for various activities, yet projects a strong impact for visitors on Sunday in their fellowship and worship time. The open view into the Gathering spaces from outside is intended to be inviting for the community and hopefully reinforcing their ministry of reaching unchurched neighbors.

Dayspring’s sense of openness is communicated from the outside through large expanses of windows along their Gathering Areas. This idea reinforces their ministries to the community and efforts to touch the lives of unchurched neighbors. This openness continues throughout with generous openings between spaces.

First Baptist Church Pittsburg

Churches strive to be relevant in the communities they serve. FBC Pittsburg is literally and figuratively at a crossroads in their city. The figurative crossroads addresses how to touch their neighbors in their area who are not associated with any church.  FBC Pittsburg recognizes the needs and wanted to develop a facility that can attract those defined as un-churched. The new facility approached the challenge with a thoughtful design that breaks the expected image a church building usually projects.

The literal crossroads is the facilities location. It connects the existing fellowship building and reaches out to the main intersection in Pittsburg. The best word to describe the building is transparent. The walkway connection from the existing building is generous in width to accommodate placement of tables and chairs. This encourages interaction before and after events in the sanctuary. This space also draws attention of passing motorists and announces activity and life. The gathering space is all glass and visible from the intersection. This space lights up at night with a rainbow of colors as a beacon in the darkness. The building draws attention to itself and expresses to the community that something different is happening here.

Marvin UMC - Herd Auditorium 

Butler Architectural Group was originally selected by Marvin United Methodist Church in 2010 to provide concept design for a new youth facility.  As part of that work, the need for an updated space to house the growing CORE contemporary worship ministry was identified.

After several months studying the feasibility of repurposing the church gymnasium, the building committee decided to simply renovate their existing Herd Auditorium.  As design work began, Butler architects suggested the Owner consider modifying the room to include a balcony.  

The additional seating in the balcony accomplished the goal of providing space for growth and, by reusing much of the existing infrastructure, the cost was substantially less than the gym renovation.  The Owner readily agreed to the plan, which included a new stair tower at the exterior.

Though the CORE worship is contemporary in nature, Marvin UMC is one of the oldest churches in Tyler.  As a result, the Owner desired for the interior design of the space to utilize traditional materials and colors in a contemporary way.  To accomplish this, the architects made extensive use of stained wood slats, in many cases concealing acoustic treatments, and maintained a subdued color scheme throughout.

All existing theater seating was removed, refinished, and reupholstered.  Though some seating areas were removed or reconfigured, all existing seats were reused.  The first row of theater seating was removed and replaced with movable chairs to increase the flexibility of the platform area.

A state-of-the-art audio-visual-lighting system was also installed, giving the Owner nearly unlimited capability to control the space.

Christ Episcopal Church

During 2007, Bishop Don Wimberley, Rector Harrison McLeod and the Vestry, identified the need for additional space. A feasibility study was conducted and church leaders proceeded with the planning and fund raising through the “Lift High the Cross” campaign. 

The result was razing the Grelling Building, and replacing it with the Grelling-Spence Building. Upon completion, it was dedicated by Bishop Andy Doyle in November, 2009.

The new building consists of four floors. The lower level houses a choir room, the Organist-Choirmaster’s office, and a large nursery. The street level includes the reception area, the Terra Sancta Gift Shop, the Parish Hall, and a state of the art commercial kitchen. The third floor consists of a coffee/meeting area, library, and three classrooms used for adult education and meetings. The fourth floor or Youth Floor has a games/relaxation area, classrooms, offices for the youth ministers, a gymnasium, a kitchen, and worship space for the Epiphany worship service on Sunday morning.

As a result of the added space in the Grelling-Spence Building, there is more room for congregational gatherings, adult education, youth ministry, music ministry and a greatly expanded nursery for our youngest members.

FBC Midlothian

As our community continues to grow, so does our church. Over the years, this has forced us to learn this: If we are going to reach people in our community for Christ, we have to make room for them on our campus. Our past building phases have been successful at meeting these needs, but we are once again bursting at the seams.

The first small step will be to start an 11:00 am "Video Venue" contemporary service in our Chapel in January. It will feature a worship time with a live band, a greeting time with a live pastor, and a large format video of the message. Our goal is not to replicate the Family Room service. A unique feel and atmosphere will create a third option to the worship styles at our church.

But that won't be enough for very long.  Our preschool, children, and student ministries are spilling out the doors. Our adult bible fellowships are overcrowded. Our community is in need of dedicated space for counseling and recovery. Over the next several years, we will finally begin to expand into the campus that was gifted to us last decade. Great things are on the horizon for God's Kingdom in Midlothian, Texas.  Read on to find out more.

FBC Downtown Tyler

These ministry events were planned and prayed for as strategic touch points in the lives of our children, students, families, staff, volunteers (ministers), and the community to fulfill that which we have been called to while living out the very truths we discovered in the book of Philippians. These types of experiences draw us together in unity, call us to prayer, advance the gospel, increase our faith, and help us learn to be content with who we are and what we have in Christ.