by Cindy Nolte, August 13, 2013
Chapel Hill in Wichita is on the grow! With a major capital expansion project, the church family looks forward to welcoming hundreds of new members in the upcoming years.
The new building addition will be able to host nearly 900, with a 200-seat balcony, up from the current seating for 325. Why such a significant change?
In determining the amount of space needed to meet goals and plans, the team used the rule of thumb that when a congregation exceeds 80-85% of current worship space, it needs to start another service or expand. The congregation was consistently exceeding the 85% and the team discovered that every time they reached 700 in worship attendance, the congregation would “hit a ceiling” and bounce back down to 580-590 and then creep back up again. This pattern was another reason for the expansion.
According to Jeff Gannon, senior pastor, “Our lay and clergy leadership team determined that we need to expand our footprint in our community. We are already bursting at the seams and need more space to continue our mission.
It’s not just about seating capacity, but about our sending capacity. We consider our church a mission station, in that what we do at Chapel Hill empowers us for mission in the community and the world.”
The budget for the expansion is $6.9 million and is designed to encompass more that just a larger sanctuary. The current nursery space will be renovated to serve more children and the plans include the addition of classrooms for children, youth and adults. Currently classrooms are at capacity and sometimes there are not enough rooms for church activities.
Volunteers and staff will also enjoy the new commercial kitchen allowing for additional fellowship gatherings. The current kitchen is a very small room, which does not allow for meal preparation and only accommodates three or four people serving comfortably. Sharing meals and creating snacks for children’s activities is an important activity in any church fellowship and the new space will make shared meals and activities more welcoming and relaxing.
A new secure preschool wing is also in the works as the preschool component is an important “entry into Chapel Hill” ministry. With a waiting list for classes, the church needed to expand the available classrooms. Additionally, there are not enough classrooms to meet current demand. The new section of the building will allow for more small group sharing and growth.
Chapel Hill enjoys a vital and active youth program and the planned recreational center will offer an outdoor space dedicated to soccer, horseshoes, exercise, etc. In addition to being a draw for children and youth, the recreation team is planning a wide variety of outdoor activities for intergenerational gatherings. Celebrating faith through picnics and outdoor activities will lend an informal, relaxed atmosphere while appealing to all ages.
“The mission drives everything we do at Chapel Hill. To welcome all people to experience and share the extraordinary grace and love of Jesus Christ demands that we embrace our co-mission with Christ to make disciples that transform the world for his sake,” said Gannon.
The building is projected to be complete in the first quarter of 2014. The congregation is looking forward to holding Easter services in the new sanctuary. To compliment the expansion, the church is also revamping its website and will be enhancing its logo and beefing up communication efforts through traditional and social media. It’s an exciting time at Chapel Hill!