Church expands to meet needs

RIVERCHASE — Construction is under way at Riverchase United Methodist Church, which is in the process of expanding to meet the needs of its members.

Church administrator Stuart Garrette said members can look forward to more space with the addition of three new buildings, additional parking and an improved entrance.

Two years ago the church met with a group of civil engineers to figure out the best way to use their 16 and half acres of land. Garrette said church officials wanted to maximize the land while meeting all the needs of the members.

Garrette said a major need was more space for their education program, which includes activities for elementary through high school students.

“We were busting at the seams in our education space,” he said. “Our elementary through high school age group was running short on space. We had students who wanted to come here and we were just stacking them deep on the space.”

The current construction will add another education building and a student worship center, he said.  The buildings will provide more meeting space, a game room and a stage area for worship.

“Our youth is getting to be very spiritually based,” Garrette said. “They needed a place where they could have a rock out jamming worship.”

A third building will also be constructed on the eastern side of the church’s campus for scouting and ministry. Garrette said that building will mainly be used to store scouting supplies and host their Hispanic worship services.

A multipurpose playing field will also be added to the property near the third building, he said.

“This will allow us to add recreation programs that we were not able to do before,” Garrette said. “A place where kids and adults can go to play.”

Garrette said the church has needed to expand for several years to accommodate its growth within the community.

“We have a large outreach mission in the community,” he said. “Now we just need the space to put the people. This is more reactive than proactive.”

The church’s motto is “Share the joy of Christ” and Garrette said the church’s members have done such a good job fulfilling that motto that the current facility didn’t have enough space to hold the new crowds.

“Some churches build with an eye on the future,” he said. “Right now we’re building with an eye on the past, based on what we need for our members right now.”

Garrette said the entire expansion is planned to be complete before the end of 2011.