Asbury UMC plans $14 million expansion
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
NORTH SHELBY—Big things are coming at Asbury United Methodist Church in North Shelby. In April, the Church kicked off the Reach Campaign to raise money for a multi-million dollar expansion project.
The expansion includes a new 35,000 square-foot worship space, a nearly 30,000 square-foot office and educational space, new athletic fields and 338 additional parking spaces.
The entire project comes with a $14 million price tag.
Expansion has been in the works for a long time, Asbury UMC Church Administrator Mike Gibbs explained, noting it was part of the church’s master plan created 20 years ago.
“We’ve reached the point where we need to go ahead and do this,” Gibbs said. “Square-footage is the biggest need we have… We’ve had to hold off on things because of limitations on space.”
The church has grown and is “running at 100 percent capacity,” with an average attendance of 1,200 for Sunday services. The planned sanctuary space will comfortably seat between 1,200 and 1,400 worshippers, with room to accommodate a predicted 30 percent increase in attendance over the next five to 10 years, Gibbs explained.
“It’s going to be impressive in structure,” Gibbs said, noting the steeple will be visible from U.S. 280.
The current sanctuary will be downsized from a 700-seat worship space to a smaller chapel space, “more of the right size for weddings” and the church’s contemporary worship service, Gibbs said.
The expansion also includes a large multi-purpose building. Input from church stakeholders will determine the uses of the space.
“We have a lot of needs analysis to do,” Gibbs said. “We don’t want to build a box and say ‘Ok, this is what we’ve got, make it work.’”
Gibbs said the additional space will allow the church to expand its many programs, including its day school, which currently includes between 200 and 300 students, and the food pantry.
Construction is targeted to begin in early 2016, but first Asbury UMC is looking to raise between $6 million and $8 million in funds.
Nearly $3.5 million has been pledged to the Reach Campaign since it was kicked off in April.
“We’re confident we’ll do it,” Gibbs said.
For more information about the Asbury UMC expansion, visit Reach.asburyonline.org.