North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship Church has always had family as its main focus. "If I had to come up with a mission statement," says a staff member, "I would say, Changing the world for Christ one family at a time.' So, it was not a surprise when, as church leaders began thinking about church expansion, their own church family was of paramount importance in the design process.
The campus relocation began in 2008 under the leadership of founding senior pastor Leslie W. Smith. A 20-acre site with frontage on a major freeway was purchased. The site had beautiful old growth trees and a stream winding through it. The original campus design, began by another architect, included a 2,500-seat worship center and provided over 140,000 square feet of space. With building plans in hand, however, the church received devastating news from the bank: the church would not be able to secure the financing needed to fund the $40 million development.
Unsure of what to do next, the Church turned to HH Architects, which began a "strategic positioning process" to help the church realize its phase one ministry goals could be accomplished in half the space (a 1,300-seat worship center and less than 70,000 square feet) and at nearly a quarter of the cost ($11.5 million). The original campus design was abandoned in place of a new design and master plan that enabled the project to be constructed in phases.
Relocation (North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship)
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: February 28, 2013
The first phase was focused on the needs of their families and community. Much thought and design effort was directed towards vibrant and expanding children and youth ministries. Colorful graphics, textures, materials and lighting effects created a visually and tactilely stimulating environment in which children and their teachers could work and play. From an Awana circle cut into the carpet to corrugated metal on the walls of the youth café, the church worked closely with the design team to express its vision of a building dynamic youth and family ministry.
The first phase also addressed the adults of their church family, with a large multipurpose worship/dining, conference center, seating 1,300 and offering classrooms for education. The final expression of that vision was creating a concourse gathering space for fellowship that ran the length of the new building, with floor-to-ceiling glass looking out on the trees and stream on their site, which will also be the eventual location of a chapel.
When North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship Church moved into its new building in December of 2012, the congregants said, "We got there, and it felt like home." Founding senior pastor Leslie Smith will retire in December of 2014, and the church has already begun the transitional process. Pastor Smith leaves behind a wonderful testament and legacy, not only to his leadership, but also to his vision of "changing the world one family at a time."