THIS YEAR’S SOLOMON AWARD ENTRIES EXHIBITED THE CHURCH’S OVERWHELMING DESIRE FOR COMMUNITY CONNECTION. “In various [projects] I saw different ministry areas coming together for the purpose of making places for people to come together and connect,” says Jim Wagner, general manager of events for EH Publishing, a sponsor of Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX), where the Solomon Awards are presented. This purpose was manifested in the creation of connection hubs for adults, as well as children, and in a focus on outdoor gathering spaces.
Church in the Son of Orlando, Fla., literally took community to another level when it connected existing facilities with a two-story addition via its “Cross Roads” lobby. The multi-level gathering space’s café and bookstore are fused with all ministry areas and entrances. Plentiful in windows and skylights, the space is furnished with groupings of furniture and encourages people to “let their guard down,” according to Church in the Son’s facilities director, Jeff Taylor.
Don Mahoney, the project architect and partner with Building God’s Way of Ogden, Utah, adds, “Church ‘happens’ outside of worship and education, and Church in the Son wanted it to happen on a more frequent basis.”
Another prime example is the 25,000-square-foot town center at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. “We wanted to create enough space for people to want to stay,” says Gary Stroope, senior director of worship at Watermark. The town center has a 360-degree view to all campus areas and expansive windows, providing a visible connection to the outside, while sliding doors leading to “The Porch” allow an experiential one. This outdoor activity area features a baptismal pond, covered seating areas, and audio-visual and lighting for special events. Watermark currently offers box lunches to attendees following all services to encourage people to stick around and discuss the lessons.
Similarly, First Christian Church of Huntington Beach (FCCHB) in Huntington Beach, Calif., made an investment in its community with an anti-urban sprawl decision to transform its aging downtown campus into a multi-venue beach village. The worship center, eclectically designed lobby and café, themed children’s, youth and adult spaces, and other campus structures converge on a wave-patterned paseo where members and visitors love to spend time. “It’s one thing to tell people to build relationships and make lifestyle changes,” says Curtis Templeton, FCCHB’s director of communication, “It’s quite another to provide a place for them to do so.”
The children’s spaces at FCCHB also lead the way in exuberant design and are appropriately themed as an aquarium, a tree house, and a secret base. “Effective [chidren’s] design should relate to the big idea or story of the main church,” says Mel McGowan, founder of nationwide Visioneering Studios, the project’s architect and urban designer.
These children’s venues are to-the-max design wise, but according to Wagner, illustrate well this trend that churches of all sizes are latching onto. FCCHB’s bold exterior design merges with another trend: Forging facilities that send a message to the passing public. “We worked to create an outward-looking village, instead of an inward-looking box with blank walls facing the community,” shares McGowan.
Like FCCHB, Grace Covenant Church in Austin, Texas, was just another building until planning revealed the need for a stronger visual presence at its high-traffic location of Highway 183 and Loop 360 (150,000 cars every day). “They were on that corner, but invisible,” says Bob Galloway, principal with Jackson Galloway Associates in Austin.
Designers conceived a “crown of thorns” facility motif, which surrounds a Live Oak-canopied courtyard and culminates in a glass and steel-tine crown chancel that overlooks the highway. “Our facility is now a testimony to the community. Christ is crowned Lord of Austin,” says Ray Anderson, executive pastor of Grace.
“Churches want facilities that interact with their environments and are youthful, instead of a big box store with a different sign out front,” Galloway adds.
Rachel Allen is a freelance writer, a regular contributor to Worship Facilities Magazine, and blogs at WorshipFacilities.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASTLE PINES COMMUNITY CHURCH
Castle Rock, Colo.
(303) 663-9755 • www.castlepineschurch.org
CPCC began their design process by asking where people most want to be. The answer was home—specifically the family room. CPCC incorporated fireplaces, a coffee bar, and outdoor spaces to make guests and members feel at home.
ELIZABETH BAPTIST CHURCH
(205) 799-6314 • elizabethchurch.homestead.com
In response to the needs of a larger sanctuary that would facilitate technology, as well as space for connection, Marcum Architects designed a modern auditorium and narthex that “complement the existing, but mark a new era in the ministry of Elizabeth Baptist Church.”
GRACE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
WINNER: Best Church Design:
Expansion Project, [1-800 Seats]
(219) 987-7763 • www.connectgrace.org
Holding youth services off site and busing children for Sunday school ceased when Grace completed an addition and renovation, adding 10,900 square feet of worship, gathering and office space.
HIGH POINT COMMUNITY CHURCH
(205) 590-0142 • www.thehighpointlife.com
HPCC’s plans to build a new worship space, day care, outdoor porch, lobby with café, and youth center that can also function as a storm shelter are based on a desire to impact and serve its rural Alabama community.
LIGHTHOUSE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
(731) 664-6690 • www.lighthouse-upc.org
Following complete destruction by a tornado in 2008, LPC set the bar for a well-planned and executed building program. Two years to the minute after the tornado hit, LPC was dedicating a brand new 500-seat facility.
THE CHURCH AT LIFE PARK –FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF MT. PLEASANT
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
(843) 884-852 • www.lifeparkmp.org
VISIONEERING STUDIOS -WINNER
Master planned as a mixed-use community, the first phase was built around beautiful Live Oaks and includes a community porch, café, 400-seat auditorium, and youth and children’s spaces designed in the style of an inviting low-country beach house.
THE ROCK FULL GOSPEL CHURCH
(304) 422-9605 • www.therockfgc.org
A state-of-the-art sanctuary and contemporary foyer with 20-foot stone fireplace and full-service restaurant, The Rock City Grill, meet this progressive church’s goal to operate as a civic center rather than a traditional church.
(812) 882-2737 • www.thursdaychurch.org
This group of believers was worshipping in their sister church’s fellowship hall when they purchased a 4 ½-story Montgomery Ward building. Through volunteer labor, Thursday Church now has a functional home to grow in.
THE CONNECTION CENTER AT BRENTWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH
The fourth phase of a 320,000-square-foot master plan
created by HH Architects, The Connection Center offers a third place and plenty of space for the growing congregation to connect and build relationships.
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF HUNTINGTON BEACH
Huntington Beach, Calif.
(714) 536-2589 • www.fcchb.com
MANKIN MEDIA SYSTEMS – WINNER
(Best Technical Consultant/Contractor; tied for Best Overall Church Technology Project with AVI-SPL for
Resurrection Life Church in Cadillac, Mich.)
VISIONEERING STUDIOS – WINNER
(Best Church Architect; Best Overall
An increasingly younger congregation motivated FCCHB to overhaul its aging downtown campus. With the help of Visioneering Studios and Mankin Media Systems, FCCHB is now a technologically cutting-edge, multi-venue church.
GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH
(630) 961-9055 • www.goodshepherd-naperville.org
A multi-venue church looking to create community designed a central lobby featuring a third place café, warm colors, and expansive windows that promote transparency with the surrounding environment.
GRACE COVENANT CHURCH
(512) 345-7840 • www.grace360.org
JACKSON GALLOWAY ASSOCIATES PLLC
To speak to its Austin community, Grace designed its facility as a “crown of thorns” surrounding a courtyard. A 1,700-seat worship center is shaded by the frosted glass text of Luke 10:27.
GRACE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
Johnson City, Tenn.
COGUN INC. – WINNER
Best Building Contractor, [800-2,000 seats]
NEAL PRICE ARCHITECTS
A circulation and lobby space is the heart of Grace’s expansion that includes a 1,500-seat worship center and a two-floor youth education building. The youth building houses two 150-seat auditoriums, a 300-seat auditorium, and a total of 20 break out rooms.
STONEBRIAR COMMUNITY CHURCH
(469) 252-5207 • www.stonebriar.org
SmithGroup|F&S in Dallas designed a 3,000-seat theater-style worship center and 60,000-square-foot children’s building in Romanesque style to accommodate Stonebriar’s growth needs. Gabled roofs, arched windows, and stone accents lend character not frequently seen in large churches.
THE BRIDGE COMMUNITY CENTER AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH PEACHTREE CITY
Peachtree City, Ga.
(770) 487-8133 • www.fbcptc.org
Serving others is the motivation behind The Bridge. This community center hosts free health and fitness programs throughout the week and also serves as Sunday school and adult worship space for the church.
THE GATHERING – WINNER
Best Church Design: New
Project, [801-2,000+ seats]
(865) 868-5000 • www.thegatheringfamily.com
Becoming a part of its Smoky Mountain community was the purpose behind The Gathering’s facility. Mountain-lodge details throughout commons spaces and the auditorium blend in with the majestic scenery available through ample windows and from the large patio.
WATERMARK COMMUNITY CHURCH
(214) 361-2275 • www.watermark.org
Phase III’s town center is the connection point of Watermark’s worship area, 500-seat loft, 300-seat chapel, and coffee bar. The space also features a fireplace ideal for gatherings.
HOLLOWELL BRETHREN IN CHRIST CHURCH – WINNER
Best Church Design:
[1-800 seats], Waynesboro, Pa.
(717) 597-3592 • www.hollowellbic.org
In renovating a gym to serve dually as a sanctuary,
Hollowell BIC, together with Gadget Media, created a space and A/V/L system that rivals performance centers. Highlights include eight virtual windows created by projectors, a professional recording suite, a movable, expanding stage, and African mahogany doors and detailing.
RESURRECTION LIFE CHURCH
Cadillac, Mich. • (231) 846-1885 • www.getreslife.org
AVI SPL – WINNER (also tied as WINNER: Best Overall Church Technology Project)
Regionally attended Saturday night rock shows at Res Life are perfected with an A/V/L system built around an Ion 1000 lighting console, XGA 5,500-lumen LCD projectors, and a custom-built, five-way, self-powered speaker system.
HEALING PLACE CHURCH
Baton Rouge, La.
(225) 753-2273 • www.healingplacechurch.org
Comprehensive planning and involvement resulted in a superior facility and state-of-the-art acoustic design.
MOUNT LEBANON BAPTIST CHURCH
AUDIO ETHICS INC.
J. HOY INC.
Conversion of a 53,000-square-foot Winn-Dixie has given Mount Lebanon 25 offices, four large multipurpose rooms, a new nursery, a 3,000-square-foot bookstore, and a 1,700-seat sanctuary complete with full, state-of-the-art audio, visual and lighting.
Also nominated for: Best Construction Management, Best Building Contractor, Best New Media Usage, Best Special Project or Initiative, Best Technical Direction, Best Technical Production, Most Innovative Production
MOUNTAIN LAKE CHURCH
(770) 888-2513 • www.mountainlakechurch.org
Flexibility and economy were required of the A/V/L designed to fill a 1,250-seat sanctuary with sound to meet the needs of concerts and conferences.
SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH – WOODWAY CAMPUS WORSHIP CENTER RESTORATION WINNER
(713) 465-3408 • www.second.org
KENDALL HEATON ASSOCIATES INC.
Following damage from Hurricane Ike, the main campus of Second Baptist Church, listed as the third largest church in the U.S. by Outreach Magazine, was faced with recreating A/V/L excellence in its octagon-shaped worship center.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH GREENVILLE – ACTIVITIES AND YOUTH MINISTRIES CENTER BEST GREEN INITIATIVE WINNER
(864) 233-2527 • www.firstbaptistgreenville.com
Goals of transparency with the community and good stewardship of the environment were developed into a three-level activity building with classrooms, multi-court gym, walking track, and patio area on its way to LEED Silver Certification.
GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH
Fort Smith, Ark.
(479) 646-1177 • www.gracethechurch.com
ROCKY GROVE SUN CO.
Installation of a 16.5-kilowatt solar power system generates enough electricity to run all campus lights, while LED changeover in the auditorium has reduced worship service power usage to just 3,000 watts.
See First Christian Church of Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, Calif.
CHURCH IN THE SON
(407) 398-2806 • www.churchintheson.com
BUILDING GOD’S WAY
THE COLLAGE COS. CONSTRUCTION
A flexible two-level foyer, tiered 1,940-seat worship area, and carefully designed baptistery spaces are helping the growing church establish connections and community within its member family.
(515) 232-5488 • www.cornerstonelife.com
BUILDING GOD’S WAY
Facilitating technology and communal worship was achieved with design reflecting the rural Iowan environment. A tunnel connects control spaces to backstage areas while flexible fellowship and assembly spaces allow for community events and contemporary services.
LENEXA BAPTIST CHURCH
(913) 599-6447 • www.lenexabaptist.com
A traditional worship center and lobby, complete with cafe and bookstore, are balanced with contemporary technology, allowing Lenexa to operate as a multi-venue church and minister to a wider demographic.
COMMUNITY ALLIANCE CHURCH
Butler, Pa. • (724) 282-0230 • www.butlercac.org
A 49,979-square-foot ministry complex includes a children’s wing, library, café, foyer, and 140-degree circular worship space with sloped floors and 700 seats. Construction was also completed without interrupting current ministries.
CROWFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH
Goose Creek, S.C. • (843) 569-6745
COGUN INC. – WINNER
Cogun Inc. stepped in to help Crowfield plan for growth and remain at its current location. A narthex, porch, and 12,093-square-foot worship space facilitating baptisms, choir, and counseling now complement Crowfield’s original structure.
NORTHWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH
North Charleston, S.C.
GJS ARCHITECTS – WINNER
TEAMWAY BUILDERS INC./ COMPERIO
When the project estimate came in way over budget, Northwood and architect GJS brought in Teamway Builders. Teamway reviewed the project and with the help of GJS, costs were brought under control, while the project was completed.
HOPE COMMUNITY CHURCH CHURCH TECHNICAL TEAM –WINNER
(919) 532-0620 • www.gethope.net
Attention to detail makes Hope’s four contemporary services meaningful every week. Two staff members and 12 volunteers work to eliminate errors and prepare for every surprise.
OPEN WATER CHURCH – TIM ANDRAS
(813) 920-9922 • www.openwaterchurch.com
“God deserves the best sound we can offer.” Those are the words of Tim Andras, who isn’t a member of Open Water Church, but still shows up on Sundays following his night shift to assist with the technical aspects of the worship service.
See First Christian Church of Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, Calif.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH INDIAN TRAIL – THE LIFT VIDEO VENUE
Indian Trail, N.C.
(704) 882-1005 • www.fbcit.org
DESIGN 2020 – WINNER:
Best Special Project or Initiative
A life-sized illusion of the pastor actually standing on stage in The Lift Video Venue is a testament to the hard work of Design 2020. Design was also completed for a NEXO rig audio system to accommodate a band-driven worship style.
ST. MARY PARISH MT. ANGEL
Mt. Angel, Ore.
(503) 845-2296 • www.stmarymtangel.org
DELTA AUDIO VISUAL
Although it is a beautiful 1912 church, St. Mary’s acoustics were a challenge. Delta Audio Visual chose ENTASYS High Performance Column Line Array Systems to achieve clarity for the spoken word.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
WINNER – Camron Ware “First Family Christmas”
Through Ware’s use of environmental projection, worshippers at FUMC in Mansfield, Texas, were transplanted to a winter wonderland while enjoying the production of “First Family Christmas.”
JOURNEY COMMUNITY CHURCH
La Mesa, Calif.
(619) 933-2730 • www.journeycommunitychurch.org
A combination of studio post production techniques and the live music of multiple musicians made for a lively Easter musical for Journey Community Church members.