As members of First Baptist Church of Lorena, we are called to be salt and light to our surrounding community (our Jerusalem) and to provide a place for worship, discipleship of believers, training of children, and love for those around us by providing physical and spiritual needs and to witness to the lost. First Baptist Church Lorena was established almost simultaneously with the founding of the town of Lorena. There were 22 founding members in September 1882 with Elder John S. Allen as the first pastor. Through ups and down, want and plenty, good times and bad it has survived as a beacon of God’s blessings to this community.
The rapidly expanding population of our community is another transition and opportunity to serve our community in God’s name. The Future Planning Committee’s work was done with full trust that God will provide for the needs that lie ahead.
STATUS OF CURRENT FACILITIES
The surrounding area of Lorena is expected to grow 50 to 100% within the next 10 years. The challenge for our church is to continue to provide a place for those moving into our community. God willing, our church ministries can match that growth with proper outreach and facility upgrades.
1. The Committee believes that the current sanctuary, offices, and student ministry facilities are adequate to accommodate the growth. The education building and classrooms can become adequate with the installation of an elevator, and if the Shepherd’s Heart food pantry is relocated to a separate building.
2. The fellowship hall space is inadequate and needs to be enlarged.
Recommendations to Meet Immediate and Other Needs.
1. Allot 1/3 acre on the rear of the church property on Oak Street for a Shepherd’s Heart, LLC building of, for example, about 40 by 60 Feet with an extension for two walk-in freezers (for a total of about 2800 ft2 ). The building will be owned by the church, paid for by Shepherd’s Heart, LLC, and leased back to Shepherd’s Heart, LLC for a nominal yearly fee. The church will pay up to $100,000 towards the cost for paving for access and parking.
2. Update the foyer between the sanctuary and education wing to an attractive Welcome Center.
3. Install security doors on each end of the first floor of the education building for the safety of the children.
4. Construct a two-story addition to the fellowship hall between the current fellowship hall and the offices, which will include an elevator for access to the upstairs portion of the education building, adding three classrooms and approximately 50% more space to the fellowship hall.
5. Some additional facilities upgrades as detailed in the attached full report.
We are called to Gather (worship and fellowship), Grow (discipleship and bible study) and Go (evangelize in our community the state and the world). The Future Planning Committee was commissioned by the church to address our opportunities to Gather, Grow and Go as our community grows.
Thus, the Committee was organized and commissioned to provide the church with recommendations for physical facilities improvements that will be adequate to the projected ministry needs over the next ten years. The charge to the Committee included consideration of all ministries of the church which encompassed the immediate need for space for the Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry, children’s ministry, discipleship and student ministry and church offices. The Committee was also charged to consider past plans, including PlanNorth, and to consider how an elevator could help with current and future space needs. The commission by the church to the Committee is attached as Attachment 1.
I. The Committee approached the task in the following order.
I. Assessment of the projected growth of the surrounding community.
II. Assessment of the currently available space and facilities.
III. Determination of the space needs for growth in ministries relevant to those coming into our community.
IV. Determine and prioritize ways to meet the projected ministry needs.
V. Report to the church the Committee’s findings, options, and recommendations to address projected growth.
II. Projected Community Growth
The Committee consulted The City Manager of Lorena and the President of the Lorena Chamber of Commerce for information. Both referred us to Jason Mundo of Mundo and Associates who is a consultant for the city that provides all information for the city Economic Development unit. Mundo projects that the east side of Lorena (3.5 mile radius) is expected to grow from the current 1,700 citizens to about 5,000 citizens in the next 5 to 10 years. Approximately 600 new houses are expected to be built east of I-35with a subdivision of 200 homes already begun on Rosenthal Parkway and Birdie Lane. The Lorena School District projected about a 5% growth but their estimate is at least a year out of date. The BGCT Church Planning group estimated substantial growth.
As a result, the Committee believes we can project a community growth (within 3.5 mile radius of the church) of about 50 to 100%, that is, population is likely to double. We could expect church growth to grow equally if we have effective outreach and programs.
III. Available Space and Future Facility Space Needs
The Committee believes that the sanctuary is adequate for the 5 to 10 year’s projections. If necessary, we can go to two services and/or use the fellowship hall with screens for large (Easter) overflow.
An elevator is needed to access the second story classrooms in the education wing of the building. This will free up all seven classrooms on the first floor of the education wing, which is considered adequate for children’s Bible study and Awana programs in the next 10-year period. An elevator is therefore a priority as all the adult Sunday School classrooms on the ground floor are currently in use or needed for children’s ministry, with no room for expansion downstairs.
In order to free up the children’s classroom space there needs to be provided space, outside of the current church facilities, for Shepherd’s Heart food pantry. Security doors in the children’s space is also a priority.
The fellowship hall is considered inadequate for the projected increase in membership and needs to the enlarged.
The foyer needs to be upgraded into an attractive and inviting Welcome Center and the entrance courtyard needs to be upgraded to provide a welcoming entrance to the Welcome Center and to the church.
Additional signage is needed as well as some expenditure to upgrade/modernize the interior of the church buildings.
IV. Recommendations – Projects and Costs
After careful assessment and consideration of the projected growth of the population of Lorena and surrounding areas, of the projected church facility needs, and to address the projected ministry growth, your Future Planning Committee recommends the following.
1. The committee recommends that a space of about 1/3 acre (approximately 120 ft x 120ft or 132ft x 110 ft) be set aside on the back corner of the church property on Oak Street for a building for Shepherd’s Heart, LLC. It is recommended that the church contribute up to, but no more than, $100,000, to the construction of parking space for the building. Shepherd’s Heart, Inc. would provide the remaining cost of the building. This space would, for example, accommodate a building of approximately 40ft x 60ft with an extension for two freezers for a total of 2,800 ft2 with space for appropriate paved parking. Shepherd’s Heart, LLC would not be able to expand the building without specific authorization of the church.. Its size must fit into the current property without limiting future church growth (such as a large Life Center or Sanctuary). A major consideration of the Committee has been that whatever we recommend to the church must be useful for other ministries of the church should circumstances of Shepherd’s Heart change. For example, the size and location would be ideal for a youth building or other related activities. The building would be expected to house the entire food distribution ministry supported by the church, with no further use of existing rooms in the education building or other church buildings as it is expected that all that space will be needed for Bible study and children’s ministries.
Any building built on church property must be owned by First Baptist Church, Lorena. It would be leased to Shepherd’s Heart on acceptable agreement terms for a nominal fee. If at some time in the future the Shepherd‘s Heart no longer is able to use the building, it would then become available for other church ministry needs. The building may be either a metal or wood structure and must be compatible with the style of the church, having either a brick or brick facade exterior. The committee obtained one estimate of the cost of a 40ft x 60ft brick faced, wood framed building of about $235,000.
2. To accommodate expected growth in adult Bible study classes, now numbering ten, there needs to be an elevator installed in order for all members to have the ability to access the second-floor classrooms in the education wing. An elevator will also facilitate more complete use of the upstairs rooms of the education building. Retrofitting the current space for an elevator is expensive as a six-foot deep pit must be dug into the existing foundation, three phase 240V electric provided, a drain for a pit sump pump and a fireproof elevator shaft constructed). Thus far no suitable location has been found to install the elevator that does not have serious tradeoffs (reduced nursery size, loss of one to two classrooms, loss of a restroom, and interference with children’s wing traffic flow). Moreover, the Committee believes that there is also an immediate need to expand the size of the fellowship hall. With that in mind, the Committee recommends an addition to the fellowship hall that includes an installed elevator. An elevator located in a new construction of an addition to the fellowship hall will significantly reduce the elevator installation cost.
Therefore, the Committee recommends adding an extension of the fellowship hall into the space between the current fellowship hall and the office building with a two-story addition containing a foyer with an elevator. Not only does this add an elevator, but it will also add three classrooms on the second floor. The addition would be about 22 ft by 51 ft with a 22 ft by 15 ft foyer that would contain the elevator and stairs. We have received cost estimates from Pearson Construction and Mitchell Construction. The estimated cost of an installed elevator is about $150,000 if built in new construction. The cost of an elevator alone would be about $200,000 to $250,000 if installed in the existing building. The cost of the two-story addition is estimated to be about $750,000 (including an elevator and three additional upstairs classrooms plus a $50,0000 contingency) and would increase the fellowship hall by almost 50%. There will also be an estimated cost of about $400/mo. for an elevator maintenance contract.
A rendering of the proposed addition by McDaniel Art Works is attached (Attachments 2, 3 and 4) as is a conceptual design prepared by the BGCT architect, Pat Ekern (Attachment 5, 6, and 7).
3. The Committee further recommends the installation of security doors on each end of the first-floor hallway of the education wing to enhance safety in the children’s area.
4. The Committee also recommends remodeling the present church foyer into a more attractive and inviting Welcome Center.
1. Obtaining and implementing a landscape plan for the entrance courtyard behind the church sign facing Center Street.
2. Signage that more clearly directs visitors to the church entrance on Center Street and to appropriate buildings. The church currently lacks adequate signage for visitors and new members not familiar with the church building arrangements.
3. Replacement of the entrance cover on the I-35 side of the church with one of a more attractive design.
4. Miscellaneous repairs and upgrades to the church as recommended by the Stewardship Committee.
A cost estimate spreadsheet for all the above projects is attached (Attachment 8).
1. Immediate Needs
Cost $ 812,000
Money currently available $ 150,000
Amount to be raised $ 662,000
2. Other Needs
Cost $ 75,000
While the cost of these additions and upgrades is great, it is the Committee’s view that these are achievable goals and that they will position First Baptist Lorena to continue to serve and to provide a place of God’s light in our community. It will allow our church to continue to Gather, Grow, and Go, as it has done for the last 140 years.
VII. What’s Next
We will hold two question and answer sessions to address your questions after you have had an opportunity to review the final report.
Saturday January 22nd at 10:00 am in the Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, January 25that 6:00 pm in the Fellowship Hall
There will then be a called business meeting after church on January 30th to vote on the Committee’s recommendations.