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Calvary Revival Church - Norfolk - Virginia
By: Jennifer-Walker Journey

In 1990, B. Courtney McBath left a career in engineering and management to found Calvary Revival Church in Norfolk, Virginia. In less than 20 years, the church has grown to thousands of weekly attendees and has been recognized as one of the largest churches in America. It supports a federal credit union and an accredited K-12 school system, and it has planted several churches throughout Virginia as part of the Calvary Alliance of Churches and Ministries.

Its abundant growth was inevitable.

The church's current home was originally a retail building in Norfolk that, in 2002, had received minimal renovations in order to accommodate a 2,000-seat sanctuary. The design was headed by Barnes Design Group, a Virginia Beach-based architecture firm with a Christian perspective that specializes in church design. 

Even as construction was completed, the popularity of Calvary Revival Church was growing at light speed. Seven years later, the church called on Barnes Design Group again, this time to accommodate a much larger crowd and a growing need for education space.

"The primary needs as expressed by the leadership was to expand the sanctuary seating capacity as the ministry of Calvary Revival Church continued to grow and touch more lives in the community," said Michael D. Barnes, founder and chief executive officer of Barnes Design Group.

The plan was to increase the sanctuary size from 2,000 seats to 3,350 seats. The expansion would allow 10,000 people to be ministered to on any one Sunday morning over three services.

Church leadership also wanted to add a three-story children's wing and update the entire exterior so that it would more closely reflect the strength and permanence of the church. The project required a master plan that covered both new construction and a renovation of the existing structure.

The design involved two new entry magnets, which were to serve as large lobbies and gathering spaces, plus the three-story Christian education wing. Included in the buildings were multi-purpose classrooms, a multi-purpose chapel, children's classrooms, youth classrooms, conference rooms, a choir rehearsal room, a dance rehearsal room, and a fitness center with lockers and showers.

Inside, the buildings were designed to reflect the church's unique style of ministry. For example, space in the church was use to accommodate several audio/visual screens, a large chancel for the preaching of God's word, and the multiple use of stage requirements, such as dramas and pageantry.

"The primary objective in the exterior design was to create an architecture that reflected the image of this growing church, which symbolized both strength and permanence," Barnes said. "The church had grown substantially over the last 10 years and was an important ministry in the city of Norfolk and throughout the world."

Thus, architects used granite stone, stainless steel panels, and gemstones to reflect a contemporary, high-quality architecture.

Construction began in April 2006 and was completed by summer of 2008. The construction and renovation covered more than 98,000 square feet and cost about $15 million. Overall, the planning and construction went smoothly, with few challenges to slow things down.

"The project was completed on time and within the budget," Barnes said. "It reflects the church's ministry and maximizes the ministry of Bishop B. Courtney McBath and Calvary Revival Church."

Founded in 1979, Barnes Design Group is a progressive, leading-edge design firm with a combined 130 years of experience and a commitment to serve with an uncommon degree of vision and passion, www.BarnesDesignGroup.com.

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