Radiant Life Church
By: Jennifer Walker-Journey
Pastor Dave Gross considers himself to be “building-minded.” He has a keen eye for design and even built his own home. But, when it came to building a new Worship Center for Radiant Life Church, the ministry he founded with his wife Kay nearly 30 years ago, he knew he’d need the help of professionals.
It was a transitional time for the Assemblies of God church. Located in an affluent community in Dublin, Ohio, the church was enjoying substantial growth. Attendance paved the way for more classrooms and nurseries, and worship services were at near capacity in the sanctuary/multipurpose building that was added in 1991. By the end of the decade, the church purchased acreage a mile away for future growth. Getting there, however, would be the challenge.
Pastor Gross turned to Midwest Church Design and Construction, church specialists that provide architectural design, capital campaign consulting, and construction services.
“The primary goal was to get them on the new site,” said Alan Morrison with Midwest Church Design and Construction. “Although they owned approximately 50 acres of prime real estate, they were having trouble selling their existing facility and making the leap from their existing facility to the new location.”
That was aided by the sale of half the acreage to a developer for the same amount the church paid for the whole property. Next came the design of a new Worship Center.
“What I basically said is I wanted a fan-shaped building with seating in the round,” Pastor Gross said. “Then I mentioned some things we wanted in the facility – a nursery that was front and center so when people walked in they knew we had a place for kids that was safe. The second thing people look for is restroom facilities. And, then today, people like a coffee shop so they can come on Sunday morning and not have to run to McDonald’s first to get their cup of coffee.”
Pastor Gross also said he wanted a big open foyer with, if possible, a fountain in the middle.
Taking his client’s wishes into consideration, senior architect Jack Berry developed a multiphase master plan that could grow as the church grew. The first phase included a 36,000-square-foot facility with a spacious atrium with space for a water feature, café, nursery, classroom space, and a state-of-the-art, 1,000-seat sanctuary. The sanctuary was also designed to expand to more than 2,000 seats without impacting any exterior walls.
Since the church was already operating in its multipurpose building a mile down the road, Midwest Church Design and Construction had a clean slate with which to work. They were not bound by any color schemes or styles for the exterior as long as they followed the guidelines and requirements laid out by the City of Dublin.
But, the church did want to blend comfortably into the community. The exterior palate uses earth tones, such as sand-colored stones alongside smooth clay-colored brick. Large windows flood the foyer with natural light.
The interior is welcoming and bright, with mixed use of tile and carpet in neutral tones. Rose accents highlight the Life Café and nursery. Light beams from the interior fountain. The auditorium is spacious with state-of-the-art equipment, making it an ideal setting not only for worship services but also the numerous theatrical events put on by the church.
The church held its first service at its new Worship Center in January 2007, but still uses the buildings at its old site for the church daycare, fellowship events, and other services. Plus, Pastor Gross said, the former sanctuary/gym “now houses some type of athletic event just about every night of the week.”
He said the church is still somewhat in a transitional phase working from two different sites, but they couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the new building.
“They say it takes about 18 months for a congregation to get comfortable in a new building,” he said. “It’s amazing, because after the first week in the new building, people were completely comfortable. We didn’t experience an adjustment phase at all.”
The best part, according to Pastor Gross, is that the community has also embraced the building.
“There’s something about the newness,” he said. “There’s an excitement in our people. They’re inviting others, and our membership is up because of it.”
Midwest Church Design and Construction is a comprehensive construction resource that serves churches nationwide, www.MidwestChurch.com.