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Lifepoint Church
By: Jennifer Walker-Journey

Lifepoint Church was founded in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 2006 with just 50 members who shared a desire to make a difference in the community. They called on Pastor Daniel Floyd, a young, gifted communicator, to lead their group.

Pastor Daniel’s vision was to touch those who were “far away from God” so they could experience His design in their lives. This approach was successful, resulting in substantial growth. Within five years, Lifepoint was ready to find a permanent home. They hired a contractor who had a design-build partnership with Blue Ridge Architects, based in neighboring Harrisonburg, Virginia.

There are many issues to consider when constructing a new church building. For example, should they look for land on which to build a new facility, or find an existing structure and redesign it to fit their needs? These answers come by engaging leadership and gaining a better understanding of the church and its needs, explains Randy Seitz, president of Blue Ridge Architects.

Cost is always a concern, especially with a young church like Lifepoint. Another issue the church faced is that membership was growing exponentially. And, even as leadership began fine-tuning its vision for a home in Fredericksburg, Lifepoint was also making plans to seed churches in other locations.

“Lifepoint is what you would call an ‘attractional’ church,” Seitz explains. Traditional churches that are steeped in symbolism can feel unwelcoming and uncomfortable for the so-called unchurched. But others, like Lifepoint, “are all about inviting friends and guests in and creating an environment that is inviting and comfortable to people.” That translates into more modern facilities that take their cues from places like hotels and conference centers, he says.

With this in mind, Seitz says that the most cost- and time-effective option for Lifepoint was to identify an existing facility that could be transformed. In order to locate a building, however, architects needed to know just how large of a church its client wanted to build.

Lifepoint was growing so rapidly that it was hard to pinpoint just how large the so-called sanctuary needed to be. The church wanted enough seating to accommodate growth but not so much that it would put them into a financial bind. Leadership ultimately settled on about 1,000 seats. The building would also need to provide space for administrative support, classrooms, and children’s ministries.

Site selection led architects to a former ice skating rink and go-cart track in a popular commercial development in Fredericksburg. The exterior was nondescript except for a large art deco “monstrosity” on top of it that Seitz says locals affectionately referred to as “the peacock.”  That, of course, would be removed. But the only major changes needed to the exterior would be moving the main entrance from the east to the south side of the building, where most of the parking spaces were located, and create a canopied entry to identify it as such. The vast majority of construction would be done on the interior, a dramatic job that would transform a warehouse-type space into a “clean and modern” facility.

Architects designed the new entrance to open into a two-story entry hall that leads to a large foyer where members can gather before worship services. Lifepoint’s worship style called for a large, auditorium-type sanctuary with a 2,000-square-foot stage, 1,100-capacity stadium seating, and state-of-the-art audio-visual and lighting components. AV support rooms were also included in the design with the capability to broadcast portions of the worship service to other churches planted by Lifepoint.

The worship space sits at the center of the building, surrounded by flexible classrooms, meeting rooms, and administrative and support space. A second floor allows access to the upper levels of the auditorium, and provides more space for children’s ministry. Glass guardrails were also carried out along the second floor in areas that opened to below.

The administrative area was also designed with glass walls separating the offices and conference rooms within the pastor’s suite, to convey transparency.

Flooring consists of polished concrete in the lobby and entry, and carpeting in other areas. The interior color scheme includes black ceilings and white walls accented with red walls, red and white furnishings, and sprays of red lighting.

Lifepoint’s membership has exploded. Outreach Magazine named Lifepoint the fourth fastest-growing church in America with 50 percent growth in membership during the year 2014. True to its word, Lifepoint also began planting churches. There are now three other locations that hold services in high school auditoriums in other parts of Virginia.
Founded in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 2004, Blue Ridge Architects serves clients up and down the Mid-Atlantic, www.Blueridgearchitects.com

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