Hall extension intends to make room for all

More kids trigger expansion

2006. Knox Presbyterian Church in Lower Hutt (New Zealand) is undertaking the extension and renovation of its Grimes Hall at a cost of nearly $750,000.

An increase in Sunday school numbers over the past six years from 25 children to 150, and a rise in numbers in the youth ministry partly prompted the expansion. The Sunday school is based on the Promised Land programme from Willow Creek church.

The hall will be almost doubled in size into a multi-purpose facility making way for ministry to particularly non-Christians.

That’s the objective according to (former senior minister) Alistair Smales.

“We are very keen not to be an inward-looking church but a church which is concerned with meeting our community’s needs.”

The building is being extended by about 10 meters in width to provide space to increase ministries to children, youth, non-Christians, and make community usage of the facility more “user-friendly” for various community groups.

It will offer flexibility in ministry, particularly to non-Christians, and some church members will be trained in friendship evangelism this year.

The facility will include a café and possibly a place for alternative styles of worship, “particularly for those who drop off their kids (on a Sunday), and who disappear to the local coffee bar while the kids are in kids programme. It would be one of our objectives if we can attract them to a different type of service,” said Mr Smales.

Staff numbers will increase, including an ordained assistant minister and an office assistant.

The church started thinking and praying about the hall extension six years ago and, largely because of lack of money, decided on doing it in three stages.

The second stage cost, of just under $750,000, was partly raised by church members separately from offerings to church ministries. The balance was borrowed.

The church realized that stage one, which gave the church a café and a new kitchen, had limitations.

The church is hopeful about the future. It plans this year to be more outwardly focused.

“We look successful at the moment. The danger is we can become complacent. (The building) provides a platform for ministry to continue.

“There is a general feeling of optimism around the place. We had been thinking and praying for this for a number of years and now is the time to move forward again,” Mr Smales said.

By Peter Veugelaers.

Published 2006, Challenge Weekly

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