Imagine a young dedicated pastor struggling to start or grow a church with a small body of believers often, though not always, with few resources to work with. This church has the heart and the commitment to put down roots in their community and do the ministry to which God has called them, but finding a suitable place to meet can be a convoluted and stressful process. Should they buy land and construct a building or try to locate an existing church facility? Could a structure not designed for a church be remodeled to meet the church’s needs? What building codes would apply to the project? What is the project likely to cost? Finding a solution to the church’s ministry space needs can be daunting for even a native Texan. Now add to that the difficulty of accomplishing all that in a culture and often through a language that is different from yours. This is the circumstance that many minority language and culture groups find themselves in when they try to establish or expand their own church facilities. We as Texas Baptists are excited when these congregations want to do this, but how do we help them through the unique challenges they face?
Actually, we are already helping through the Church Architecture Team of the BGCT. Both as part of the continued ministry and as an expression of a commitment to Texas Hope 2010, the Church Architecture staff help equip congregations through their unique services to reach others, including those from diverse cultures, ethnicities, and heart languages. Churches from a variety of cultural and language people-groups increasingly are calling on them for their expertise and counsel when facing what we all know is the most expensive part of operating a church. Church facilities can become one of the biggest burdens to church budgets, congregational giving, keeping staff and ministries. Church Architecture’s focus is successful ministry solutions, not just architecture services.
Take BGCT Church Architecture Specialist Ken Hunnicutt, for example. He has been working in the eastern and southern parts of the state serving these kinds of churches, and it’s pretty exciting to hear all he has been about. He has produced a master site plan for a two-acre tract in West Houston for the Sugar Land Vietnamese Baptist Church. That tract has since been sold, so now Ken is working with them to develop another site plan for the new property.
Cambodian South Main Baptist Church in Houston needed to move from South Main’s campus to two acres they own at a different location. Again, Ken was able to give them reliable information about the probable cost to design, develop and build their new facilities.
Church leaders at the Philippine American Baptist Church in Spring knew they needed to rehabilitate or replace their present facilities. BGCT Church Architecture personnel helped them begin the assessment process and know what questions to ask of whom and how more accurately to judge the cost of proposed solutions.
The Church Architecture team has been working for several years with Calvary Korean Baptist Church in Houston. During this time they have produced a master site plan for the church’s property and helped them evaluate a four-acre tract at another location, which the church now owns. The parking lot has been completed.
They were also able to provide solid information to the leadership of Asian American Baptist Church in Missouri City to help them answer questions like: Is being in debt an obstacle to future building? Is the church ready for a new master plan to be done?
Other non-Anglo churches which have called on Ken in the past are: Houston Beth Yeshua (Messianic Jews), Houston Arabic, Houston Ethiopian, Houston Eritrean, Houston Indian (Native American – Coushatta) and Houston Romanian.
Just one more reason to be glad you’re a Texas Baptist.