July 13, 2014

First Baptist Church breaks ground today for new life center

July 13, 2014 Kristin Finney The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — For several years, First Baptist Church has been implementing big plans for the future of the downtown church. The newest step towards this future begins today as the congregation holds a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Family Life Center.

The church plans for the new center to help grow youth ministries and give youth members more space to worship. The two-story building has a 570-seat fellowship hall that can also hold 320 people for dinner or banquets. There will be a large kitchen downstairs. Upstairs, there will be a half-sized gym area that can also be used for youth worship, several classrooms, and a kitchen area.

The new addition will allow for more adequate parking spaces. In total, once the center is built, the lot will include 87 parking spaces and also bus parking.

If all goes according to plan, the church hopes to hold several concerts and community outreach programs at the new center.

“We realize we are in a community that we need to minister to. In the last three years, we have really begun ministering to downtown,” said Associate Paster Mac Weaver.

In addition to the new building, the church has begun a clothing ministry as well as a food ministry that has served more than 1.6 million meals since it began.  

The new center is projected to be a $4.6 million project. When the planning began, the church had

$1 million set aside for the project. The church leadership agreed to give $1.7 million and thanks to three-year pledge agreements from the congregation, the church plans to raise an additional $2.1 million from the congregation. To date the church has raised a total of $1.5 million for the project.

“We are very excited about the future of our church. These are things that should have been done 35 years ago. There is a lot of potential here, and we are very excited,” said Weaver.

This new building is the first phase of a three-part remodeling for First Baptist. Once the new center is built, the church will begin work on Phase II which involved remodeling the current fellowship hall, and the Phase III which will renovate the main offices and senior area.

First Baptist breaks ground for the new Family Life Center, 9:30 a.m. today. It will take place directly across Central Avenue from the church. First Baptist church is located at 200 W. Central Ave. in Downtown Valdosta.

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