Church Chooses Unconventional Route to New Worship Space

Post a Comment » Written on March 21st, 2007     
Filed under: News
PHOENIX, AZ (March 21, 2007) – A developer proved to be an answer to prayer for Genesis Covenant Church when he recently donated $600,000 worth of “really prime real estate” so the congregation can construct its first building.

Genesis Covenant was planted in 2003 in a rapidly expanding portion of Maricopa County just outside Phoenix. Pastor Pat Stark says church leaders knew raising money to purchase the highly valued property would be impossible and had been praying for three years that someone would donate land. Last year, they began sending letters to property owners who may not have considered selling previously, but might be interested in working with the church.

One of the owners responded, saying he had not even paid attention to multiple offers for the property from developers, but thought a new church and community center would be good for the area. He wound up selling 18 acres to a developer, who subsequently donated six of those acres to Genesis. The donor prefers to remain anonymous. The original property owner turned down a proposal from another developer who offered $1 million more for the land.

The new building actually will be a 20,000-square-foot community center that the congregation will use for worship services, Stark says. It will be the primary piece of a planned development on the remaining 12 acres, which will be known as Genesis Community. The development will include houses, apartments and retail shops.

The church, with an average Sunday attendance of 260 people, has met each Sunday in an elementary school building since the church was planted with the help of Paradise Valley Community Covenant Church. Congregations in similar situations most likely would prefer building their own structure that does not require setting up and taking down chairs and equipment each Sunday. Stark says, however, Genesis’s decision is in keeping with the congregation’s view of community development.

“When we began as a church, we wanted people to know as a core value that the church is people, and not a building,” Stark says. The church already has contributed financial and volunteer assistance to the school at which it meets. Assistance has included purchasing computer hardware and software specially designed for work with autistic children.

Stark says church leaders plan to use the community center for multiple purposes that could include various classes, after-care programs, and even a non-profit coffee shop that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Leaders hope construction can be completed in two years, says Stark, who is excited about the location. One thousand homes are planned for just south of the site, and a new spur off the main thoroughfare is planned to run nearby.

For a previous story on the church’s commitment to helping the underserved in its community, see Genesis Covenant. To learn more about the church and its ministries, please see the Genesis Website.

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