By Sarah Sutton, Summer Staff Writer
SHREVEPORT – Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport is making massive changes in order to further advance their ministry to the people inside and outside of the church.
With the extreme growth Brookwood experienced over the last few years, the church decided that their current facilities were no longer equipped to handle the changing needs.
Once Brookwood assessed these new needs, they created a plan to modify the available spaces, creating the project “Renovate.”
Brookwood currently has between 1,300 and 1,500 attendees of the three weekend services, not counting preschool or children, and the numbers are still growing.
“We are adding a church wide family service by creating a kid/family friendly worship space for 300 people, upgrading our audio and visual in our worship services, and additional gathering space for adults including a new coffee shop with a unique mission emphasis,” Associate Pastor of Worship Mike Smith said.
The proceeds from the coffee shop will go to Thousand Hills Coffee, a ministry to the Twa, utsi and Hutu ethnic groups in Rwanda.
When presenting “Renovate” to the church, Pastor Mark Sutton stressed the importance of the family worship service.
The children and parents will be learning the same songs and hearing the same stories, providing common ground to discuss and bond over. The family service will take place between the two main Sunday morning worship services, and eventually before the worship service on Saturday night.
Another addition to the children’s ministry will include a new, larger children’s area to replace “The Zone,” the current space for children’s services and childcare.
“Renovate” will also include work that might be considered behind the scenes by some, but will make a significant difference for Brookwood’s worship experience. The media ministry’s portion of “Renovate” includes a complete overhaul of the Worship Center Audio, Video and Lighting System.
“The original systems that were installed were sufficient for the style of worship at Brookwood at that time,” Media Minister Shane Reed said, “but as Brookwood grew and changed so did our AVL needs. “
The media ministry grew with the church. Luke Lee, media associate in charge of video, said Brookwood’s media ministry tries to integrate its components into the worship experience in the least distracting way.
After the move to a new location five years ago, the systems became inadequate, Reed said, and “through the Renovate project we will be able to address these inadequacies and use technology in effective ways to enhance worship.”
The more obvious additions through “Renovate” will include a variety of gathering spaces, with the addition of living room areas in the halls and a coffee shop just outside the worship center.
Between the thee adult weekend services, the new family worship, a student service “and countless other meetings and special events, people come and go from our campus 7 days a week and at all different times of the day,” Smith said.
This can cause some congestion between services and the other large events, Sutton explained.
“The gathering spaces… provide the necessary space needed to handle the transition between all these events and, we hope and pray, creates an environment where our membership wants to congregate and fellowship,” Smith said.
Construction for “Renovate” has begun, with a completion date as early as February 2010 planned for the coffee shop and kids’ worship center.