Village Meadows opens new worship center
By Francine Biere | Jun 29, 2022
Seven years ago, Village Meadows Baptist Church in Sierra Vista received a $5-million donation to build a new worship center.
“It was a journey of obedience, because it wasn’t just the money donated,” Pastor Emeritus Mark Pitts said. “It was part of the experience God wanted us to go through.”
Once the donation was received, said Michael Sanders, who became senior pastor in 2021, the church immediately became fiscally responsible with the funds.
“You don’t let that kind of donation sit in a checking account,” he said. “By investing $5 million, we gained $1 million in interest and were able to help two local ministries.”
The cost of the construction of the first architectural design was more than the donation. After meeting with six other architects, the church selected a company that could work within the budget and approved a plan with reduced square footage and seating capacity. The new building is 16,000 square feet, including a preschool area, and seats 489 in the worship center.
“The project was in the hands of God all the time,” Brian Patrick, chairperson of the project team, said.
“From being blessed with the funding and overcoming challenges of choosing the right construction company who finalized contracts before COVID-19, thus avoiding price hikes, dealing with supply shortages and shipping delays, God showed us who was in control,” Patrick said. “We trusted our God, and He walked us through the difficult times.”
The construction time provided an opportunity for ministry.
“We intentionally chose to glorify God through the building process,” Intergenerational Pastor Mark McEuen said. The plan included a “ministry of construction,” where church volunteers provided to construction workers daily snacks and beverages and one meal a week throughout the entire project.
“We had a prayer box where the workers could submit prayer requests,” Carla Meyer, ministry assistant, said. “It was wonderful that they felt safe doing that. This ministry was an amazing way to share Jesus.”
Village Meadows held its first public Sunday morning worship service in the new facility on May 22 following 40 days of prayer. A ribbon cutting with members of the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce, the mayor, other government officials and church members was held on May 26.
The worship center was purposely designed to create fellowship and connection.
“When you walk into the lobby, which is called Third Space, you will see a cafe, tables to sit and talk and an area designated as the Connection Pointe,” Sanders said. It provides a place to have questions answered, and after each service, one of the pastors and their wife are there to visit and talk.
Other areas benefited from the donation.
“We live in a much more tech-centric world,” Sanders said. “We can increase our digital footprint due to the technology in this new building. Our communication tech ministry allows us to livestream Sunday services and produce videos.
“The design of the worship center is much more suitable for hosting large events, conferences, theatrical productions, recitals and musical events,” Sanders continued. “With our current technical capabilities, we can host streaming and simulcasts here.”
One member said she specifically loves the acoustics, the music and the lighting.
“When I look up at the stage, I can see and understand more clearly,” Debi Cheslik said. “There is such a big difference between the family life center [where the church previously met for worship] and the new sanctuary.”
The up-to-date technical, sound, lighting and audiovisual capabilities also provide the church’s youth an opportunity to learn and be involved in the worship service, including opportunities to be part of the musical side of the worship team, Sanders said.
Another blessing was the new preschool.
“This generous offering allowed [Village Meadows] to build a brand-new, state-of-the-art preschool facility,” Christine Henry, director of the preschool ministry said. “It’s a secure area only accessible by vetted employees or volunteers and parents.”
Future plans include a two-day-a-week Mother’s Day Out for children 3 to 6 years of age, a five-day weekday school for children 2 to 6 and a sensory classroom for special-needs children.
A meditation path surrounding the 30-plus acres of church property will be open to the community.
“We hope to have this completed sometime this summer,” Church Administrator Sharon Burke said.
Woven throughout the past seven years is the attitude of prayer. Indeed, the presence of prayer has been predominant ever since Village Meadows began.
“Beginning with the very first building, the relocation [of the church] and building of the family life center, the addition of Sunday School and administration buildings, and this new sanctuary, I knew God intended for us to have a bigger footprint in Sierra Vista and beyond for His glory and not ours,” Mark Pitts said. “We were sobered by God’s faithfulness.”
Francine Biere, a freelance writer living in Sierra Vista, is a member of Village Meadows Baptist Church, Sierra Vista.