By CHRISTY WHEELAND

A very special ceremony is planned Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Community Baptist Church in Coweta to break ground on a new 20,000 square foot worship center.

The $5 million project is in response to a steady attendance growth that has caused the church to outgrow its existing facility. Community Baptist is a plant campus of First Baptist Broken Arrow. Previously, it was Emmanuel Southern Baptist Church.

Pastor Adam Mask begins his fifth year at the church in January. He said during his tenure, church attendance has more than doubled.

“The original church building was built in 1985, and we are coming up on 35 years that people have been worshipping the Lord in this church,” Mask explained. “We can hold 177 individuals at maximum capacity for each service. We do two services, and right now we have more than 300 who attend.”

Rather than extend into a third service, church members decided to add another worship space. Mask said the new worship center will have a seating capacity of 400.

There will be a band new pre-school area for Sunday services with multiple classrooms.

“On any given Sunday, we have around 55 children in kindergarten and below. We don’t have the space for that many kids in our existing classrooms. We want to give them the room they need,” the pastor said. “We will also have a kitchen we can utilize for feedings, fellowship and outreaches as a community.”

Community Baptist’s existing young people’s area is shared by both the youth and teens. Mask said it will be renovated and be solely designated for 1st through 5th grades. The existing worship center will undergo a redesign and be utilized as a youth area.

Classrooms in the back hallway of the existing church will be adult small group space for Sunday school and house offices where the entire staff can be on site to minister to people.

“We’ve never had offices out here,” Mask noted. “Right now we have to have people come to our Broken Arrow campus.”

Community Baptist held its first service in Coweta on Oct. 4, 2011. After a year of holding video services, Aaron Swenson was brought on staff to pastor the local congregation.

Swenson took a senior pastor’s position with a Texas church in 2014, at which time Mask came on board as an interim pastor. He was made a full-time campus pastor in January of 2015.

Mask is thrilled to see church growth prompt the need to expand.

“For me, this is a testimony of faith and a strengthening of my own faith to see how people have responded,” Mask said. “We were landlocked. We didn’t own the property to the west and there are houses to the east. I would do daily prayer walks and pray for the property to the west to become available. They sold us this land.”

“It’s crazy how God opened that door in a roundabout way to bring them to the table,” he added.

The new worship center will be two-story in the sense it will have a baptistery, along with men’s and women’s dressing rooms for baptisms. The ceiling height will allow for balcony seating should additional seating space eventually become needed.

On Sunday, a special tent service will be held on the church grounds at 10 a.m. featuring guest evangelist Jay Lowder. Lunch will be served and the groundbreaking will commence at 1 p.m.

“I want our people to know we are not building a building just to build one. The goal of this building is to be a refuge for the hurting and the broken that our people go out and invite in,” Mask assured.

“We want to be in the community and ultimately show the love of Christ because He shared it with us. We want to meet the physical and emotional needs that exist in this world,” the pastor continued. “Ultimately, we fail this community if we don’t take this opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ.”

Mask said Community Baptist is a very giving church through its many outreach programs. He said expanding the church facilities is an investment in the community.

“It’s not about brick and mortar and saying, look at how nice our building is,” he noted. “We have outgrown our facility, and if we expect more life to come into our church then we have to have more room to bring them in. We need a bigger home.

“People can come as they are, encounter the power of Christ and see lives transformed. The reason we’ve grown so much is the hand of God, but when you walk in, people feel at home. Coweta is an awesome town! We invite the community to come out.”

Community Baptist is located on the southeast corner of Highway 51 and 127th Street.