Second Church is known for its hospitality. For more than 100 years, this church has been a cornerstone in the community, attracting people from all ages and stages of life within a 30-mile radius. In 1983, Second Church purchased a building on the outskirts of town. After a 2000 remodel, attendance doubled. Even after a fourth service on Sundays, the church was bursting at the seams, and there was little space for people to fellowship before or after services.
“People always felt they had to get in and get out,” says Drew Mentzer, senior pastor of Second Church. “If we went two minutes over on our services, we’d have a major traffic jam. Our foyer felt like a cattle shoot.”
Mentzer and his team visited College Park Church in Indianapolis and liked their lobby layout. “One of the things we appreciated about College Park, which Aspen designed, was its Third Place space. We felt we needed this kind of space because we’ve had a problem with people getting connected here. With the size of the church, you could go here for years and never know anyone.”
“Second Church is known as a fun, relational, and welcoming church,” says Greg Snider, project developer for Aspen. “They love people into the congregation. But the more they grew, they didn’t have the space to do this as well. We knew adding lobby space to their building would be essential to their future growth.”
Since completing the construction of their new foyer, Mentzer says people stand around and talk after services. “An older woman said she had so much fun sitting around after church that she stayed and struck up a conversation with a stranger. We never would have heard a story like this before the renovation.”
Making Space for Millennials
Along with helping people connect by adding generous lobby space, Second Church also converted its old gym into a new venue for a Next Gen service so that young adults could feel a part of the congregation.
“We have a tremendous ministry for children and youth,” says Mentzer. “What happened though is these teenagers didn’t have anything after they graduated. We know the statistics of young people leaving the church. We wanted to address this need so we followed the research, and we visited churches that we felt were reaching Millennials well.”
Second Church holds its Next Gen service at the same time as its third service in the main sanctuary, and the young adults are thrilled with their new worship space. Even with the addition of this service for young adults, the church can comfortably accommodate the influx of people between services because the new lobby and sanctuary provide ample space for more people.
In the main sanctuary, Aspen installed theater seats instead of pews, which expanded the number of people that can attend a service. This allowed the church to go down to three services.
“It’s amazing what a difference it’s made to go back to three services,” Mentzer says. “That fourth service in the main sanctuary created so much time constraint. Now when we go over a little on a service, it doesn’t affect traffic and people flow.”
Mentzer dreams about Second Church more fully accomplishing its mission to preach the Gospel and declare the salvation of Christ in the surrounding Danville region. “We renovated our church because our lack of space was negatively affecting our ability to grow,” says Mentzer. With an updated sanctuary, new Next Gen ministry space, and a lobby that provides much-needed connecting space, Second Church is well positioned to keep “loving people into the congregation” for years to come.
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