Oxford Bible Fellowship: Fueling Ministry on a College Campus Blog Feature
Josh Gregoire

By: Josh Gregoire on May 04, 2021

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Oxford Bible Fellowship: Fueling Ministry on a College Campus

Church Design | Church Construction | Community Impact | Design Week

How do you know when it’s time to consider a renovation or build at your church? Oxford Bible Fellowship, in Oxford, Ohio, continued to see opportunities related to their vision stacked up against facility-related challenges, both inside and out. Pastor Garrett Nates was moved by the needs of their church, the local community, and the college campus. “We were running up against so many different constraints on our ministry. Probably every single area had pinch points.”

The church’s two-acre campus is embedded within Miami University, in a town that doubles its population during the academic year. The church considered relocating, but in the end, they committed to stay in their original location with a 3500-square foot renovation and a 9000-square foot addition.


Watch the full interview:



“God has planted this church here for a particular reason,” shares Pastor Garrett. “It’s amazing where we're planted, right next to the dorms. People walk out of their dorms, and they see our church.”

Ministry Impact Goals

The addition and renovation gave the church fresh, new spaces that meet the needs of both church and community. To help support their ministry aspirations, the Aspen Group team partnered with Oxford Bible to create inviting spaces that would spark more connection. Project goals included:

1. Align Space with Ministry Functions:

Well-designed space supports ministry and fosters connection in tangible ways.







Pastor Garrett notes that Oxford Bible’s previous space had cramped areas that were over-functioning, and ultimately, they were missing spaces that would allow them to host lingering conversations and larger groups.


"Our goal was never to just create a building. Our goal has always been, how do we help people find Christ?” –Garrett Nates, Pastor, Oxford Bible Fellowship

2. Gathering Spaces for Students:

At Aspen, we love to help churches envision new ministry potential in a facility.

Because of their proximity to a college environment, Oxford Bible was excited to have a building designed to attract, welcome, and host students well. “We immediately noticed potential opportunities for improved gathering spaces, areas for conversation, and offices,” notes Aspen Designer, Andrea Burks.






Pastor Garrett adds: “We were here on Sundays for church, but because of COVID, Monday through Friday our building was full of college students in different campus ministries because this was the only place they could meet. Because of the new space, we’re now able to open our arms as wide as possible during the day for students, and also in the evening for campus groups.”

3. Safer Spaces for Kids

Children’s safety is a top priority for those interacting with your church.





Oxford Bible wanted parents to feel good about the safety of their children while the kids attended classes and parents were in the worship center. As our team evaluated the children’s space, we realized it was too open-ended, with various exits creating security challenges. Creating a secure space for kids has helped parents have peace of mind and feel a part of the church community.

4. Create an Inviting Building Exterior:

A church building’s curb appeal can invite or inhibit interaction.






“One thing we were very aware of was the attractiveness of our building from the outside,” shares Pastor Garrett. “Our location needed a building that says: This is a place where you want to be, where people are drawn into community. They find out who is actually the center of our community and that's Jesus. Without having a visual cue that this is a great place to be, how can they meet Jesus? That’s our goal. Our goal was never to just create a building. Our goal has always been, how do we help people find Christ?”


"We want to be known for our sending capacity not our seating capacity. That changes the conversation. We’re building God's Kingdom.” –Garrett Nates, Pastor, Oxford Bible Fellowship

Project Summary:

The new addition created space for children, youth, and college ministries, and puts them front and center to reflect the church's values. It also provides additional lobby space for intergenerational connection. The renovation of the existing space included an updated lobby, coffee bar, kitchen, and nursery spaces, as well as new, more accessible restrooms on the main level. Explore the Oxford Bible Fellowship project.


About Josh Gregoire

Josh Gregoire joined Aspen Group in 2004. Over the years he has played a role in design, construction, IT, marketing, project development, and business development. Since 2014, Josh has served in Church Relations. He is often the first point of contact for churches who are considering a church facility renovation or new building project. His experiences at Aspen and in pastoral ministry have prepared him to come alongside church leaders and help them navigate the earliest conversations and stages of a facility project. Josh also serves as the Discipleship Pastor in his home church, providing vision and leadership for ministries such as Small Groups, First Impressions (hospitality), and Next Steps. He has also served as his denomination’s District Sunday School and Discipleship Ministry Chair, and he continues to provide coaching and training to leaders and volunteers in these areas as needed. He and his wife Missy are raising two kids.