Mountain View Baptist Church
Sunday morning services: 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Address: 3765 Mountain View Road, Gainesville
After more than 100 years, Mountain View Baptist Church is expanding.
The church broke ground Sunday on a new sanctuary at its current location off Mountain View Road.
“It has been a long-time wish of the church to build a bigger sanctuary,” said Jamie Lee, chairman of the church’s building committee.
Mountain View’s desire for a new facility finally happened when the situation necessitated it. During the past few years, the church has experienced overcrowding, Lee said.
About a year ago, Mountain View started two services — 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. — each Sunday to accommodate the increased attendance. Currently the church averages about 35 people at the first service and 110 at the second in its 80-seat sanctuary.
But the sanctuary is not the only facility to experience growing pains. The church’s children and youth departments outgrew their quarters.
The church had been using an overflow room outfitted with an audio video feed to accommodate larger crowds. The need for an overflow room will hopefully be eliminated once construction on the new building is complete.
“We hope to make it a more comfortable atmosphere for people to come and worship,” Lee said.
The new construction project will include a 230-seat sanctuary, nearly tripling the current sanctuary’s size.
“What we’re doing now is a dream of the past, but yet it’s a dream for the future, too,” Mountain View Baptist Church Senior Pastor Bobby Brown said. “They can continue to build in that place for the good and for God’s glory. That’s the real dream of it that we can help a lot of people and be a strength and encouragement to folks there in that place.”
The plan is to construct the new building in phases.
Grating began the day after Sunday’s groundbreaking. As of Thursday, Lee and Brown hoped it would be completed by week’s end.
Next, work will begin on underground plumbing and pouring foundations and concrete and framing the building.
“The brand new sanctuary is going on one end of that existing building,” Lee said. “And we intend in the future to repurpose the existing sanctuary to children’s space, Sunday school space and whatever we see fit as time goes on.”
Brown hopes to have walls up and roof on by Christmas.
Then they’ll finish the project as budget allows.
After raising about 80 percent of the project’s funds, the church started construction. Brown has trust and faith they will raise the rest to finish it.
The upper level of the two-story structure will include the sanctuary and be completed first. The lower level will be left unfinished for the time being, Brown said. Eventually, it will become a kitchen and fellowship area.
“If we find the finances to finish everything in it, it will probably be this time next year, at best, before we’ll be in it,” he said.
But the project couldn’t have happened without the church’s growth, Brown said.
The pastor said a decision to keep two Sunday services or return to one hasn’t been made.
“A lot of folks really like that early service,” he said. “At any rate, it’s possible to accommodate 400 people I would think in two worship services. So that’s significant for us.
Other plans, Brown said, could include developing a place for children.
“My heart wants to develop a children’s area...” he said. “We need to make it where it’s isolated, close to the auditorium, where folks can leave their children, where it’s one-way in, one-way out and their children are taken care of.”
Brown said church should be a place where children know they’re loved and feel good.
“We want to share and teach the Gospel,” he said. “But at the same time, that gospel influences people’s lives for good and that makes a better society and that’s kind of our goal for the long range, to make this world a better place.”
Brown said the expansion has been a desire of longtime church members for years. He’s unsure when the current structure was built, but it was bought from the Pentecostal church in 1914.
“They borrowed $250 to buy it,” Brown said. “It was just a square building that was there and it is old.
“They’ve tried to make it nice, but it’s still very old and they’ve dreamed (this project) and now they’re going to see that dream completed.”
Brown, who is also celebrating 20 years at the church this month, believes the expansion project is a blessing.
“This means more families can find a place where they can find respect and love,” he said. “And they can find a place where they can come together and not have to worry about the things they worry about outside of the church.”