AP NEWS

New building for Covenant Methodist Church in Creekside takes shape

March 28, 2019

For a church that’s been worshiping in either a community space or an elementary school since its inception in 2012, having an established building is quite the change of pace for Covenant Methodist Church.

Founding church Pastor Jason Burnham said the new building is a way the church is living out their conviction of becoming a place of refuge and hope no matter what is going on in the world.

“As we sought to fulfill our core value of being a sanctuary, it required us to have a permanent presence in the community that people can know would be a dependable force they can trust,” Burnham said.

Church officials broke ground in May, 2018, on the 16,000 square-foot, nearly $5 million project along Creekside Green Drive and the facility is still under construction, but the goal is to complete the project for Easter in just a few weeks.

Although Burnham said it’s a “mad dash” to the finish line right now, every part of the design for the facility seems to be intentionally chosen.

That’s because it is — the church did a congregational and community survey before designing an inch of the building. They sampled not just members, but also school principals and counselors, business owners and community leaders to ask what priorities they’d like to see in the church building.

“We want this building to be used for ministry and for the community as often as possible,” Burnham said.

One of the takeaways was that the community wanted the church to look like a church, not like a warehouse or an office building. Ranked in the hierarchy of community needs and wants, first was an indoor playground, second was a Mother’s Day Out program and third was a Bible study.

“We didn’t lay out the space, didn’t know we had to be sure to have an indoor playground, until we heard that (from the surveys),” Burnham said.

In addition to that indoor playground with two and a half levels of play space, the new facility will have a children’s area with classrooms and gathering space; this will allow the church to partner with a full-day, full-year Christian preschool program. They are schedule to open in August.

There’s also a youth space, breakout rooms for private conversations and another gathering room in addition to church offices. When congregants first enter the building, they’ll step into the commons area designed to be the center of all activity.

“No matter what purpose you come to Covenant for…it all connects here,” Burnham said. “That’s key for us, because one of our values is being an inter-generational church, being able to worship together and know that everybody connects back here no matter what life stage they’re in.”

In the space, the church’s English and Spanish ministries also mix together as one service ends and the other begins.

“A third of our community are native Spanish speakers, and since our vision is to create a community connecting in Christ, we really focused on how we can connect the whole community,” Burnham said. “We’re one church in two languages.”

The area is also complete with a coffee and doughnut bar, both of which are an “essential” part of ministry, Burnham said with a laugh.

Then there’s the sanctuary, which is a worship space designed for 300 people. The design is blend of classic and modern, incorporating the stone face of the building in inside accents. In the corner, there’s a special tower where light is to stream in from outside.

“That tower was strategically located so that when you’re coming down Kuykendahl, it’s always on the horizon…We’re really thankful that it can be that beacon of hope for the community,” Burnham said.

The progress is only the first phase of development for the church, too. In the master plan, they have the room to expand in the future to accommodate for growth. The church’s communications director, Robyn Johnson, said her hope for the building is to always be reaching out to the community.

“This is just a physical manifestation of that relationship we have with the community. Our vision is the community connecting in Christ. We want to transform not just the church but the entire community,” Johnson said.

Burnham echoed that.

“Our hope is that this facility would create a rootedness to that vision and permanent manifestation of that vision, that others would be able to experience,” he said.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com