MCDONOUGH — According to the Dec. 4, 2014, issue of The Wall Street Journal the construction of religious buildings in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level at any time since private records began in 1967.
The article stated, “Behind the decline is a confluence of trends: a drop in formal religious participation, changing donation habits, a shift away from the construction of massive mega churches and more broadly, a growing taste for alternatives to the traditional house of worship.”
However, those trends have not deterred Glen Haven Baptist Church from constructing a beautiful, spacious worship center that the church leadership believes will continue to help the church grow in the years ahead.
Those who enter the church from the Gavaza Plaza will notice imbedded in the sidewalk a huge cross made of bricks purchased by members and dedicated in honor of or in memory of family and friends.
The only goal
The large atrium that circles around the front of the church is accented by an impressive map of the world, emphasizing the church’s missionary purpose and a beautifully scripted presentation of Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the Word of God with boldness.”
Upon entering the worship center one would naturally be impressed with the expansive, beautiful sanctuary – the color, lighting, sound, and technical capabilities of the room, but upon meeting the staff and the members one would be immediately aware of a remarkable spirit.
Lauren Noelle Marbut gives an unsolicited testimony on her Facebook page, saying, “I am a member here and I love it. You are accepted and loved here by every person, regardless of your different beliefs or walk of life. They are not interested in your money. Their only goal is to reach people for Jesus Christ.”
At a recent men’s retreat some were asked to comment on their opinion about the new building. Reid Bowman, GHBC layman and general contractor for the J.R. Bowman Construction Company – the company employed to build the new facility, responded, “Our church relocated years ago from Decatur. Those who came from Decatur never dreamed that our church could or would grow as it has. In our minds we set limits on God.
“It is amazing to see what God has done in just a few short years. And we have no idea what God has in store for us in the days to come. I am sure that lives will be changed for the glory of the Lord for years after we are gone.”
According to Pastor Stan Berrong, the new 1,400-seat worship center is a 43,000 square foot facility that also contains a choir room, an administrative area, a conference room and bridal room.
Bowman observed, “From the beginning God was in control of the building project. Every phase of the building was prayed over from the initial design to the finished product.”
Steve Brown, one of the church’s outreach team leaders, agreed, stating, “The leadership of Glen Haven is cohesive and in sync with God. Because of this unity God has blessed this whole project and the future of His church on Eastlake Road will be sustainable for our next generation.”
‘Excitement in the air’
Brown continued, “The dedication service, on September 27th, was amazing. We had to put hundreds of chairs out to accommodate all the people (2,000) that came.
“There was so much excitement in the air. Our choir sang with the power of God; and Senior Pastor Stan Berrong brought the gospel message and preached with humility and compassion. Our members were so pleased and blessed to witness at the end of the service that the new sanctuary was to be named, “The Berrong Worship Center.”
Al Sheneman, men’s ministry leader and choir member, explained, “Our new Berrong Worship Center is desperately needed for many reasons. Due to our growth we were having multiple services and several Sunday School hours to accommodate all the needs of the congregation.
“There was tremendous pressure on the staff and the choir each week to preach and sing so many times. The new facility gives us the ability to continue to grow and not only meet the needs of our current membership, but also to continue to grow in our witness to the entire area.
“The building itself is beautiful and spacious. As a choir member, I am particularly impressed by our ability to produce a better sound because of the updated sound system. We also have a new rehearsal area with separate dressing rooms and restrooms.
“I sat on the back row of the choir for the inaugural service and had a unique perspective from my vantage point. I could see every seat filled. Some stood for the entire two-hour service. The Holy Spirit was evident in many ways. There were tears, hands raised, clapping, vocal confirmations, the sermon, and invitation. So many had prayed for so long and it was sweet to look out over the congregation during the service and realize that their countenance reflected their/our answers to prayer.
“One of the prettiest areas of the facility is Gavaza Plaza and the entry lobby of the building; and the new, wide platform in the worship center finally gives us the ability to have our praise team and praise band on the stage at the same time. Our new high definition capabilities are truly amazing.”
Glen Haven is known for its spirit-led staff, its excited membership, and its quest for souls. The new worship center is a magnificent addition, but the most impressive ingredient of Glen Haven is the people – a genuine community of faith.