Nearly five years ago, a Strategic Planning Team began speaking with LSUMC families about their hopes and dreams for the future of our church. Conversations centered around a long term direction that would positively impact the spiritual lives of members and continue LSUMC's outreach to our community.
Discussion of this work has been continued by a Building Committee which further surveyed our membership. The survey identified the five greatest strengths of LSUMC as families, outreach, relationships, ownership, and connectedness. Of the 15 scales of measure on this study, LSUMC rated above the national median in 14. The lowest score was the adequacy of our ministry needs. In addition another survey shows nearly 17,000 people who live within a seven-mile radius of our church say they are not "strongly involved" with their faith. They also say their acceptance of the Gospel ranges from "neutral" to "highly receptive." This makes our mission field great.
LSUMC is growing. Both traditional and contemporary worship services are seeing record attendance. Our children and youth programs are bursting at the seams. Our church campus is extremely hard to navigate for visitors.
Research shows that at 80% capacity people begin to turn away. Both our traditional and our contemporary worship spaces are seeing attendance reaching and often surpassing 80% capacity. People are turning away. When we meet as an entire church, the gym is not adequate to hold a worship service to the standards of LSUMC.
With our children and youth programs’ great success, the church campus struggles to meet these ministries needs. When the children and youth participate in worship, neither the sanctuary nor the fellowship hall are suitable.
We lack the important connecting space that would be typical of a healthy church. Both existing members and new families would benefit from a space that would provide weeklong connections as well as a welcoming space on Sundays. The current configuration of our campus seems lacking in terms of a “front door.”
Administrative space is being taken over by the need for other expanded program space on our campus; handbells are the best example. There is the desire to "cluster" like program spaces to provide better access and enhance use. Examples include adult Sunday school and youth space.
The Building Committee has partnered with the Aspen Group, Felder & Associates and Horizons Stewardship to create a plan that will address the needs of our facilities and enable us to grow our ministries and outreach in the community. Specifically, the plan provides: expanding the sanctuary to increase capacity for Sunday worship, renovating the gym to accommodate all children and youth activities, act as a primary space for contemporary worship, as well as provide a unified space for church events, and lastly create a connecting space for current members and those visiting our church campus.
Throughout this process, the Building Committee and its partners have prayerfully listened for God's voice and direction to guide us. We have taken the time to gather input and adequately plan. We want LSUMC to continue to provide a Christian foundation for children and youth while also being a spiritual leader for adults and families. We want our church to be able to serve all of its ministries to the fullest without having to limit our programs and outreach. We feel now is the time to boldly address our needs. The church will be holding information sessions about its plans to build. The building committee welcomes your insight. Gary and William hold an open door policy and would love to have conversations about the church's future. Through prayer, faith, sacrifice, gratitude, and giving, it is a time to build.