God is faithful. He has and continues to bless us as a church as we seek His will to bring the good news and hope of the gospel to a broken world.
Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we didn’t give up on living out our mission of making an impact here and around the world. While we couldn’t necessarily travel globally over the last two years, we continued our mission through raising the funds to completely fund and begin building the Kenya Ministry Center, and more recently, made connections in Guatemala, funded the launch of a Compassion Children’s Center, and have taken our first trip to launch a long-term regional holistic plan to reach the people of the Tamahú region of Guatemala. When the world was shut down, we as a faith community didn’t stop loving people around the world; and here at home, we kept moving forward.
With these two projects launched, we know that locally — right here in our very own community — there’s another mission field that God has called us to as a church, and He has recently shown a light on some specific areas that we can impact in our community. We have seen a massive upturn in people seeking mental health care and pastoral counseling in the midst of crisis. Depression and anxiety are affecting everyone around us more than ever, and the stats are staggering. Right now, 28% of adults within a 10-mile radius of us, right here at Burnt Hickory, are dealing with severe anxiety. About 22% with serious depression, and fewer than 1 in 3 are able to receive biblically sound, consistent mental health care. One of this church’s long-term desires has been to meet this need, and we are now in a position to do this with an even greater capacity as the need had become exponentially greater.
We need to reach people where they are with compassion through pastoral counseling and practical care and are ready to expand our office facilities to establish the Mike Stephens Community Counseling Center here at Burnt Hickory.
Along with a growing need for biblical counseling, during and after the pandemic, we have seen that online church, while valuable, was not a substitute for being present and walking through life together in biblical community. To be honest, you can watch any number of worship services any Sunday right from your phone. However, what you can’t do remotely is be an active part of the body of Christ in worship and in small groups that lives out the daily rhythms of life together and who hold each other accountable and care for each other deeply.
Now, more than ever, we as believers need community and so do the people living right here in our neighborhoods around us. God has tasked us as a church to continually look for ways to provide this to as many around us as possible.
We are excited by the increasing crowds for worship and LifeGroup participation. Our staff and pastors have been watching and anticipating people-flow patterns and discovering everyone’s desire for time to catch up with other believers in common spaces. Also, we hold a desire to host more community-oriented and LifeGroup events. All of this, along with building preparation for future new worship space options, we feel the timing is right to add an additional community-focused flexible space to our campus here at Burnt Hickory. This space will also be able to serve as a major connector to facilitate future worship venue expansion.
This building project literally and figuratively will be a new front door for us to invite our community in, to come alongside the hurting and provide hope for the lost located right here around us, and will refresh the look of the front side of the building
Along with providing a space for Christian counseling through the Mike Stephens Community Counseling Center, we’ll gain almost 10,000 square feet of additional space to the welcome center around the Lower Auditorium as well as added LifeGroup rooms. We’ll benefit with flexible and beautiful space to host larger events as well as foster small groups and gatherings during the week. The plans also include new covered awnings for easier entry for both the front and side entrances during inclement weather. We’ve already begun reshaping our building through updating the Worship rehearsal and music academy spaces, Next Steps room, and reconfiguring the stage for greater capacity in worship space. This is only the beginning of more to come as God continues to bless us and we live out lives as the called-out church.
What It Will Look Like
We've scheduled 2 information sessions where you'll be able to get more details on the new lobby building expansion as well as ask any questions from the pastors.
Sunday, August 7 | 5 pm | Connections Room
Sunday, August 14 | 5 pm | Connections Room
What is the purpose of building a new foyer?
To provide a welcoming point for people to find community at Burnt Hickory, house our new counseling center providing healing and meeting the needs of those in our neighborhood, and to give future worship spaces a connection point to the current building. This space provides more opportunities for events and allows us to better serve the events of the community and will reflect the building styles of the neighborhood.
How much is this going to cost? Will the building campaign seek the entire amount, or will we phase the project cost?
Total cost will be between $4–4.5 million. Our goal is that God would lead the people of Burnt Hickory over the next year to give at least 2 million in over-and-beyond giving, and we will fund the rest out of reserves currently saved from the last few years of stewardship. We will have a pledge of affirmation and commitment on Sunday Morning, August 21.
Will we go into debt with a construction project?
No, Burnt Hickory will not acquire any financial debt for this construction project to expand the lobby and add the counseling center. This will be a fully-funded project.
Does this project add space for worship services?
While not directly impacting worship space now, it will provide the egress needed when we do update worship spaces in the future.
Are we using all our current space to its full potential?
Yes, every space in our facility is multifunctional and being used for practical ministry on a weekly basis. As the trajectory of growth continues, space in our building will only become more scarce. We are exploring every solution to maximize every square foot and are already adding seats in the lower auditorium through a stage reduction and additional space construction projects.
If this is phase 1, what does phase 2 look like, and when would we build that?
God continues to bless us with new folks joining us for worship each week and, based on the current growth projections, we’ll need to look to construct a purpose-built worship space that will seat 2200–2500 within the next 5–7 years. Our new lobby expansion will provide a dove-tail connection point for adding this space to the front of the building when the timing is right.
Will the building have a steeple?
Yes, the new foyer extension will have a prominent steeple and cross structure above the roofline. The new space will be a modern approach in architecture, but it will reflect Burnt Hickory as a faith community.
When will we begin, and when will the construction conclude?
With the approval from the church and funding, we’ll begin construction the week after Easter 2023 and look to conclude it by August 2023.
Will construction impact worship on Sundays?
Our Sunday Morning worship schedule will remain as is, and we’ll keep you up to date on any temporary entryway or parking obstructions you might encounter on Sunday mornings.
Why are we opening a counseling center?
We want to tangibly impact our community, and it’s one of the most prevalent and growing needs right now. The center would also serve Burnt Hickory members through pastoral, marriage, and family counseling.