The Institute for Creation Research partners with ministries all around the world. But it recently had the opportunity to lend part of its Dallas campus to local Fellowship Church in nearby Grapevine, Texas, as the church prepared its children's ministry buildings for their annual facelift.
Fellowship Church's elementary pastor, Mitch Corn, recently gave ICR staff a tour of church facilities. "We teach [the kids] to be worshippers and to fall in love with the church," he said. The elaborate sets and décor tie in to the curriculum and are designed to engage the children's interest.
"Our senior pastor, Ed Young, says that Las Vegas has nothing to say but knows how to say it. The church has everything to say but struggles trying to say it," Corn said. By making church fun, children will want to keep coming back, and may invite their friends to join them. And when the kids in those families start demanding to come to church, then their parents and siblings might follow.
The 80,000-square-foot children's wing undergoes a yearly transformation around the fourth of July weekend to be ready in time for the church to launch its annual VBS program called Adventure Weekend. The event expects to attract approximately 4,000 kids, from 4-year-olds to fifth graders, from Fellowship Church's four satellite campuses and the surrounding communities.
This year's theme, Backstage Blast, will feature behind-the-scenes activities to see what goes into making a movie, from performing to creating sound effects. Mike Johnson, children's pastor at Fellowship Church for the past 15 years, says the event is a big outreach effort to get kids to bring their friends, especially those who don't go to church.
It all happens with the assistance of numerous talented volunteers. Most of the graphics plastered on the hall and classroom walls were designed by an artist from Pixar Animation Studios in California. Professional designers and architects who are members of the church engineer the designs, and volunteers from all walks of life aid in the actual construction.
But before all the sets can be assembled, many of the individual pieces must be prepped off-campus as early as April. This used to happen in volunteers' garages, but that posed problems with quality and timing. The church found a solution temporarily with a warehouse where everything could be done under one roof.
"We used to have a warehouse that was an old Minyard's," Corn said. "We had it for two years. But then it got leased." Rather than revert to volunteers' garages again, the church had to look for another place. This year, that place turned out to be the ICR facility we call Building C.
"We found out about ICR through a member. We contacted Dr. [Henry Morris III], and we worked it out to use [Building C]. It was a big blessing," Corn said.
The beauty of the body of Christ is that it is not bound to one particular church or one specific ministry. All the parts work together to further God's kingdom, and this year, ICR was blessed to lend a hand in helping Fellowship Church "say everything" to the next generation of believers.
*Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor.
Cite this article: Dao, C. 2008. New Campus Supports Local Church Initiative. Acts & Facts. 37 (8): 9.