Yet another multi-million dollar church goes up in the Bible Belt!
I don't know if this is the right forum for this type of story but I'm so disgusted I felt I had to share it with someone that would understand.I live in the heart of the Bible Belt unfortunately, Alabama. And while I don't have the stats for how many churches we have per capita down here, I do know that it seems like there are two on every corner. Now if you don't already know Alabama is one of the poorest states in the union and $14 million could do any number of beneficial things for the people of this state. However, down here that kind of money is repeatedly spent on building bigger and bigger churches. I got this story from The Birmingham News site on www.al.com :Church moves to 174-acre campus
Sunday, September 10, 2006
News staff writer
Word of Life Christian Center had humble beginnings on the back side of a Center Point strip mall near a burger joint."We were next to Krystal," founding Pastor Scott Webb said. "Our detractors gave us the nickname `Krystal Cathedral.'"That was December 1982. The church has come a long way since then.At 10 a.m. today, Word of Life will have its first service on its new $14 million, 174-acre campus on Derby Parkway, off Interstate 459 in northeast Birmingham. The 1,300-seat sanctuary will likely be filled, and hundreds of children will occupy the adjacent youth building.As they come in the main entrance, people will first encounter a bookstore and a coffee shop - dubbed "He-Brews" - run by a former Starbuck's manager.The nondenominational church, which has Pentecostal doctrine similar to the Assemblies of God, features a praise band and upbeat music in worship services."Our emphasis is the teaching of the word," said Webb. "The word is what changes people."Belief in gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially miraculous healing, have been a staple of the church's history."We've prayed for the sick ever since we started," Webb said. "Healing is part of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. When people learn about the redemptive promises of Jesus - not just going to heaven, but living life more abundantly - that attracts people. That gives people hope. Redemption begins now, not when you get to heaven."Two large video screens flank the stage. There are stadium-style seats and moveable chairs on the floor. The second phase of construction calls for a 3,500-seat sanctuary to be built. The current worship center would then be for multipurpose use.Maintaining respect:Webb always wears a suit and tie while preaching and frowns on the trend toward casual dress in church."It shows a lack of respect for God," he said. "I feel you should come to God with your best. You're in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You wouldn't go meet the president in cutoffs and flip-flops."Webb, who turned 54 on Tuesday, worked in construction and as a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy before leaving Birmingham to attend Rhema Bible College in Tulsa. He graduated in 1982 and returned to start the church.Word of Life is the only church Webb's ever been pastor of, and he doesn't envision retiring."He has vision; he's a good teacher of the word," said Trussville insurance agent Dave Porter, a retired Birmingham police officer who has attended the church for nearly 24 years including its time on the back side of a strip mall."We outgrew that and we went around to the storefront," Porter said.In 1987, Word of Life bought the former Huffman Assembly of God building, which seats 1,000. Word of Life had its last services there week.At first, the congregation was dwarfed by the Huffman building. "We were like a BB in a shoe box," said executive pastor and youth pastor David Webb, son of the pastor. "Every family had their own pew."But it grew quickly and soon filled. "We've been at capacity for 10 years," the elder Webb said.Walking trails:The new campus has so much land that the church plans walking trails. "It's going to be a beautiful natural park," Webb said.The church is one exit south of the busy U.S. 11 Trussville exit on I-459."Our church has grown steadily; it hasn't been overnight," said Pat McLean, one of the original church members. "There's something about you that doesn't want to grow, because you're afraid you won't know everybody."That's being selfish," he said. "Then we would defeat our purpose and not help the people out there who need help. If you've got something good you want to share it. That's what sets people free."McLean said she started attending the church as a single mother with three sons. "I had no self-confidence. I've grown from not having anything to being able to support my family. It's just believing the word. It's such a good foundation. I'm bolder and I know that I can do anything with God's help."McLean said the new campus won't erase her memories of the first worship space Word of Life occupied."When people would come through the drive-through at Krystal, their lights would shine in our sanctuary," McLean said. "We've come a long way."E-mail: [email protected] Word of Life, Page XX -- WORD OF LIFE:Pastor was Jeffco sheriff's deputyXX© 2006 The Birmingham News
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