A new 6,000-square-foot lobby at Canvas Church will open the weekend of Jan. 16 and 17, capping a $3 million remodeling and rebranding of the church.
With weekend attendance now averaging 2,200 people, finding more space to accommodate church-goers became a necessity, lead pastor Kevin Geer said.
“The [existing] lobbies were shoulder to shoulder,” he said. “We’ve quadrupled attendance in the last three years.”
The spacious new lobby features four living-room areas, each with a fireplace, where both meetings and dinners can be staged. The exterior of the building addition features an impressive bank of glass panels designed by CTA Architects Engineers. A fire pit and large sign depicting the Canvas Church logo complete the campus transformation. John Dyck was the general contractor for the addition.
Incidentally, Glenn Dyck was the original contractor who built Christian Center, Geer said. And with John Dyck’s son, Justin, helping on the lobby addition, the church construction has spanned three generations of the Dyck family.
A bigger lobby was part of the design plan when the church, formerly known as Christian Center, expanded a number of years ago, but it was sidelined two different times when money ran short. This time there was no turning back, Geer said.
Three special offerings were taken to pay for the lobby and a portion was financed through Glacier Bank.
The lobby is the final piece of the campus build-out. Future growth will include satellite church campuses in other locations.
Church growth continues on an upward trajectory.
“We’re discussing adding a third service on Sunday,” Geer said. “While we have a ton of young people, we also have a ton of multigenerational families. It’s gone beyond anything we could’ve imagined.”
Christmas Eve attendance topped 2,700.
Worship pastor Jon Endreson said he believes people are attracted to Canvas Church because it delivers a consistent, relevant message, has “awesome” music and is family-minded.
Geer added: “We’re friendly. That’s the No. 1 thing. We’re welcoming and down to earth.”
Aligning the teaching curriculum so that children, teens and adults are all hearing the same message on the same Sunday has been very appealing to parishioners.
“It speaks to every generation,” Geer said.
The rebranding effort began about three years ago, not long after Geer began his pastoral duties at the church and saw the need for rejuvenation. Attendance had dropped from a high of 1,500 about 15 years ago to around 550 per Sunday.
Services were expanded to include a Saturday evening service and a “Softer Sundays” traditional gathering that features hymn-singing and a video of Geer preaching.
Encuentro, a Spanish service, is offered at 11:15 a.m. every Sunday in the lower auditorium.
A new session for junior-high students is offered during the same time slot at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.
As the church leadership team looks to the future, community outreach is a big component of the mission.
“In 2016 we want to become part of the fabric of the community,” Geer said. “We want to go out and help. If we want to bless our community,” it’s reaching beyond the confines of a church building.
Sixty volunteers recently signed up to be “lunch buddies” at Elrod and Hedges elementary schools.
Another upcoming ministry is training for first responders in crisis situations that affect church members.
One thing Canvas Church isn’t lacking is volunteer power.
“We don’t have volunteer shortages,” Geer said. “We don’t turn anyone away. We find ways for everyone to be involved ... we are the ‘we’ church. It’s not the pastors, it’s the people.”
Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at email@example.com.
The new sign is ready to be installed at the Canvas Church.