In 2005, members of Statesboro's Temple Baptist Church voted unanimously to sell their property to Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Little did they know construction delays on their new church would force them to spend about 30 months in the steel building that was originally their gym.
But that is all about to end with the recent completion of the new Temple Baptist Church on Northside Drive. Members are anticipating their church’s rebirth and a renewal of religious participation. They agree that the new facility was worth the wait.
“Down in the old building we didn’t have room for our choir or Sunday school,” said Jim Creel, who has been Temple Baptist’s pastor for 22 years, “That’s why we’re so excited about the new building; we can have all the activities again.”
Aside from severely trying the congregation’s patience, the old location prevented from reaching out to the community and kept them from holding normal church services. They had no classrooms or social hall, and the building was hard for the elderly to access.
“The waiting was the hardest part,” said congregation member Richard Price, “We were unable to do almost anything in our old facility, but I guess the world really works on God’s schedule, not ours.”
Patience has paid off. The new church, constructed by Beco church builders. is spacious and functional. Moveable walls can be used to section off the social hall into multiple classrooms and there is what some call a luxurious nursery.
Creel said the highlight of Temple Baptist’s new building is its sanctuary, which features an exposed-wood ceiling, state-of-the-art acoustics, a baby-grand piano and a cross that lights up.
“We wanted it to be comfortable, practical, useable and of course, very attractive,” Creel said.
The new facility can hold up to 400 people, a vast improvement for Temple’s congregation of 70. Only 40 people could fit into the church’s temporary building, so for almost two years, the church has been unable to expand. Members expect this to change in coming months
“We want to use the new facility as a tool to grow and do more for God,” Price said.
Pastor Creel believes the new location will help the church do more to contribute to its surrounding community.
“We want to be a service and a blessing to the city of Statesboro,” Creel said, “We offer a complete spiritual education and we hope in time to really expand in all areas.”
Members of the congregation see their new church as a welcome change.
“I think the new church will be like a breath of fresh air,” said congregation member David Thompson, “I think it will breathe some new life into the folks here.”
Temple Baptist is holding a Celebration Service and Open House on June 10th. The service will begin at 10 a.m. and will feature several guest singers. The Open House will last from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. Anyone who is curious about the congregation or the new building is welcome to attend, Creel said.
“It’s not special invitation,” said Thompson, “We’ll be glad to have anybody who wants to come."