First Baptist Church of Dallas, led by nationally known pastor Robert Jeffress, will complete what is believed to be the largest church building campaign in modern history, opening a new state-of-the-art $130 million campus on Easter Sunday, March 31.
"At a time when suburban megachurches are the norm and research shows that many people no longer feel the Church is relevant, First Baptist is committed to the Bible and to downtown Dallas," said Jeffress. "People are hungry, not for religion, but for the Word of God. First Baptist Dallas is built on the Bible, and because of that, we are growing."
This growth prompted First Baptist Dallas to embark on a building campaign in 2009, during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Though the popular trend among many churches is to acquire and retrofit unused buildings or open smaller, satellite campuses in the suburbs, First Baptist chose to remain in the heart of Dallas—a place where it has been located since its founding in 1868—in order to continue to serve the residents, business community and guests of Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex.
The new First Baptist campus is part of an extensive and impressive ongoing revitalization of downtown Dallas, following the recent opening of several multimillion-dollar museums, theaters and parks.
"For more than 140 years—through cycles of both decline and growth—First Baptist has been steadfastly committed to the city of Dallas," Jeffress said. "That dedication continues through this contribution of what we believe is the finest facility in the heart of downtown—a concert hall of worship that truly represents, and is dedicated to, the greatness of God."
The new campus highlights the landmark sanctuary alongside a new 3,000-seat Worship Center, which includes the latest high-tech features, such as a 150-foot-wide viewing screen. It stretches nearly two-thirds across the room and consists of seven high-definition projectors blended together, making it one of the largest viewing screens in any church in the world.
Connected to the Worship Center, via a glass sky bridge, is the five-story Horner Family Center, featuring children's and youth classrooms, a gymnasium and three age-appropriate indoor playgrounds, and a seven-story parking garage. In addition, a high-impact cross tower and fountain are surrounded by three-quarters of an acre of public community space.
The new 500,000-square-foot campus, designed by the innovative Dallas-based architecture firm, The Beck Group, is united in function and design and easily identifiable as an iconic church. The entire campus is expected to attain silver certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.
Jeffress has built on First Baptist's reputation as a beacon of Bible teaching, while aggressively working to improve its future legacy in Dallas. Under his leadership, First Baptist—which was once seen as a dying church—is now experiencing growth and embarking on a new beginning.
First Baptist will celebrate the grand opening of the new campus beginning Sunday, March 24, with the lighting of the cross tower and fountain. On Sunday, March 31, the church will hold two morning services in the new Worship Center.