Hope Community Church to undergo $2.1 million expansionPublished 9:04am Wednesday, April 2, 2014
When Hope Community Church first opened its doors in the spring of 1999, it had a congregation of just nine people that met at a house on the south side of Niles.
Almost 15 years later, Hope’s flock has grown to well over 600 members who meet at the church’s current steel-sided structure at 2390 Lake St. in Niles.
To accommodate its growing membership, Hope Community Church will be spending $2.1 million on a 30,000 square-foot addition, including a 1,040-seat sanctuary and an expansion to its children’s wing.
Senior pastor Mike Smith, who has been with Hope since the beginning, attributes the growth to God and the church’s priority of connecting with the community.
“If the community needs you, you will always be around,” Smith said. “If they don’t, you become irrelevant and you go away.”
Smith also said they’ve tried to keep the church innovative over the years, including changing the music and format of services. The church has also gone from offering one sevice to three, including a Saturday service.
“That is now outgrowing our first service on Sunday,” he said. “I think that’s part of it — giving people options and keeping it fresh. You have to keep the momentum going and keep people excited. Once you lose it, it is so hard to get back.”
The church will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13.
Hope Community Church has been at its Lake Street location since 2003. This expansion will be the first large project since the church added a west wing in 2005.
In January, Hope members approved the building committee to pursue financing for the new addition. It will include a new 1,040 seat, 30,000 square-foot sanctuary, three new classrooms, additional restrooms, a large foyer, coffee fellowship area and an expanded parking lot.
Smith said the expansion would alleviate overcrowding in classrooms and the sanctuary.
“This building is built for a church of about 300,” he said. “Right now we are running 629 last week.”
The project will be paid for with donations and a mortgage.
Construction is expected to last nine months. The general contractor is Ancon Construction, of Elkhart, Ind.
Smith doesn’t expect any disruption of services during construction.
“I think it’s the builder in me. I always like to see things moving, growing or changing,” Smith said. “There’s got to be some growth somewhere. This is physical growth, but we’ve had over 1,000 people make decisions for Christ in this church. That is just in the last 11 years. That’s what we are excited about.”
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