Eastview Christian Church is a growing congregation in Normal, Illinois. Responding to the need for more age appropriate venues for children and youth, the church embarked upon an expansion and renovation project to improve worship, teaching and recreational spaces for preschool through senior high students.
WFM Staff · October 1, 2016
Nearly 20 years ago, Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois, had a growing attendance of 1,500 each Sunday. They purchased a 95-acre site with a vision to build a facility to house 7,500 attendees. With the future in mind and a goal to make an even larger impact on their community, they developed not only a building to meet their current needs, but also a long-term master plan for expansion.
“Master planning is about the church’s vision for today and the future,” explains Mark Warren, Executive Pastor, Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois. “When a church embarks on a new master plan, whether it is at an existing campus or a new location, you must have clearly defined priorities for where God is leading you and where you want to go.”
Youth Expansion and Renovation (Eastview Christian Church)
Project Size: 2001+ seats
Completion Date: July 15, 2015
While the plan has evolved over the years, it put Eastview in a position to quickly respond to increased attendance and changing congregational needs. Currently, over 6,000 people attend Sunday services. Fortunately, the original worship center was envisioned with the future in mind. The original building has been complemented by spaces used by the congregation and the surrounding community, including cafés, social spaces, and recreational spaces.
As the church continued to grow they saw the need for more dynamic environments for children and youth. The response was an expansion and renovation project to improve their worship, teaching and recreational venues. First, they went through an internal process to clearly identify who they are as a church and what their core values are. They are a FEARLESS church of Christ followers whose RIDICULOUS love and DANGEROUS witness are IRRESISTIBLE. It was our task, together with the church staff, to come up with a master plan and a design that could embody those words and compel the buildings visitors to become followers of Christ.
The addition and redesign of spaces for birth through elementary school age children allows for worship and small group activities in age appropriate venues. The Neighborhood environment for preschool through 1st grade was expanded to allow for additional small group activity space. With the expansion we were able to include some large windows to add much needed natural light for the young kids. The Treehouse, the space for 2nd and 3rd grade students, was enlarged and updated with a new stage that includes an interactive clubhouse and full scale trees (complete with tire swing!) to enhance the theme of the environment. An 86-foot wide wall mural provides the backdrop which helps make the room welcoming and more authentic.
The Foundry is the environment designed for 4th and 5th graders. This 2-story space features amphitheater-like seating for group ministry as well as semi-private booths lining the room on both floors that are used for small group discussions. The steampunk theme is carried throughout the space with the giant gears found on the ceiling, floor and walls. The light fixtures and furnishings complement the style and add to the student’s engagement of the space.
A new multi-purpose gymnasium provides a worship space for junior high youth as well as a multi-court configuration for their sports ministry. A built-in stage allows for quick setup of youth ministry events. The stage can just as easily be closed off to convert the space into a functional gymnasium without the worry of damaging the equipment used during worship settings.
The 26,000 sf gymnasium can be configured into four separate basketball courts. This space has allowed the church to host youth basketball programs on the weekends, offering another opportunity to extend the reach of the church and serve the local community. We needed this gym to have a very youthful and urban feel, so we used lots of grays and bright pops of color.
The existing gym was redesigned for worship, performance and gathering for senior high youth. The room was designed to have a “House of Blues” feel that would appeal to both the youth and adults in the congregation. The Sanctuary utilizes wood textures, exposed brick throughout and salvaged pews in the balcony to give a nostalgic quality in a perfect blend of old and new.
This space has provided the members of the church with a much needed venue for weddings. The layout of the room creates a more intimate setting for weddings and other types of ceremonies.
This project also included a 13,000 sf addition to the existing atrium to accommodate the current growth at Eastview Christian Church. This atrium redesign included a new information center, cafe, additional seating areas, and a water feature.
This addition allowed for the incorporation of their core convictions in some large environmental graphics. The new entry gives the visitor a more hospitable and welcoming feel with the use of the warm colors, stone, and the sound of water. This space was named “The Well,” and it encourages people to gather and fellowship together, making everyone feel connected through Christ.