With a growing congregation, Second needed a new campus. The 77-acre campus features a technology-rich, state-of-the-art church that includes “worship in the round” to give all church-goers great views from any angle. The design was inspired by Texas vernacular, using natural limestone and exposed wood to create a welcoming environment.
WFM Staff · September 26, 2017
A Growing Campus Second Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the nation, needed to expand to meet its ever-growing congregation.
The church is home to over 75,000 members at six campuses around Houston, Texas. The Second Baptist Cypress campus provides “worship in the round” with seating up to 4,500 people.
One Connected Community To achieve the church’s goal of making “every seat a great seat” and reinforcing the congregation as one connected community, the main worship sanctuary is a full 360 degrees.
Worshippers engage with the presenters and each other, enjoying the service from any angle.
Worshipping in the round provides strong visual connection, allowing leaders to better gauge members’ response. The ceiling design abstracts stained glass, using acoustical panels to enhance the spoken word, live music and support congregational singing.
Placing a Priority on Technology
In addition to worshipping in the round, state-of-the-art technology enhances members’ experience. Second Baptist Church is known for their ability to deliver great sermons, celebrations and presentations. High quality delivery was a requirement, so the design team incorporated an impressive sound system with video screens placed evenly above the presenter, allowing everyone to visually connect with the stage. LED lights over the audience can be lowered to a decreased light output, while the stage has its own lighting system.
The ceiling was designed with a high-level finish, allowing colored lighting to create custom scenes and evoke different experiences. Similar to a black box theater, the church design provides maximum flexibility to enhance everything from their Sunday services to the elaborate Christmas and Easter celebration services.
Designing with a Texas Vernacular
Staying true to the church’s southern roots was at the core of the design process and one of the church’s primary goals. Second Baptist challenged the design team to find ways to connect visitors, new and existing members. Inspired by the “family front porch,” the entryway and lobby is open for communal gathering.
The lobby connects all the elements of the building; everyone passes through to worship or education. The design of the “front porch” lobby achieves Second Baptist’s objective of creating a place where guests can grab a cup of coffee and instantly be greeted by members or staff. A warm, welcoming and comfortable environment helped achieve Second’s goals with the use of exposed wood, reminiscent of typical Texas and southern-style architecture.
Creating a Street Presence
Visibility is a priority for most churches, so the design team created a “light beacon” featuring a glowing cross. The light beacon is both recognizable from the road and symbolic of a fireplace — the focal point of a traditional Southern home — as a way to continue the Texas vernacular the church desired. The design solution worked extremely well, serving as a recognizable feature for the church.
A Multi-Purpose Fountain Baptistery
The baptistery, usually found inside the worship space in many Baptist churches, was creatively located outdoors to be a focal point as a fountain. By bringing the baptistery outside, the design allows baptism celebrations to be surrounded by community and nature — evoking baptisms in the Jordan River.