Both contemporary and traditional services now housed in 1,500-seat sanctuary which features state of the art technology and
capability to convert to both worship styles with the touch of a few buttons
St. Andrew United Methodist Church, located at 5801 W. Plano Parkway in Plano, began new worship times for both contemporary and traditional services on April 8 in a newly renovated and adaptable sanctuary, with the capability to quickly convert between traditional and contemporary styles of worship. A Saturday evening traditional worship service takes place at 5:30 p.m.; a Sunday traditional service at 9:30 a.m.; and a Sunday contemporary service at 11 a.m. Additionally, the church has added a Sunday 9:30 a.m. contemporary service featuring both live and video messages in the Smith Worship Center. Construction is complete on the sanctuary renovation, which is the first phase of St. Andrew’s $16.5 million 30-year master expansion plan. The master plan will help St. Andrew to accommodate a growing congregation in the fast-growing region of Collin County.
In the fall of 2016, St. Andrew held a town hall meeting announcing that attendance was spiking, and with the growth projections of Plano and Collin County areas, worship in the church’s contemporary service would be capped within the year. In addition to worship, other areas within the church, including missions, children, youth, and parking, were facing growing pains.
According to Stephen M. Sims, senior planner, City of Plano, “The city’s January 1, 2018, population estimate is 279,700 people, and the city could reach 300,000 by 2030. According to the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Collin County had a January 1, 2017, estimate of 932,530 people with a projected population of 1.6 million people by 2040.”
“This is not an ‘if you build it, they will come’ situation,” said Forrest Pool, chief operating officer at St. Andrew. “It’s a ‘they are coming, so we better build it’ situation.”
In the spring of 2017, St. Andrew UMC launched a capital campaign called ChurchOne to fund as much as possible of a proposed 30-year master plan. The master plan reflects the church’s ongoing ministry strategy, centered on four facets of church life: worship, connect, serve, and give. ChurchOne resulted in $16.5 million in pledges, which will enable a proposed building and campus renovation.
Worship, the focus of the first phase of the master plan, is a $6.5 million renovation of the church’s sanctuary, which has a capacity of 1,500. Two current contemporary services, located in Smith Worship Center, experienced a 17 percent increase in worship attendance in 2017 and now average over 800 weekly in a limited 540-seat space.
“St. Andrew UMC has a pace of growth in average worship attendance now among the top one percent of all United Methodist Churches in America,” said Robert Hasley, senior pastor. “With our present pace of growth in contemporary worship, we have to find a way to accommodate people seeking this worship style. Rather than adding seats or tearing down the existing space and building a larger one, maximizing the potential of our beautiful sanctuary became a smart and viable option. After careful study and planning, it was determined that after some renovations and adjustments, worship could switch from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button in a space that will allow us to grow with the community.”
Renovations in the sanctuary include new lighting, video, and sound systems, with two new 12’ by 20’ HD LED side screens; a new 21’ by 39’ LED center screen that drops down in front of the choir loft as the backdrop for the band for contemporary services; four new projectors in the ceiling, adding environmental projection; and an updated video production room with new routers, switchers, and control surfaces to allow more engaging and high quality content for web and screens. An additional manned camera has also been added to allow for more shots of events on stage to better capture content. To improve tone and quality, the audio system has been upgraded to a line array system with subwoofers and acoustical treatment has been added to reduce hard surfaces in the room. Additionally, wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, and connections are now upgraded. Multiple overhead lighting fixtures have also been changed to LED fixtures allowing less energy to power, producing less heat, and giving the option of color changes. New moving lights on the stage and ceiling will also allow for more visual texture.
“These upgrades play a major role in this unique and creative plan that will enhance both worship styles and help them to grow,” said Arthur Jones, senior associate pastor. “As beautiful as our sanctuary is, there were needs for technical and sound improvements, which are now complete and will enhance the worship experience in both services. We expect to quickly reach over 1,000 people in each worship style setting and still have room for growth.”
St. Andrew is committed to the growth of both worship styles.
“We believe that most people worship based upon the style of their watermark moment of faith,” added Rev. Jones. “If you grew up enjoying the choir and hearing the organ, that is typically where you are the most comfortable, but if you grew up with a more casual and contemporary worship experience, you are drawn to worship that way. Either way, St. Andrew knows for at least the next 30 years, we will have people interested in both.”
The second phase of the capital campaign, expected to launch summer 2018, will include improved areas for students, children, and parking, as well as a dedicated missions wing with numerous enhancements for The Storehouse of Collin County – the umbrella of services providing short-term assistance and long-term transformation to residents of Collin County in need. The Storehouse includes Seven Loaves, a food pantry; Joseph’s Coat, a clothing closet; and Project Hope, a mentoring program supporting women in crisis.
“St. Andrew, founded 31 years ago, exists to help people become passionate servants of Jesus Christ,” added Rev. Hasley. “Like our namesake Andrew the Apostle, we’re a community that loves to invite others to Jesus. As we live out our calling to worship, connect, serve, and give, we’re witnessing God move through our community in remarkable ways. If you are looking for a church home, we invite you to come and experience our new worship offerings and the community we call St. Andrew. We remain committed to both tradition and innovation, and we are a church that will stand side by side with you throughout your joys and your struggles. Join us!”
Visit www.standrewumc.org; call 972-380-8001.