First Baptist Dallas Contributes to Downtown Resurrection of Ninth-Largest U.S. City with Grand Opening of $130 Million Campus Easter Sunday
Historic congregation takes leap of both faith and fact to complete largest Protestant church building campaign in modern history
DALLAS, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — First Baptist Church of Dallas, led by nationally known pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress, celebrated the fact of the resurrection of Jesus and investment of their faith in the revitalization of downtown Dallas yesterday, with the grand opening of a new $130 million campus – the largest Protestant church building campaign in modern history.
More than 7,300 individuals attended two inaugural services in the 3,000-seat Worship Center as well as overflow areas to experience the new campus for the first time.
“We rejoice in the opening of our new campus, but the reason we are here today is to celebrate our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Jeffress in welcoming the congregation to the new facility.
Located in the heart of downtown Dallas since 1868, First Baptist Dallas has witnessed the surrounding urban city blocks of one of the biggest, most prominent cities in the U.S. remain decades behind other major cities in development.
Despite the popular trend among many churches to acquire and retrofit unused buildings or open smaller, satellite campuses in the suburbs, First Baptist Dallas went against the grain in order to continue to serve the residents, business community and guests of Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex.
The church took a leap of faith making a monumental financial commitment in 2009, during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, by asking members to help raise $130 million for the new facility, which they accepted. In 2010, six of the church’s outdated buildings sitting on five city blocks were imploded and demolished, making way for new construction.
The opening of the 500,000-square-foot campus will aid in the restoration and resurrection of downtown Dallas by encouraging a thriving urban setting, which has already quadrupled its resident population over the past five years since this project began.
“Our belief in the resurrection is not based on fable, fiction or myth, but on the truthfulness of Jesus Christ Himself. What appeared to be a tragedy was a prelude to eternal triumph,” Dr. Jeffress said during the Easter worship service. “The people of First Dallas didn’t commit $130 million to recreate this campus out of just their faith alone, but out of the fact that their lives have been permanently recreated and reconciled to God, by death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.”
During today’s inaugural service, Dr. Jeffress preached on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a means of saving the world. He also spoke on how First Baptist Dallas will follow Jesus and his example by continuing to preach bold biblical truths.
“The Bible says we are all on the sea of life, with no lights to guide us,” Dr. Jeffress concluded in his sermon. “The only light that can lead us home is the light of the resurrected Christ. Through this new campus we have built, we trust that many Metroplex residents and visitors will be drawn to that light and find new life and a new beginning.”
During the invitation at the end of the services, more than 75 individuals came down to the altar to make a decision for Christ and join the church. “It has been our prayer that God would use this campus as a tool to bring people to Christ, and He has answered that prayer,” Jeffress said.
The new First Baptist Dallas campus includes the latest features and technological advances for any church, providing a unique worship experience and ministry opportunities.
The 3,000-seat Worship Center sits beside the 122-year-old historic sanctuary. During this morning’s services, a dramatic film of Jesus’ resurrection was the first image viewed on the 150-foot-wide IMAX-quality video wall stretching more than two-thirds the width of the Worship Center. Additionally, wood bands along the surrounding walls containing LED strips programmed to millions of different colors, created dramatic ambient lighting to supplement and enhance the video, music and messages of the service.
Attendees entering the Worship Center passed by a high-impact cross-tower and fountain, featuring a stainless steel cross atop a pedestal rising 68 feet high and choreographed fountain jets accompanied by an original score of Christian hymns.
Connected to the Worship Center via a glass sky bridge is the five-story Horner Family Center, with educational space for children birth through high school, and a parking garage, providing easy access for young families attending worship.
On April 7, First Baptist Dallas will host Dr. David Jeremiah for Dedication Sunday; Texas Governor Rick Perry is also scheduled to attend. For more information, visit http://www.FirstDallas.org.
Editor’s Note: For additional media information, including downloadable photos and videos, visit http://www.firstdallas.org/pressroom.