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SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH by NEWTONSTEIN at MINISTERS-BEST-FRIEND.com

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"Mind-boggling" is how Southeast Christian Church senior minister Dave Stone describes the amount of real estate under roof on the megachurch's 110-acre campus, located near the Interstate 64-Blankenbaker Parkway interchange.

When a nearly $11 million, 75,000-square-foot youth ministry and services building is completed in 2008, Southeast will have more than 1 million square feet of building space -- about the same amount as the Kentucky Exposition Center.

A spring groundbreaking is planned for the new center.

It will join Southeast Christian's 656,000-square-foot main facility, which houses its sanctuary, chapel, elementary and preschool-age religious education programs, and libraries, and the church's existing 120,000-square-foot youth and activities building.

A newly constructed, $20 million, 150,000-square-foot administration and office building called the Ministry Resource Center also is located on Southeast's campus. The four-story building was completed in October and now houses about 80 percent of the church's 300 employees, Stone said.

The Ministry Resource Center and the planned youth facility are products of Southeast's latest and largest-ever capital campaign, called "Making Room for More."

The $30 million fund drive was announced in 2002 and has surpassed its goal, drawing $35 million in pledges.

Of that amount, 96 percent of the money has been collected, according to Stone.

"People have been very generous with this project," he said. "I think that there's a high level of trust. They know that we're going to try to make wise decisions and be good stewards" of their money.

Renovation work creating classroom space In addition to capital construction, the Making Room for More campaign earmarked $3.6 million to assist smaller area churches that hold the same beliefs as Southeast, Stone said.

A $3 million interest-free loan program was established to help congregations with a variety of construction and programming expenses, he explained, and $600,000 in "harvest grants" were awarded for specific church ministries.

The remainder of the money raised by the campaign -- about $1 million -- is being used to convert space on the second floor of Southeast's main sanctuary building into an area for classrooms, Bible study and a 200-seat theater.

The space formerly housed offices and was vacated when the staff members moved into the Ministry Resource Center.

Renovation work is under way and is scheduled to be finished early next year.

Satellite campuses planned With the completion of the Making Room for More initiative, Southeast's Blankenbaker Parkway campus will be largely completed, Stone said.

Then, the church plans to look for expansion opportunities in remote locations.

Southeast draws nearly 19,000 people to worship services each weekend and is ranked by attendance as one of the top 10 churches in the United States, according to the Connecticut-based Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Stone said that many Southeast members and their guests have lengthy commutes to and from church.

For that reason, officials are beginning to scout locations for satellite campuses in such places as Southern Indiana, Bullitt County and Oldham County.

"What we're trying to do is reach the people who are driving 20 to 25 minutes or more to come to church," Stone said.

This article by American City Business Journals, Inc. and its licensors. © 2009 All rights reserved.





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