In my previous blog posts, I’ve talked about why we’re launching a multi-campus model at First Alliance Church (FAC). FAC Southwest will be a new location as we become one church in multiple locations, offering a weekend service at Glenmore Christian Academy (GCA), 16520 24 Street SW.
So what will the Southwest campus look like, and why choose to be involved? Let’s start with the location. Our target area since early in the process has been the southwest quadrant of the city. We have had our sights set on south of Fish Creek Park and west of Macleod Trail. This area is becoming one of the fastest-growing areas of Calgary, with 7 existing communities and 5 brand new ones in various stages of building and development. GCA is located in Bridlewood, one of the existing communities in this quadrant. The school was started by FAC in 1980 and was launched out into this part of Calgary when there was very little out there but countryside. Today the city has grown around the school into an established community and will host our first campus of FAC. It feels like we’re coming full circle!
A school makes an excellent location for a church campus. It offers plenty of space for meeting and gathering. GCA is both an elementary and a junior high school. Because this building is 2 schools in 1, we have the opportunity to utilize larger gathering areas like the cafeteria, double gyms, and theatre for both adults and children. The school houses a 535-seat theatre (see below) for our Sunday service with wheelchair-accessible seating and a large stage area.
In keeping with our current services at the FAC Deerfoot campus, we’ll be able to offer live elements including worship in the service. The message will be delivered both live and, on certain weekends, on video. Because we’re 1 church we’ll have the opportunity to not only have me speak, as the Southwest Campus Pastor, but have Pastor James speak live once a month as well. We’re confident that those attending FAC Southwest will be part of a high-calibre service every Sunday morning at 11:15 am beginning this September.
Beyond the Sunday Service
DiscoveryLand and Grade 5&6 will also offer the same quality families have come to expect at the Deerfoot campus, with teaching, worship, small groups, games, and activities offered every Sunday at FAC Southwest for Preschool through Grade 6. Kids will have room to connect, explore, and grow in creative spaces with room to invite friends into the FAC family. “We’re looking forward to providing a wonderful place for kids and families at the Southwest campus. God has already been calling some of our excellent and experienced volunteers to serve this campus, and we’re confident that kids will love coming to church at FAC Southwest!” offers Crystal Sylvester, Children’s Ministry Pastor.
Grade 5&6 Pastor Spencer Young adds, “I’m excited that our Southwest campus will create even more opportunities for preteens to find safe community, grow in their faith, and ask questions that will help them draw closer to God.”
Junior high and senior high students will be able to connect with student leaders every weekend, with the Student Ministries pastors also present on various weekends. As they meet with students before and after each service they’ll have the opportunity to invite them to our all-campus youth nights on Wednesdays at the Deerfoot campus.
All other FAC programs and events will bring the campuses together weeknights at the Deerfoot campus, reminding us that we’re 1 church gathering in different locations. The exception to this will be Alpha; as we strive to connect with friends and neighbours and introduce them to Jesus, we want them to be able to explore the basics of the Christian faith together in their own neighbourhood, so we’ll offer Alpha in the Southwest this fall in addition to FAC Deerfoot.
Sounds Amazing, Right?
It will be amazing. But how do we do all this in a facility where we can’t stay permanently set up all the time?
It requires a lot of creativity and thinking outside the box. Everything we offer and do at the Southwest campus must be completely portable by truck and trailer and be easily set up and torn down each week. We’ll have teams of people who come early each weekend, unload all the equipment, and move it into the various spaces we’ll be using. All of this requires the right equipment, including containers on wheels that can easily be moved in and out of the school. These containers will be custom-built to easily accommodate all the equipment and supplies needed, keeping everything safe while travelling over different terrain. They’ll roll into separate areas of the school depending on ministry and each piece of equipment will be unpacked easily from (and later repacked into) its very own protective compartment in the container. It really is extraordinary to see these completed containers packed with a specific space for everything including screens, projectors, sound equipment, toys, tables, and more … And, if that isn’t amazing enough, how much more amazing is it to watch it all come out and be set up to create visually appealing settings for God to meet with His people each weekend.
Once all these things are set up, then the serving teams will step in each weekend:
- FAC Southwest will have a team of greeters ready to welcome people.
- Next Step hosts will help new people discover what’s next on their journey or get them involved by serving.
- DiscoveryLand and Grade 5&6 volunteers will ensure everything is ready to welcome kids.
- Tech teams will ensure everything runs smoothly for the service including sound, projections, and lighting. Worship teams will lead and prayer teams will pray for people.
Maybe you’re wondering, “Why would anyone sign up for this?” It does seem like a tremendous amount of work. Without negating the truth that yes, it is, there are many benefits to having a church in your neighbourhood. Here is what one of our invested couples, Brent and Rhea Davies, had to say:
“We’ve been attending First Alliance Church for just over 5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We love the teaching from the pulpit and the worship. When the Southwest campus was first announced my husband and I thought about going as we live in Midnapore and it’s closer to our home – but we are also going for the community. Part of being at the Deerfoot campus is that you can hide in the crowd. We need to be involved and challenged. The fact that the music and the message will be an extension of the Deerfoot campus will make it feel like we are still part of FAC with the benefits of an atmosphere where, ‘everybody knows your name!’ That’s important to us.”
We all have a desire to be known and to be part of something bigger than ourselves. I love that Brent and Rhea recognize this and are stepping out, maybe beyond their comfort zone, to get involved and to get to know others better. That atmosphere of getting to know others is exactly what we want to build at the Southwest campus. The ability to meet new people who are moving into these communities and invite them in and get them connected is so important. We believe that each of these people matter to God.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Every person is known and loved by God and it’s important for us as believers in Him to step out, even when it’s hard. We need to reach out, love and serve others, and introduce them to the God who loves them. It’s not always comfortable and often not easy but in the end it is so worth it! To bring together God’s people to worship, learn, and grow together is worth all the effort it will take to launch this campus. Because after all, it’s all for Jesus!
Pastor Jeff Marshall
Southwest Campus Pastor
Email / 403-723-6392
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