Activating a bond: Lake Travis UMC consecrates new youth center
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 |
Lake Travis United Methodist Church has a new living room for its congregation, but couch potatoes will feel out of place.
The church celebrated the opening of its $4.5 million Ministry Activities Center with a consecration service Sunday morning that buzzed with energy from all ages.
A glow-in-the-dark puppet show, youth skits and music from a contemporary praise band highlighted the Lakeway area’s dynamic demographics that the church wants to serve now and welcome in the future.
The two-story, 15,000-square-foot activity center features a gym that also serves as a music and theater venue with a hideaway performance stage.
A recreation area with video games and a pool table adds to the space for youth that previously consisted of a basketball goal in the church’s parking lot.
Jason Cagle, LTUMC youth ministries director, said the center’s doors would be open for all segments of the church’s congregation.
“This is a place for everybody to come in and have fun,” Cagle said. “There are a lot of ministries and a lot of activities going on.”
In the last seven or eight years, area churches have responded with new facilities to serve an increasing number of new residents looking for church homes that can meet their needs and interests.
The Lakeway Church and Emmaus Catholic Church recently completed their children’s and activity centers.
“We’ve been noticing a lot of young families who are just hungry for a place for their kids,” Cagle said.
Before the center opened, space limitations were creating dangerous situations during LTUMC’s Sunday night ministry programs.
“We were so limited before as far as playing games because it was hazardous. Now, we have this free space to run around and just have big games and big gatherings,” Cagle said.
Two classrooms, a large meeting room and full-service kitchen add to the amenities.
As the center approached its March 31 move-in date, its classes bore the burden of intensified crowding and some students sat on floors.
“We have adequate classroom space. We have plenty of chairs and couches. Everyone is comfortable when they walk in. It’s not only a hangout environment but also a great place to learn and grow in their spiritual walk,” Cagle said.
Bishop Jim Dorff, who presides over the San Antonio area of the United Methodist Church, told congregation members at Sunday’s consecration that they formed the brick and mortar to a building that is still missing some components.
“This building is under construction now, and it always will be,” Dorff said. “You did not build this building for yourselves; you built this building for the people who are not a part of this church at this time. There are people out there that need to be fitted in to this congregation.”
Church leaders took the message to heart.
“We’ve built this beautiful facility, but what is our faithful stewardship of it? How do we use it most effectively as a place that makes a difference in the community and that touches many lives?” Senior Pastor Dr. Ray Kiser said. “It’s certainly our hope that this is not just a nice, comfortable living room for our congregation, but that it is a portal of sharing God’s love and hope in the community.