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Church’s new center to be home for many

ROME TOWNSHIP — Right now, it is simply heavy steel beams and thick concrete block. But by fall, this construction site will take on a new definition.

No longer a mere bricks and mortar project, it will become a visible symbol of one church’s desire to reach out to the needs of all who live in the community it calls home.

That’s the goal of the First Baptist Church of Proctorville as it goes forward in its goal of building a Family Life Center on the campus of the church.

“We will be able to reach out to the community,” Mike Smith, assistant pastor of the church, said.

It is a concept the church’s leaders adopted after seeing its success with other congregations they have visited.

“It opens the church up to community events,” Smith said.

A major purpose of the Family Life Center is to provide a permanent home for the many teen programs the church offers the youth.

“We have literally bounced the teens from one end of the building to the other,” Smith said. “They have endured the gym. There’s no air-conditioning.”

That should all change when the 5,000 square foot facility adjoining the church’s gym is completed.

The plan is to divide the center into a café section with tables and booths; a game area for such things as shuffleboard and foosball as well as a concession stand, a platform for speakers and classroom space.

Right now the church’s Wednesday night teen program attracts between 80 to 100 each week.

“The good Lord has blessed us with a lot of kids. They are very faithful,” Smith said. “Our desire is to decorate this for the kids.”

There the teens can use the basketball court and game area for the pre-activity segment of the Wednesday night program before turning to lesson time and small Bible study groups.

However, Smith says the center could also be used for children’s programs and other church functions.

Also a long-term goal is to use the center as a satellite church for the teens.

But besides ministering to the needs of its current members, First Baptist also wants to be there as a spiritual home for potential new members from the community.

“Hopefully this will create growth with new boys and girls and new moms and dads,” Smith said.