After experiencing growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, Heritage Baptist Church is spending $450,000 to modernize its facilities.
“Heritage Baptist Church has grown numerically and financially, even during the recent pandemic, and for this, we are grateful to God,” the church said in a statement.
Most of the renovations focus on the children’s ministries areas. The church is at 1512 John Exum Parkway across from Science Hill High School.
The next phase will involve renovations to the existing Sunday school areas, fellowship spaces and the sanctuary.
“This is all possible because of the generous spirit of our Heritage members,” the church said. “These improvements will ensure that Heritage continues to be a blessing to our community, Northeast Tennessee and the world.”
Elder David Stewart said it’s been 6 to 8 weeks since the church reopened full-time and returned to normal operations. It gained new members during the COVID-19 outbreak, and giving increased last year. The church had originally planned to start renovations last summer, but leaders held off because of the pandemic.
The church also plans to demolish an old house at 1507 N. Roan St., which Heritage has owned since 2007. The building has housed Sunday school classes downstairs, and it has also served as a spot for foreign missionaries to stay while they visit the area.
Over the years, the cost to update and maintain life safety codes for public buildings has made it “cost-prohibitive,” the church said, to use the existing structure for its traditional purpose. Demolition could start next week and will save the church money in the long-term.
“Since Heritage originally purchased the property primarily because it adjoins our original property, the land will be repurposed for new future ministry opportunities, which includes the removal of the existing structure,” the church said.
“We look forward to seeing what new opportunities God will provide for the use of this land to advance the gospel here in Johnson City and around the world.”
Stewart said repurposing the building for formal classroom or conference room space would require some significant upgrades. He added that the church was approached by a few non-profits who were considering using the structure, but they ultimately determined it wasn’t a good investment.
“We’ve really struggled to find a way to maximize the use of that structure in its current form,” he said.
Stewart said church leaders are still discussing how they’ll use the space left by the house.
“What we’re trying to do is take these things one phase at a time,” Stewart said. “We just try to be good stewards of what we have.”