Gone are the heating, cooling, lighting and electrical problems. The 1970s décor has vanished. After years of living in the past, Altoona Regular Baptist Church has upgraded to the 21st century.
The renovations began in early January and were completed in March. Almost six months after their completion, Pastor Chris Humberg says the changes have been nothing but successful.
“Everything has worked out far better than we ever could have hoped,” he says.
There were initially some financial concerns, but the need for heating, cooling, sound, electrical and lighting upgrades, as well as some updates in decoration, outweighed those concerns, and due to the close relationship between the Altoona Regular Baptist Church and Larson and Larson Construction, the construction team and the congregation worked together to make the renovation happen despite budget woes.
Although the renovations made church life difficult at the time — the congregation met in the cramped fellowship hall for 12 weeks — Humberg says the limited space made everyone closer, both literally and figuratively. People formed new relationships and reconnected with old friends. Those relationships have lasted and continue to thrive even in the expanded space of the new auditorium.
The first service in the new auditorium was on Easter Sunday — a fitting setting, with the theme of rebirth.
“It was the wonderful providence of God to celebrate the resurrection in a ‘new’ place,” Humberg says.
Since the first service, the perks of the newly renovated auditorium have only made themselves more apparent. In the months following the changes, the church family has expanded.
“We’ve seen some growth since the changes were completed,” Humberg says. “People are curious.”
The renovations improved life in the church considerably and brought the congregation together, but they also have reminded the Altoona Regular Baptist Church family about outlook on life.
“We learned some valuable lessons about God’s timing, about sacrificial giving and patience,” Humberg says. “It encouraged us to see that a group of people can trust God, and he can do beyond what we think or imagine.”
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