The new home for Grace Community Church located on Marshall Road might be more modern, more spacious and nicer, but to Pastor Matt Kaltenberger that’s not the point.
Kaltenberger wants to not only be a more comfortable place for his growing congregation, but a rallying point for the whole Cranberry community.
“I think the church in America is known for taking and we want to be known for giving,” Kaltenberger said.
He said the new auditorium inside the building would be a great place to hold concerts, business conventions and other large events. After all, it’s not a traditional church. There are no pews here.
“It’s kind of organized like a theater,” said J.R. Lovins, an administrative pastor and creative director for the church.
The auditorium can seat 800 people comfortably and also has a stage and multimedia capabilities.
While Kaltenberger wants to encourage the community to use the church's space, the events would still have to be appropriate to the church's religious views, he said.
The church’s previous building on Freedom Road only held 400 people. With a congregation of more than 1,000, the pastors were forced to create four different services to make room for all the people.
“I know a lot of churches build in order to grow. We had to build to house the people we have now and for the future,” Kaltenberger said.
With the new space, the church gained some cool features, including iPads in the front entryway, a trickling indoor waterfall and colorful new kids rooms.
Still, the pastor stressed his number one priority for the project was people—and not just getting a flashy building. Church members weren’t trying to build the Taj Mahal, but rather trying to create a space for everyone to fit in more comfortably and grow, he said.
“We’re all about our mission. Until everyone in the area is reached we haven’t met our mission,” he said.
For that reason, Kaltenberger said intimacy was of great importance during construction and another reason for building the bright café area, which serves coffee on Sunday mornings.
“We want people to hang out, have coffee and talk,” Lovins said.
The next phase of the construction, which will add another auditorium and more space for kids, will begin in a few months.