Friday , January 16, 2015 - 10:08 PM
OGDEN — For the 1,000 members of the Genesis Project church, trying to be good stewards has led to a new church model that allows them to share their space when not in use.
“We didn’t want our church to sit empty five days a week when we weren’t using it,” said Pastor Matt Roberts.
Genesis Project, formerly at 270 12th Street, has moved to HUB 801 Events, at 3525 Riverdale Road in Ogden as of Jan. 4.
When not in use for Sunday services and Wednesday Bible studies, the HUB 801 Events building is not serving as a church but as a community center that can be rented out for weddings, business meetings and any other social gathering that works for the space.
“We came to a partnership with Building God’s Way,” Roberts said of a journey that led to the unique situation.
He said the partnership with the Christian architectural firm led the congregation to discover how they could merge ministry and service in the community with those who want to serve in an enterprising way.
Dan Cook, founder and president of Building Gods Way, said the 1940s factory his firm renovated for the project is a popular model that churches from around the country are visiting because they want to replicate the cost-effective effort.
“We are incredibly excited about what Genesis is doing and what HUB 801 is doing,” Cook said.
The idea for the business model came from listening to the concerns of church congregations and schools as Building God’s Way architects went about designing structures for them, Cook said.
“After all the churches we’ve done, we’ve realized that they don’t use them very much during the week,” Cook said. “They have an office in them but the building for the most part sits empty.”
At the same time, Cook said his firm wanted to help churches that were having trouble raising money to build buildings.
“We went with the idea of being better stewards of the things they do,” he said.
Cook’s firm has designed a handful of prototypes of churches that could be used throughout the week.
“By doing that, they reduce their expenses substantially,” he said. “They cut about 80 percent of expenses.”
HUB 801 represents a limited partnership. For now, the investors own it and will take income off of it for the first seven years and the church won’t pay much to be there.
“At the end of seven years, the church has been able to grow, concentrate on being healthy and financially strong,” Cook said.
The idea is for the church to buy out the investors on the eighth year as they have a sustainable income from renting out the facility as they take the church entity into the future.
He said the church will buy the building from the investors for the original price the investors paid for it or investors can donate their share if they like.
And the investment has been a good one for those who put their money down, Cook said.
“We had a lot of events last year,” he said of the facility that opened in May. “We have a tremendous amount of events planned for next year.”
Other models the firm has designed include a nursery day care in Phoenix and some schools in different parts of the country.
A hotel in Montana is a partnership between three different churches that meet there and don’t pay any rent at all.
“With that project, we were able to give away $700,000 in ministries in Africa from profits from the hotel,” Cook said.
In Oregon, in an area with a lot of homeless and battered women and children, Cook’s company worked with a church and purchased a hotel that they converted into housing for those who needed it.
He said the church worked out a 20-year agreement with Oregon to take care of the homeless and battered women and children.
“The church can manage that and have a sustainable income,” Cook said.
Back home in Ogden, Genesis Project will not be selling off its previous building as a result of this new endeavor.
Instead, the church will move its current Dream Center, which now is in a warehouse on Wall Avenue and 14th Street, into the church and open it up as a the Ogden Serve Center.
The new service center facility will operate as a food bank, a clothing center, a job training and placement center and a counseling facility.
Roberts said the facility will seek to be a total life health center for those who seek help there.
Included in the efforts will be reunification of families that have parents coming out of jail or prison. Other types of transitions in people’s lives also will be addressed at the facility.
The center will be open every day of the week.
Also continuing at the center will be 8 p.m. Friday night worship services.
“We will offer a lot of service in the community in many various ways,” Roberts said.
Roberts encourages anyone who needs help to visit the Ogden Serve Center once it re-opens Jan. 30 and give volunteers a chance to help them. The center will continue to come online with new services in the coming months.
Genesis Project services are held Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.
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