New Eudora Baptist Church opens to large crowds

Jeff Ingle, associate pastor at Eudora Baptist Church, leads the congregation in worship Sunday. It was the first worship service in the church’s new building.

? As Jeff Ingle began to lead the Eudora Baptist Church congregation in the first worship service in its new building last Sunday morning, he was taken aback by the nearly 300 faces he saw.

“I thought we’d have just over 200 (people),” Ingle said. “I was just in awe, and it’s shocking. It’s surreal, we just had our first worship service and we get to be here next week, too.”

Construction for the new building began in late May and moved quickly with the help of about 900 volunteers with Baptist Builders for Christ, a nationwide group of amateur builders who volunteer to build Baptist churches.

Construction of the 12,000-square-foot building, 525 W. 20th St., moved so quickly that a common saying during the construction was, “God has a plan for this building, and he must be in a hurry.”

“The thing that really could create some disbelief is the fact that we started this thing at the end of May,” Pastor Kevin Wood said. “It’s not even been five months from dirt to this, and it’s pretty remarkable that it’s gone that quickly.”

Wood said the building could have been ready sooner, but the ground was too wet to cover the parking lot with asphalt.

The new sanctuary is five times bigger than the previous sanctuary, which could accommodate about 200 people. Wood said its low ceilings didn’t give them a feeling of space that is felt in the new building.

“We were just packed in the other sanctuary,” Wood said. “We had come to the point in our old sanctuary where we were tearing down walls adjacent to the sanctuary (to make room).”

Although the first worship service at the church was last Sunday, a dedication ceremony is planned during the 10:15 a.m. worship service this Sunday. Wood said he expects about 300 people, and the church has invited all of the 900 or so volunteers from Baptist Builders for Christ. A lunch will follow the service.