Worship Center Renewal

Project Information


WCR Project Update (Late September 2022):

The Worship Center Renewal Project is moving forward. We have received the bids and are securing financing in order to start the project in the next month. Our last Sunday in the current worship center will be October 16 and then we will meet in the Great Hall for about 3 months while the work is completed. Please be in prayer for this project.


WCR Project Update (September 2022):

APX, our general contractor, has collected bids from sub-contractors for the different portions of the project. The bids came in higher than we projected, but much lower than some had feared. The elders are working through what this means for the project and we look forward to having more to share very soon. We anticipate, if things continue with no surprises, starting the project this fall and the total project time being 2-3 months.

We have almost half of the expected cost in hand. Our elders, staff, Worship Center Renewal team, and congregation have pledged $271,789 with $161,289 given so far. If you want to give, above and beyond your regular worshipful giving to Bethel, to help fund the Worship Center Renewal Project you can still do so.


WCR Project Update (August 2022):

Construction Documents have been completed, and APX, our general contractor, is now getting bids from sub-contractors. The bids will all be in by the end of the month, which will help provide us with a more up-to-date cost for the project. We anticipate construction to begin sometime this fall.

WCR Project Update (July 2022):

Progress continues to be made on the Worship Center Renewal (WCR) project. Following the vote of approval by Bethel members last March, we began the process of selecting a General Contractor, with the goal of having them on-board by July 1 when Station 19 Architects would start working on the Construction Documents. The Elder Board appointed Ben Sheplee, Matt Baker, Danny Klous, and Deb Meyer for this task.

The team began the process by receiving General Contractor recommendations from our congregation and sources within our community. Our list began with eight possible contractors from southern Minnesota, Iowa, and the Twin Cities. Phone calls were made to narrow down our options by determining their availability and experience in working with non-profits. This screening eliminated three of the options.

With the remaining five General Contractors, the team set-up in-person interviews to walk each of the contractors through the Worship Center, to ask them lots of questions to determine if they were a good fit for us and our project, and to provide the contractor an opportunity to ask questions. Following these interviews, each of the contractors were sent a Request for Proposal, which asked for details about company history, experience, project rate details, project schedule breakdown, project team experience, and company references. Once we received each of the proposals, the team analyzed the information provided and followed up with questions as needed. From there, three top picks were selected and which the team presented to the Elder Board for approval along with a request to begin the process of negotiating a contract with the top pick. The Elders approved. So over the past few weeks, the team diligently worked out details of the contract with APX Construction Group out of Mankato, which was approved and signed by the Elder Board.

The team is incredibly excited to have APX teaming up with us on the WCR project. They are a company with great integrity and came highly recommended to us. Their rates were competitive with the other contractors we interviewed, and they are committed to looking for ways to help us keep construction costs down throughout the project. However, one of their greatest assets pertains to communication. There is a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and so APX is committed to providing us with up-to-date information throughout the construction process via pictures and video, which we look forward to sharing with the congregation.

This week, the Worship Center Renewal team will be meeting with Station 19 Architects, APX Construction Group, and our tech vendors, Vincent Lighting and AudioLogix, to begin the Construction Documents. If all goes as planned, we hope construction will begin this fall. Bethel’s Ministry Teams have been meeting and making plans as to how to continue ministry during the construction phase.

Many of you have given or pledged towards this project. We are so appreciative of your generosity. If you have not participated in this project with your financial gift and would like to be involved, a pledge form can be completed on our website.

There is much to consider as we continue to work out all the details involved in this project. Your continued prayers are coveted and appreciated. We will keep you posted as more develops.


Who is Bethel?

Bethel is a long-term, multi-generational, Evangelical Free church serving southern Minnesota and northern Iowa seeking to love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus so that God is glorified, our communities are blessed, and people are transformed by Jesus.
Throughout its history, Bethel has taken steps of faith to meet ministry needs of the church and the surrounding community. In 2019, we began talking about renewing our Worship Center. A team was put together to create a proposal. In December, they presented their proposal to the elder board. The elders prayed, discussed, and unanimously agreed to bring this proposal to the congregation for approval. An informational meeting was held on Sunday, February 20, and the proposal was shared with the congregation. A link to view the presentation is provided below:
We want to thank those who came out for the special congregational meeting Sunday, March 13. We had 130 members sign in with several regular church attenders also being present. Following a good discussion, the proposal was put to a vote. With approximately an 84% approval, Bethel members affirmed to move forward with the WCR Project. 

What’s Next?

  1. Construction documents will be finalized by Station 19 Architects.
  2. Contractor bids will be collected.
  3. Financial options will be considered (i.e. lenders, rates, etc.)
  4. Plans will be developed for ministry continuity during the construction period.
  5. Please be in prayer for the Lord’s provision, blessing, and timing.


The Plan:

The team, working with Station 19 Architects, put together the plan for renewing the worship space.

The Plan includes 4 main parts:

  • The roof will be brought up to current snow-load code, which means the ceiling will be replaced as structural support is added.
  • Additional supports and wiring will be added for lighting fixtures, laser projector, and larger confidence monitor.
  • The platform will be leveled to the same height; sound dampened, and rounded out.
  • Handicap accessible ramp will be added on south side.
  • Storage will be available behind central projection wall.
  • There will be additional storage available stage right for worship ministry equipment.
  • The platform and auditorium lights will be brighter and better controlled.
  • There will be a single laser projector onto a central HD screen.
  • The noisy Elation DMX dimmers will be replaced by quiet DMX controlled fixtures.
  • The faux stained glass will be replaced with window treatments.
  • Moveable walls will be installed in each of the wings to help control sound when used as classrooms providing flexibility for overflow.
  • Carpet rectangles will be installed for ease of replacement and maintenance.
  • Chairs will replace pews for increased flexibility of the space for multiple uses.

We believe this project is wise because…

  • We believe that renewing the worship center will help us love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus in 2022 and in the decades to come by providing a space that leans into the lighting, video, and audio needs, sensibilities and expectations of people today.
  • We believe that renewing the worship space will help us love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus in 2022 and in the decades to come by giving us increased flexibility in the usage of the Worship Center for reaching out and discipling people.
  • We believe that renewing the worship space will help us love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus in 2022 and in the decades to come by multiplying the time and efforts of the people who utilize and serve in that space thus giving us a more sustainable ministry model as we reach out to modern people.
  • We believe that renewing the worship space will help us to love God, love others, and make disciples of Jesus in 2022 and in the decades to come by allowing more people (those with limited mobility) to participate.
  • We believe that renewing the worship space will help us love God, love others, and make Disciples of Jesus in 2022 and in the decades to come by allowing for classes to have a well-lit and more sound-insulated space in which to meet.


The Cost Estimate from Station 19 Is $872,000

Here’s how we are proposing to finance the project:

  • Pay $425,000 in cash from our general and designated funds (Worship Center renewal Fund, Employee Retention Credit; targeted unused designated funds).
  • Borrow $150,000 more from our own funds which we will replace through a 12-month campaign.
  • Borrow an amount from Christian Investors or another institution where the sum of 12 monthly payments will not exceed 4% of the annual church budget. ($854,292)

Here’s why we think it is a good idea financially:

  • Bethel is in a strong financial position currently thanks to God’s blessing and the generosity of the Bethel church family. We have over $850,000 in our general and designated funds.
  • Interest rates are currently very low.
  • The amount we are proposing to borrow and the monthly payments will be a relatively small percentage of the overall church budget. We are committed to no more than 4%.
  • We want to raise at least $150,000 over 12-months and a significant portion is already committed.


As we move forward together on the Worship Center Renewal project, twenty families of the Elders, Staff, and Worship Center Renewal team have pledged $96,450 over the next year. Would you prayerfully consider how the Lord is leading you to help with this project?


Additional information to help answer your questions can be found in the attachments below. If additional questions come to mind, email staff@bethelefc.org