The sounds of construction blaring from a small boom box were the first clue that it was going to be a different kind of Sunday service at Northwest Community Church.
On Feb. 23, a dump truck and orange netting were placed near the doors of Panther Creek High School in Cary, where the congregation meets.
Confusion turned to smiles and laughter as it became clear that the construction sights and sounds were props.
The Northwest Community Church staff worked for months on a plan to build a facility in northwest Wake County and wanted a fun way to let members know about the effort.
A fishing pond and outdoor seating with fireplaces are just a few of the design ideas for the church that hopes to ink a deal soon on land at the intersection of Morrisville Parkway and White Oak Church Road.
Plans also call for a 15,000-square-foot multipurpose building for worship and classrooms. The project comes in at $3.9 million, which covers road improvements and land development, with additional money for furnishings.
Brian Eisner’s vision is to develop a campus facility that will be a place of hope and healing.
“This process leaves you empty if it’s just about building a building,” said Eisner, 48, who serves as the lead pastor at the church and lives in Cary with his wife and children.
Earlier last month, the church hosted a prayer walk on the American Tobacco Trail and a picnic on the site near where the facility will be built.
The need for a permanent church home is evident by the work of dozens of volunteers each Sunday. They start at 6:30 a.m., dropping off trailers loaded with equipment to set up the children’s area, coffee stations and sound for the stage.
Northwest Community Church began with a small group of people who met monthly in 2007 at Kids ‘R’ Kids in western Cary. When the congregation outgrew that location, it moved to Panther Creek High School.
Now, more than 400 people meet for Sunday services.
The church pays $5,000 a month to rent the space at the school.
“Having a facility for four hours on a Sunday limits opportunities the rest of the week,” Eisner said.
Joel Tillotson joined the church with his family about seven years ago. Tillotson serves as an elder and leads a Life Group with his wife.
“I have never been around a group of people who love and support each other like Northwest,” said Tillotson, 48, who owns Ads in Action in Apex.
The concept of a church campus appeals to Tillotson.
“As the group has grown, so have the relationships,” he said. “We have become family as we connect regularly, serve and help each other, reach out to new people and grow together in our faith.”
The pastors don’t preach from the traditional church pulpit. Instead, they often sit in a chair with a Bible open on a table. The sermons feel more like a chat you might have with a neighbor, except the conversation is peppered with Scripture readings.
David Aman takes care of the administrative efforts for the church. He and his wife moved to the area five years ago and like the friendliness of the congregation.
“Something that we especially love about Northwest is that it quickly feels like family because everyone cares so much for other people,” Aman said.