Southeast Christian Church plans to launch its eighth campus this fall, but this one will be a little different.
Southeast Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman announced the new Chapel in the Woods Campus during weekend services Aug. 10-11.
“In starting new campuses, we’ve mostly focused on what I would call geographical demographics,” he said. “We’ve looked through a map. We’ve prayed through locations, and we’ve said this is where it makes sense for God to use us to have greater Kingdom impact.”
In planning for the Chapel in the Woods Campus, the focus was on generational demographics.
“I believe one of the greatest opportunities we have as a church is to reach the next generation—we give a lot of attention to the next generation, and we’ll do even more of that in the future,” Idleman said. “But I also believe we have an opportunity to reach all kinds of senior adults who don’t have a church home or church family. This is the fastest growing demographic in our country.”
The new campus will host multiple Sunday worship services with traditional music and a video sermon at the Chapel in the Woods, a chapel designed for weddings, funerals and other gatherings. Located at Moser Road and Watterson Trail near the Blankenbaker Campus, the chapel opened in February.
Murphy Belding, who is Southeast’s senior adults pastor, will be the Chapel in the Woods Campus pastor.
“My hope is the Lord will give us a holy imagination to create opportunities to seek new ways to win seniors to Christ and deepen their faith,” Belding said. “The campus also will provide a great opportunity to create community and connection with others who are seeking to grow closer to Christ.”
Belding has known many of Southeast’s senior adults for more than 30 years, and they are looking forward to the new campus.
“I’m excited that the seniors are excited,” Belding added. “As we connect with Jesus and one another, my hope is that seniors will … gracefully and thoughtfully invite their friends who don’t know the Lord to a service that they’re comfortable with.”
Belding said the campus plans to hire a worship leader who will lead seniors in a mix of hymns and choruses.
The new campus also will have a variety of volunteer roles, from greeters to ushers and communion servers.
The 9,000-square-foot Chapel in the Woods has a seating capacity of 397 with traditional pews in the front and movable chairs in the back. The parking lot has 151 spaces with easy access to the front door, and a shuttle also will run between the chapel and the Ministry Resource Center parking lot.
“This is a generation that has the time, resources and experience to really have a significant Kingdom impact,” Idleman said. “From an evangelistic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for us to put efforts into the senior adult generation. There are a lot of churches with senior adults, but there are not a lot of churches baptizing senior adults.”
The Chapel in the Woods will have several pre-launch events. Prayer gatherings will be held Sunday, Aug. 18, from 5 to 6 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 11 to noon. Events for those interested in serving at the campus will be held Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 11 to noon, and Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Idleman hopes seniors will be inspired to reach out and connect with other seniors.
“I hope our senior adults feel loved and valued and honored as we take this step and start this campus, but I also more importantly pray that this campus will help reach senior adults who don’t know Jesus, who aren’t connected to a church—that it will be a campus that helps senior adults find and follow Jesus,” Idleman said.