VINTON–Lynn Haven Baptist Church was chartered on June 4, 1961, and has grown and expanded its congregation and also its facilities steadily in the years since.
The latest renovations to what is now the Student Center and Preschool were dedicated at a ceremony on Sunday, February 28, with the ribbon cut by those who the building will now serve—the children and youth.
The renovated space was the oldest part of the church building. It originally housed the sanctuary with classrooms and a fellowship hall located upstairs. When a new sanctuary was built in 1977, the original building was remodeled, adding some classrooms, and was renamed the Education Building. It then became the location for the nursery and Youth Department. In 1987 Lynn Haven Preschool was started and was located on the first floor.
On the day of dedication, Interim Pastor Mark Oblinger preached a sermon about being faithful, taking on risks and challenges, and the church extending its witness in a time when many churches are just trying to survive. He spoke about living with the status quo or in God’s vision—“settling or setting out” as he said Lynn Haven has done with this renovation project.
After the 11 o’clock service, the congregation moved outside for the dedication ceremony. Deacon Chair Jon Carner said that it had taken more than five years to plan and then build “a safe, modern facility for our children and youth,” because “Lynn Haven Baptist Church is part of and cares for this community. It’s our way of following God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our neighbors are this community.”
Carner thanked the numerous teams who had contributed to the renovation effort with special recognition for Reverend Jason Roth, Minister to Students, Mark Alexander with Buildings and Grounds, and Kevin Dance, Renovations.
Special invited guests were recognized including Dr. Bob Wayne, Pastor Emeritus at Lynn Haven, Rev. Darrell Cook from Virginia Tech, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jason Peters, and several representatives from the General Contractor—G & H Contracting.
Rev. Roth led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, selecting two students from the local elementary schools, the middle school and the high school to cut the ribbon, saying that “this is the future of the church.”
With the latest remodeling, the original building has been completely gutted. The upstairs has been set aside mainly for the youth programs. There is a modernized multi-purpose area which can be used for worship or fellowship activities with an impressive stage and sound system. With a spacious and state-of-the-art kitchen (think double oven), it can even host events such as bridal showers.
The first floor continues to house the preschool with extensive renovations to meet their needs. There are connecting classrooms, child-sized restroom facilities, and sinks in the classes. The space is designated for children up to age six with nursery, toddler, and preschool areas with approximately 30 students enrolled in the Lynn Haven Preschool at this time. (Another section of the building houses the older children.)
The nursery will have a secured check-in area for parents only accessible by nursery workers. There is also security at the entranceways to the building in the preschool area.
Former Interim Pastor Harold Cook, who served on the renovation committee, said that the building now complies with ADA requirements with wider hallways and stairways, which also makes it more accessible to First Aid personnel in case of emergencies. The building is more open with a “better flow of traffic.”
The church held a capital campaign to raise funds for the project.
In announcing the project, the church communicated that since there would not be a new “footprint,” there would be no groundbreaking ceremony. Instead they held a “ceremonial wall-busting” one Sunday night last spring.
The renovations were expected to take about nine months and according to Cook, actually finished ahead of schedule.
“The renovations to our youth center give us a more open and accessible space that allows us to create a more welcoming atmosphere for the students to gather for times of fellowship and recreation,” said Roth. “Along with updates to our technology and worship space we have a much more versatile space that can be used for large group meetings as well as small groups and counseling space.”
As for their specific programs, Roth says that they have Sunday morning Bible study at 10 a.m. and a Wednesday night student worship service called “The AWE” (Aspect Worship Experience).
Roth says that with the new space the church has now opened the Student Center on Wednesday afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. for students to come and “hangout” prior to the Wednesday night service. During that time, the church provides free snacks and drinks and access to the Game Tables, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Dr. Darrell Cook from Virginia Tech says that with the renovations Lynn Haven’s great heritage and great future have intersected.