Launching as a church plant, Foothills began its ministry in a rented school gymnasium. Since then, Foothills has moved into a permanent, renovated facility and expanded that facility to accommodate their ever-increasing attendance. Now entering a new chapter of their journey, Foothills wanted to design their own facility.
At each of these expansion phases, Foothills has worked with Studio Four Design, an architecture firm, and Leon Williams Contractors, a commercial design-build firm, to carry out their vision. Finally able to design their own building, Foothills Church has defined their identity, which is rooted in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, where they reside.
Transforming their existing facility into children’s ministries, Foothills made gathering and community spaces one of the primary focuses of their new building. In addition to a 1,200-seat worship space, the building features a café, prayer and care room, connect center, and large lobby with a unique setting for baptisms in this gathering space.
Large glass storefronts and natural stone greet arrivals to Foothills, and they introduce an abundant amount of natural light into the lobby.
Inside, the natural stone and wood materials continue and reflect Foothills Church’s connection to the “foothills” of the Smoky Mountains. Such a warm and inviting environment encourages fellowship and social gatherings here throughout the day.
The furniture throughout the facility further encourages community and gathering. It is designed to be flexible and variant. It offers a multitude of different gathering settings, such as in the café, where one can sit and enjoy intimate discussion over coffee and snacks.
The Connect Center offers a larger, private meeting space for groups to meet on a regular basis. The lobby can be rearranged to have round-table seating for banquet events. Through this design, Foothills Church is able to foster their community in a variety of contexts.
Another unique feature fostering community is the baptistery. Baptism is a key part of Foothills Church’s identity; in 2018 alone, they baptized 164 people. Having such a large worship space, Foothills did not want to lose the feeling of intimacy during baptisms. To solve this, the baptistery is located in the lobby. This allows family and friends to gather close together and have an intimate baptismal experience. With advanced AVL throughout the facility, these baptisms can be shared during worship through video recordings, so the entire congregation can celebrate the event as well.
Foothills Church is dedicated to their team, and so were Studio Four Design and Leon Williams Contractors. Communication and coordination between the architectural team, contractor, engineers, AVL team, client and the pre-engineered metal building manufacturer was critical for the success of the project.
The numbers have been great at Foothills Church, but numbers on Sunday is not the goal. The mission of Foothills Church has always been to develop mature disciples of Christ, and they know this can only occur in relational environments.
Lead Pastor Trent Stewart once said, “We’ve never been motivated by growing a church. We’re motivated by the Great Commission and the power of the gospel. We don’t want people to simply go to church, we want them to be the church.”