North Point Community Church is building bridges. Sure, a lot of churches build bridges, figuratively and metaphorically speaking. Many a sermon has been written about how churches should build bridges. North Point is doing that I suppose, but they are also building a literal bridge. A really, really big bridge. A five million dollar bridge. Tidy sum, Mr. Bigglesworth.
Andy Stanley’s church has a little traffic problem. If you’ve ever traveled along North Point Parkway on Sunday morning you’ll know what I mean. They have two four lane roads leading from North Point into their massive parking lots. But even with that, when you have thousands of parishioners coming and going, it gets to be too much. So according to a letter from Stanley on the church website, they have spent nine years studying ways to address the traffic. As I see it, the biggest problem they face is one of geography. Their property backs up to Big Creek. In all of Alpharetta there are only a handful of places to cross Big Creek. There’s about to be another one.
So the plan is to build a three lane bridge connecting one of their parking lots to another. The second parking lot is in a business park just off Old Milton Parkway. The bridge will cross Big Creek, the Big Creek Greenway and a thousand feet of flood plain.
I really don’t know what to think of this. The church my wife and I attend is in the midst of a capital campaign. There was some push back when they started due to worries about the economy. But we’re not trying to raise nearly this much money. We also have a comparatively boring goal of reducing debt. No bridges for us, well just the figurative ones for now.
There also the sticker shock aspect of this. Five million dollars is huge. What could that do in this community? To put it in perspective… North Fulton Community Charities has a yearly operating budget of $4 million. I’m sure they could do amazing things with a $5 Million capital campaign.
On the flip side, North Point’s mission is “to be a church unchurched people love to attend.” They feel that the unchurched are not likely to attend if they can’t make it into the parking lot. There’s probably a lot of truth to that.
At the end of the day, Alpharetta’s largest megachurch is having problems scaling. This bridge is certainly a solution. I trust that they have prayerfully considered this decision so I’m not going to pass judgment. I’ll leave that to my readers. Is this a boondoggle or worthy effort to get non-believers into pews?