Good Shepherd is growing

Good Shepherd Lutheran will celebrate its new building project with a groundbreaking and old-fashioned church picnic at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1436 21st Ave. N.

The church is putting in an addition for office areas. The current offices will be remodeled into part of the overflow area, and a coffee bar will be added, said the Rev. Lyle Hansen.

“We’ll be coming out 40 feet, towards the road,” Hansen said. “We’ll have new offices for the secretary, youth minister and myself.”

Replacing the small offices will make it easier to train new members, he said.

“There’s two areas where new members spend the most time. One is in with the pastor or DCE (director of Christian education) in their offices, and secondly is in the sanctuary for worship,” Hansen said. “So the offices are directly involved in outreach into the community.

“The main point of it is not just new rooms. The idea is this is going to be used to build up people’s lives. This is for outreach, not just to have a nice new spot for a chair.”

The DCE, Brad Niemeyer, now has his office in what was once a nursery, Hansen said. The room will be turned back into a nursery, and windows will be put in so parents can see out.

“With this expansion, it will give people a bigger place to meet and mingle after church, and have coffee, and be able to sit down and talk, and just have more fellowship,” Niemeyer said.

The groundbreaking celebration and picnic will have brats and burgers and beach ball volleyball, Hansen said, along with other games for kids and adults. Homemade ice cream will be served.

“The same shovel that was used in ’69 when they built this,” he said of the main churhc building, “is going to be the shovel we use for groundbreaking.”

The congregation has wanted more space since 2006, he said, but didn’t have the funds. Now, an anonymous donor has provided $100,000 towards the project, and the church decided it was time.

“People got behind it, and we are over two-thirds funded already, and we haven’t even turned a shovelful of dirt yet,” Hansen said.

He hopes the new rooms will be done in about four months.

“We have a special work crew called laborers for Christ,” he said. “These are retired members of our Lutheran Church of Missouri synod, who come in and work for minimum wage and save the congregation up to 30 percent building costs.”