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Historic congregation takes leap of both faith and fact to complete largest Protestant church building campaign in modern historyDALLAS,
April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First
Baptist Church of
Dallas, led by nationally known pastor
Dr. Robert Jeffress, celebrated the fact of the resurrection of Jesus and investment of their faith in the revitalization of downtown
Dallas yesterday, with the grand opening of a new
$130 million campus – the largest Protestant church building campaign in modern history.
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More than 7,300 individuals attended two inaugural services in the 3,000-seat Worship Center as well as overflow areas to experience the new campus for the first time.
"We rejoice in the opening of our new campus, but the reason we are here today is to celebrate our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," said Dr. Jeffress in welcoming the congregation to the new facility.
Located in the heart of downtown
Dallas since 1868, First Baptist Dallas has witnessed the surrounding urban city blocks of one of the biggest, most prominent cities in the U.S. remain decades behind other major cities in development.
Despite the popular trend among many churches to acquire and retrofit unused buildings or open smaller, satellite campuses in the suburbs, First Baptist Dallas went against the grain in order to continue to serve the residents, business community and guests of
Dallas and the surrounding Metroplex.
The church took a leap of faith making a monumental financial commitment in 2009, during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, by asking members to help raise
$130 million for the new facility, which they accepted. In 2010, six of the church's outdated buildings sitting on five city blocks were imploded and demolished, making way for new construction.
The opening of the 500,000-square-foot campus will aid in the restoration and resurrection of downtown
Dallas by encouraging a thriving urban setting, which has already quadrupled its resident population over the past five years since this project began.
"Our belief in the resurrection is not based on fable, fiction or myth, but on the truthfulness of Jesus Christ Himself. What appeared to be a tragedy was a prelude to eternal triumph," Dr. Jeffress said during the Easter worship service. "The people of First Dallas didn't commit
$130 million to recreate this campus out of just their faith alone, but out of the fact that their lives have been permanently recreated and reconciled to God, by death and resurrection of His Son Jesus."
During today's inaugural service, Dr. Jeffress preached on the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ as a means of saving the world. He also spoke on how First Baptist Dallas will follow Jesus and his example by continuing to preach bold biblical truths.
"The Bible says we are all on the sea of life, with no lights to guide us," Dr. Jeffress concluded in his sermon. "The only light that can lead us home is the light of the resurrected Christ. Through this new campus we have built, we trust that many Metroplex residents and visitors will be drawn to that light and find new life and a new beginning."