Brian Swedburg, Redwood Falls Evangelical Free Church pastor, took a walk through a nearly finished building project recently pointing out classrooms, storage spaces, a fellowship area and the sanctuary.
As he walked he talked about the project and the impact he hopes the new E-Free church facility will have on the community.
“I am looking forward to seeing how God uses this building,” he said.
With 18,000 square feet of space, the church building on the eastern side of Redwood Falls (formerly a retail space that had most recently housed a hardware store) is a significant upgrade from the most recent space the church was using on Second Street.
“Our first service here is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 13,” said Swedburg, adding that service also comes with a new time – 9:30 a.m.
The permanent home for the congregation is a long time in coming. Since establishing itself more than 15 years ago, the congregation has never owned a building. In fact, it started out as a small group meeting in homes and then started meeting at the local elementary school.
The move to a space downtown provided a location that did not require setup and takedown each week and included office space for the pastor, as well as a point of reference in the community and for the growing church.
The new location also provides opportunity for growth, as its new worship area has room for about 290 people. Swedburg said current average attendance is in the 80s.
The congregation has been in the process of finding a location to call its own for some time, and after looking at a number of sites, it opted to make an offer on the empty building along Bridge Street. An agreement was reached, and the church officially became the owner of a blank slate in December 2015.
“We’ve been in the process of construction ever since,” said Swedburg.
What started with design plans and cost estimates turned to physical construction this past spring, said Swedburg, adding once the work actually began things have been going very well and fast.
In some ways, Swedburg said the building symbolizes a new beginning for the congregation, and as such he is planning to start a series of sermons in the book of Genesis this weekend when that first service in the new building is held.
“The congregation is excited about the new building,” said Swedburg, adding he is experiencing that same emotion as he thinks about the possibilities that now exist with a lot more space.
Yet, said Swedburg, it is important for him and for the congregation as a whole to remember that it is still merely a building, and the church of God is really the people.
“It’s not about the building,” said Swedburg. “It is about how God uses it.”
While the public is invited to come and worship with the E-Free congregation any Sunday, Swedburg said an open house is going to be scheduled some time later this fall providing the chance for people to come and see the new church.
Swedburg expressed his appreciation to all who helped make the new church a possibility, reiterating his eager anticipation of seeing how God works in the Redwood Falls community through this new building.
“It is going to be an exciting fall for all of us,” said Swedburg.
To learn more visit www.redwoodfallsefc.com.