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OPINION

First Baptist Dallas opens $130M campus

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DALLAS (BP) -- First Baptist Church in Dallas will celebrate with two services the grand opening of its $130-million, 500,000-square-foot campus in downtown Dallas on Easter Sunday.
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The 11,000-member church is calling its venture the "largest church building project in modern history," the result of a campaign the congregation began in 2009, under the leadership of senior pastor Robert Jeffress.

"At a time when suburban mega-churches are the norm and research shows that many people no longer feel the church is relevant, First Baptist is committed to the Bible and to downtown Dallas," Jeffress said in a press release. "People are hungry not for religion but for the Word of God. First Baptist Dallas is built on the Bible, and because of that we are growing."

The new campus retains the landmark 1890 sanctuary, adding a 3,000-seat worship center with the latest high-tech features, including a 150-foot-wide viewing screen stretching across nearly two-thirds of the auditorium, according to the church's press release. A glass sky bridge connects the center to the five-story Horner Family Center, housing children's and youth classrooms, a gymnasium, three indoor playgrounds and a seven-story parking garage.

Distinguishing the church is a cross tower and fountain surrounded by three-quarters of an acre of public community space. The church celebrated in a March 24 service by illuminating the tower and fountain's lighting.

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"For more than 140-years -- through cycles of both decline and growth -- First Baptist has been steadfastly committed to the city of Dallas," Jeffress said. "That dedication continues through this contribution of what we believe is the finest facility in the heart of downtown -- a concert hall of worship that truly represents and is dedicated to the greatness of God."

The church will hold a series of special services in April, including a 6 p.m. concert with Charles Billingsley on April 7 and an April 21 family day and lunch featuring Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Diana Chandler. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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