The Way into Community: First Baptist unveils plans to convert grocery store into community center

First Baptist Church released plans to the community about their new project, The Way. With this new project, the community will be able to gather in a more relaxed atmosphere for events.

After being informed that the old grocery store next to the church was up for sale by its owners, the board at First Baptist decided to buy this building in hopes to introduce The Way, according to Jennifer Lash, the Children, Young Adult and Family Ministry Director.  

“The building next to our church has been vacant for a while. So, whenever we found out the owners were going to sell, we knew God was pushing us in this direction,” Lash said. “Our church motto is ‘Loving Christ, Serving Others’ and that is what our church truly lives by.”

Lash mentioned that the church, which is the current location for events, is not large enough to comfortably handle the size of the community they reach. The members are looking to “expand their horizons” by adding extra classrooms to the preschool, extra meeting rooms, a commercial size kitchen, a small auditorium and even a full, or half size, gymnasium court.

With new preschool classrooms, the facility will be able to provide larger growth in education of the children. The commercial size kitchen will be used with programs such as Meals on Wheels, Room at the Table and Coffeehouse. The auditorium and gymnasium will give The Way an opportunity to hold dance classes, adult proms, and many more fun events to involve the community.

“This will also be an open capability for those that are uncomfortable walking into church, to have a place to go where they don’t feel pressured to engage,” Lash said.

“Initially I thought it was going to take three years [to open],” Lash said. “We are hoping to break ground by late this year or early 2022.”

According to Lash, members of the board for The Way were worried about obtaining the funding to start the project and it was going to be done in phases. However, “with all the prayers” Lash said that the church has obtained a lot of its funding quicker than they had originally thought.

“We have reached our goal almost,” Lash said. She said that most of the funding, so far, has come from specific donors in the communities, gifts and donations from members of First Baptist’s congregation, grants and corporations who have reached out offering any help they can. Yet, The Way is still just a small amount from reaching that goal.

The option to donate is still available at The community will be able to enjoy the facility, hopefully, by late 2022. To stay updated on the progression of The Way, visit