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New Impact Church has modern look, free coffee

by Gerald Browning

contributing reporter

The new location of Impact Church may have a new, ultra-modern look, but it's heart contains the same message of welcoming others. The new building, located on M-21 directly across from the Meijer store, boasts lots of windows. This is not only to maximize the ambient light, but also to welcome passersby and to reach out to others in order to let them see into the "heart" of Impact Church.

"Whether we are here or not, I want [passersby] to feel the welcome arms of Jesus," stated Ryan Kresge, executive pastor of Impact Church.

The huge windows let the casual observer see right into the church, and the first thing they would see is a café, which serves free coffee and cappuccinos. 

In a recent interview, Kresge spoke about the overhead doors with garage door-style windows that rise up, and the original wood that was used at the previous church.

"It was donated, aged wood," Kresge said.

The message with this, Kresge shared, was that even though the building is new and it has a new look, it is the same message and the same church.

The kids area has been updated with an entryway that features a light show. The large tunnel has special effects lights guiding the kids into the zone. There is a special-needs room that features a tactile sensory experience. In the old church, there was an area for kindergarten to fifth graders, but now they have the space to break the kids up even further so the groups could be more clustered with kids of similar comprehension levels.

"We were [also] to a little more developmentally-appropriate age brackets," Kresge stated. “There is a kindergarten, then a first through third grade room, and fourth and fifth have their own rooms, so the teachers could speak to the audiences more appropriately. Some of the rooms actually feature a stage for the kids to listen to a live concert and sing along with the band. In other rooms, there are stages set for puppeteers to tell stories.”

There may be a theme that is discussed in all of the rooms, and because the audiences are divided, they are able to get more age appropriate lessons. As such, Kresge adds, the family can be at home at the dinner table and talk about stories such as "David and Goliath," and each can add something to the conversation.

Another feature that was in the other building, that Impact has brought over with them, was a separate "quiet room" for parents who have children or are nursing. This room will allow them to see and hear the sermon in a room adjacent to the main auditorium and still manage the family.

The main auditorium is much larger and can accommodate a significant band on the stage. With comfortable chairs, high quality lights and sound systems, the church can spread their message more effectively. A major theme that Kresge spoke about was being a "church for the world." This was continued with the discussion of how the church uses natural light in the auditorium and in some of the offices in the back of the church. The offices also continue with the sleek, almost minimalist, look.

With the fact that there are a lot of performances on stage by the staff of Impact, as well as kids and bands, there is a "green room" for the performers to rest and prepare for their event. It boasts a television to follow along with the sermons, plus a kitchenette, bathroom and sitting area.

Another major feature is a private room for counseling families and worshippers. The room, just like many of the others, is decorated with muted, calming colors and furniture to simulate a family room in a house. There is even a private entrance in the back of the building with a receptionist area for further privacy.

Even though there are many offices, kids rooms, a common kids area with basketball hoops and a stage for a band with cool smoke machines and lights, the major bulk of the space seems to be devoted to the auditorium and the entryway, which adds to the philosophy of making Impact accessible to many people.

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