There’s a big change coming to the north end of Oakdale.
River Oak Grace Church Senior Pastor Korey Buchanek could not be more excited for the construction to begin on the 12,000 square foot Children’s Ministry Building.
This past Sunday, Aug. 25 church leaders were surrounded by youth and church members as a ceremonial “ground breaking” was held. Actual construction is set to begin by mid-September.
“We want families when they see it from the highway to say there’s a high, high priority on the life of children here,” the Senior Pastor said of the ministry building, which will take approximately 14 months to complete.
According to Buchanek it is an addition that has been a long time coming and is desperately needed, not just for the River Oak Grace community but the community of Oakdale as well.
“We want families to be able to even use it for their outings, birthdays and events,” he stated. “So we’re partnering with the community to say, you’re welcome here.”
While the community at large has been considered as part of the process, the activity of the main ministry building has increased the need for the addition of the Children’s building. Buchanek noted currently parents with children ages infant to sixth grade, must deposit them at multiple portable sites within the church campus. A fact he finds not only to be an inconvenience for parents, but a bit unsettling as well, as the youngsters are so spread out.
“They just cannot carry the load for the amount of children we are seeing now,” he said of the older structures. “Really it’s going to be another building which can almost operate nightly when our facilities are open. It’s going to be a high volume facility for us.”
Buchanek and his team began the fundraising endeavor for the $3.5 million dollar project 18 months ago. The six week campaign titled “Foundations for the Future” earned the organization $800,000 which aided with the start of the process.
“It’s a big endeavor,” he said. “A facility to allow mothers of young children to know her children are safe and in one location versus the varying which we have currently. Any time the worship center is utilized the ministry building is open.”
As Buchanek describes the new addition to the 23-acre campus, he speaks of a place for all children, indicating the detail being paid attention to in the interior (via elevator), as well as the exterior for handicapped children, as well as those with special needs.
“That matters to me, because I have an autistic child myself,” the pastor confided.
“I’m that parent,” he continued. “I have four and I sometimes am leery to go to a new church on our vacations because I wonder, are they prepared for us?”
The Children’s Ministry Center will have a three story play structure and two floors of classroom and gathering space.
“Any kid that comes on this property, should be able to look through that entire glass front and say that’s for me,” he said. “This is truly designed for a child. Handicapped or special needs aspect of this is going to be a focus. We’ll have a room especially for special needs children.”
As he speaks of the new campus addition, his passion for the project and what it will offer becomes apparent. Every detail is being thought through and considered with much input coming from Children’s Ministry Director Stacie Adams.
“This is going to be something that you won’t be able to drive by and not notice,” he said of the impressive size of the structure. “We really want people to see from the get go, when you walk in there’s a place for your child, regardless of what their needs might be.”
As a father, as well as the Senior Pastor of a growing ministry, Buchanek puts value in the youth of not just the church but the entire community.
“I’d like someone who may not have a church home, be able to say, someone’s thinking of me. Someone’s thinking of my kid,” he shared of his mission and goal with this project. “Right now we may not be plugged in anywhere, because I’m not certain anyone cares about my children. I want us to be able to serve that family and serve them well.”