from the Atlanta Westside Elders and Staff


A rundown of Westside’s 2022/2023 construction plans


If you want to relive the ultimate experience of attending our September 25, 2022 building update meeting, you can dive into the recorded stream below. If not, skip ahead to read a not-so-brief rundown on Westside’s 2022/2023 construction plans.

Intro from Senior Pastor Walter Henegar

We started Atlanta Westside in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2014 that we articulated our purpose in a simple statement: “to embody and preview the kingdom of God from Buckhead to Bankhead.”

“The kingdom of God” is probably the most expansive concept in the Bible that captures about everything God wants for us. it means being the healthiest church we can be in every biblical sense of the word. Our parish is the Westside of Atlanta, right in between Buckhead and Bankhead, and we want to be a bridge to these different worlds. So when we say we’re trying to “embody and preview the kingdom of God,” it means two things:

To “embody ‘ the kingdom means that we’re trying to express, not just in our words, but with the way we live our lives together, what the kingdom of God feels like, tastes like, how it’s worked out in real life.

But when we add that we are only “previewing” the kingdom, we are reminding ourselves that this life is just a partial glimpse, or an appetizer, of the fullness of the kingdom that we will experience when Jesus returns.

People often ask me, “Where is Westside going?” “Who are we becoming?” And my short answer is that we’re seeking to become the best version of who God has created us to be. I don’t have a specific picture of what our future might look like, but I will tell you how I’ve been asking God in my own prayers to makes us healthier. I long for us to grow in four directions:

First, I long for our church to elevate its worship, not just on Sunday morning but in every way, to have a bigger vision of who God is and a more holistic involvement in giving our lives to worship Him.

I also long that we would be transformed more deeply. Everything we do in discipleship is not just about getting our behavior in a certain alignment but transforming us at a heart level.

And I long that we would thicken our relationships. The bigger we grow and the more spread out we become, the more each of us needs to have at least a handful of people we know really well.

And finally, I long for us to extend our service. We have an embarrassment of riches in this church. Not just monetarily, but gifts, skills, connections and vocations — and in all these ways we have the ability to serve our neighbors and beyond.

That’s how I’m praying about the future of the church, and this building is just one piece of how we can do it.

This video communicates in ten minutes what it would take us an hour or more to present. I highly encourage you to press ‘play.’

A Few Notes on the New Building from Jim Irwin

It has been just an incredible joy to work with the staff, the session and the design team to come up with the plans.

What’s really fun about my job is getting to work through a space plan before starting to add layers of design—to figure out how everything flows and functions together and how to craft a creative, seven-day community. All of this happens before deciding what the final product will look like.

If you take away anything I have to say, know that we are using every molecule of space in this new building and it fits perfectly, just perfectly. It’s not too much, it’s not too little. Before moving into 1255 Collier, we looked for a building for years and years and years. I toured 42 different properties before we landed on this one, and this one was almost a fluke. One of our elders, Jeff Heck, knew the owner who practically handed the keys to us overnight. I think this is the reason it’s fun to think about—many, many, many years later— how we’re now planning for the future space and how it fits perfectly. To me, that feels super providential.

I’m also excited to get construction underway. Our plan is to begin construction as soon as we pull the permit. We’ll break ground at the very front of the new space on the Children’s Ministry wing. This will allow our Children’s Ministry to really crank up to full steam while the middle of the building, where our new offices and common areas will reside, is under construction.

You’ll find a floor plan for the new and repurposed spaces, as well as a handful of interior renderings, below.

A call to action from Jeff Heck 

The total project cost is $3.4 million. We are very fortunate to have a healthy reserve balance. Our goal is to utilize $1.8 million of our reserves for this project. This will leave us with about three months of operating reserves on hand as well as a couple hundred thousand dollars of reserves in case of emergency.

Currently, we have about $3 million of existing debt that, thanks to some great work from our finance team and a couple of our elders, we’ve refinanced at a great rate. We feel very comfortable with the debt load that we have today.

But we want to give ourselves maximum flexibility as we move forward financially. Thus, we’re trying to complete this entire project without incurring any incremental debt. The gap we need to close is $1.6 million, and we are trying to raise the entire amount by the end of 2022.

Our first goal is to get halfway there, $800,000, with 125 giving units, by October 31st. By the end of 2022, we aim to reach 250 givers and an additional $800,000.

We will provide frequent updates not just on how much money we raised, but also how many people are contributing. I think it’s important to remind ourselves, myself included, that giving to the body of Christ is a blessing—not just to the church—but to us individually in our posture towards the Lord.

“How do we get to this $1.6 million? And how many people have to give at different amounts in order to get there?”

The numbers below are almost in line with our previous capital campaign in 2017. On the left you’ll see the number of givers and on the right, the dollar amount. Thus, if we have four families or givers who donate $100k or more, five that give $50,000, eight that give $25,000, all the way down to 130 people giving $100, it makes a big difference. Everyone matters. This pyramid really reflects the importance of the lower levels. It’s crucial for all of us to know that we are in this together, in giving the amount that the Lord has allowed us to contribute.

This building project doesn’t change our operating budget. With anticipated growth and additional programming, our expectation is that our operating budget will continue to grow as the size and needs of our body grows. So please, as you’re considering how to give, give above and beyond what you’re donating on a regular basis.

Earmark all building gifts to the “2022 Facilities Giving” fund.

For additional questions, check out the Congregational Meeting video at the top of the page where we discuss parking, Youth Ministry and 1285 Collier, walkways and outdoor spaces, Sunday school, and much more.

Additional renderings:

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