An architect’s conceptual drawing shows the front facade of the new Aviator Church in the Towne Center, above.
Derby’s Aviator Church is purchasing the former Weekends furniture store building in the Towne Center at Buckner and Greenway.
The church plans to renovate the 30,000 square foot space into a 700-seat auditorium, a play land for children, dedicated child and student worship space, classrooms, fellowship areas, larger meeting rooms, offices and storage, according to Lead Pastor Joe Boyd.
“We are excited to finally offer the kids in our city the best opportunity to meet Jesus on their level,” he said. “With over 10,000 square feet of designated kids space, we will be able to provide families with the church experience they have always wanted.”
To facilitate the cost of acquiring the building, Aviator Church has started a capital campaign to “Reach Our City One Life At A Time.” The church plans to raise $275,000 by March 31, the down payment on the building. It will close on the purchase in April.
An additional $1.25 million will be raised through pledges over the following 24 months, according to the Reach website. The entire $2 million will allow the church to purchase, renovate, furnish and equip the building. The church hopes to be in the building by fall.
Since being formed 4-1/2 years ago, Aviator Church has met each Sunday at Derby High School. The church started with a 12-member group.
Initially, part of the work to spread the word about the church came through volunteer efforts at local events. The bright blue and yellow T-shirts worn by church members have become trademark and made the church website common knowledge.
“We will now be able to offer a consistent physical presence to match our service presence in the community,” Boyd said.
Attendance on Sunday mornings now averages over 1,000 people each week, with between 600 and 700 in the two services in Derby. The church has also expanded to two other locations in Wichita and Wellington.
Over 500 people have been baptized since the church was planted and 400 of those have been in Derby.
The expansive growth has created the need for a large amount of manpower to prepare, set up and break down every Sunday. Boyd said the effort translates into 1,200 man hours each week.
The new location will offer not only a permanent church home, but easy access to shopping and restaurants in the Towne Center for members. Its location also lends itself well to attracting members from neighboring communities and with offices in the center closed on Sundays, parking should be adequate.
“We believe that the space in Towne Center will be a great location to serve not just Derby, but Mulvane, Rose Hill and Haysville,” Boyd said.
The mission of Aviator Church has remained “See a city transformed one life at a time,” and the church believes the new location will help it as it works to serve at least 10 percent of the city.
“We see the ‘church’ as the people. The building is just another tool that God can use to reach people one life at a time,” Boyd said. “God has provided for his people in the past and I believe he will continue to do the same in the future.”
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