by Valerie Verkamp
The newly reconstructed Platte Woods Methodist Church is strikingly different in design from the original 1950’s layout.
The $12.4 million renovation consists of a 750-seat worship center with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, a spacious reception area with a stone wall coffee lounge and a three-level, glass rear entryway.
When Pastor Steve Breon first initiated the design process several years ago, he wanted to create a sanctuary large enough to meet the growing needs of the community it serves.
“I think we need a vision so big that if God is not a part of it then it will fail,” Pastor Breon told his congregation on the outset.
The multi-generation church was designed to meet the needs of a wide range of demographics spread out over four zip codes.
Just one glimpse of the newly designed 42,000-square feet sanctuary reveals just how successful Breon was in achieving his goal. From the family and nursery room to the music and breakout suites, excruciating attention to detail is evident all around.
In keeping with the church’s emphasis on its youth, a separate multi-purpose youth facility with a game area, café and comfortable seating was specifically designed to fully engage young minds.
“I think the strength of our children’s’ program, including the youth program, Parents Day Out, Preschool and Sunday School, has made a huge difference because families can find a home here,” said Jennifer Simms, director of missions and communications.
But in the non-building church culture right now, the road getting here has had its bumps.
“This has been really hard for mature Christians,” said Pastor Breon. “I remember saying, ‘I am going to ask you to pay for something you’re not going to like, because this is not a stained glass sanctuary, it’s not a pipe organ and it’s not a traditional sanctuary.’ It is built for what we think would be most appealing to unchurched younger people.”
“We want things for ourselves, but there is an attitude and spirit that says we want to do for others,” said Breon.
Raised in the small-town of Appleton City, Missouri, Pastor Breon set out to be a coach after earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He admits a coach’s tone sometimes shines through in his style of ministry.
Breon said his passion lies with the thousands of people who don’t have a church or any faith.
“It is in my heart to reach as many of those people as we can with the gospel,” he said.
He understands it won’t likely happen overnight, but hopes over the next four decades, through outwardly focused initiatives, the congregation will grow by a thousand.
Raising funds to pay for the reconstruction of the first Methodist Church in Kansas City began three years ago. A capital campaign raised a record breaking $7.1 million in pledges. The church expects to receive 100% of the funds pledged, as well as another $2.6 million in recent pledges.
“We are within $3 million of having this underwritten,” said Pastor Breon.
Despite the new appearance, the church remains outwardly focused. Just this past year, the church has helped 44 people from being evicted from their homes through contributions to programs that benefit the surrounding community.
Breon’s 40 years of service as a Methodist preacher and his legacy will remain in this community for decades to come.
“Six months from now when it is all done, we will look at this and be astounded of the faithfulness of the people,” said Pastor Breon. “They will have something that they are really proud of and will serve our community for decades to come.”