2012-11-30 / Family

Church remodel strives to attract young families

New hall offers large open space for contemporary services
By Stephanie Guzman

The Rev. Jeff Kempton, an associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camarillo, understands why young Christians aren’t drawn to churches that seem uninviting or too formal.

The 36-year-old Camarillo resident said young people want to connect with their spirituality but can’t relate to conventional churches that play worship music on organs instead of guitars or parishioners who reach for their Bibles instead of smartphones with a Bible application.

“We live in a time where people want to connect to something bigger than themselves but see the church as a thing of the past, outdated, and one that doesn’t connect with their generation or the real world,” Kempton said.

Trinity Presbyterian on Antonio Avenue celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, and while church leaders are thankful for their committed congregation, they want to reach out and invite others to the church.

To attract younger families to Trinity Presbyterian, the church decided to convert its multiuse room, Piper Hall, into a worship hall.

The hall is used for events such as the Christmas dinner dance, which will take place Saturday, and the Many Meals program, a free dinner provided by several Camarillo churches on Thursday nights.

Piper Hall was built in 1980 with the help of Ed and Virginia Piper.

Volunteers and work crews have updated the hall’s sound and video systems, lights, furniture, paint, flooring, worship stage and air ventilation.

The remodeled hall will provide a large open space for the church’s contemporary worship service on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The church’s traditional services will continue to be in the sanctuary on Sundays at 9 a.m. The Rev. Jerry Cooper teaches at both services.

Tom Frye serves on the church’s outreach committee and said the church is trying to present the gospel in a new and challenging way to families in an informal setting.

“We are trying to adapt and present the traditional message and have young people come in and say, ‘I like this and want to raise my kids in the church,’” Frye said.

Piper Hall’s casual environment invites people to wear jeans, sing reworked hymns set to modern-day music and drink coffee during the service.

Kempton said the remodeled hall will allow group discussions set around tables, something impossible to do in pews.

“People don’t just want to be an audience member but a participant,” Kempton said. “The younger generation’s new way of learning is collaborative with people talking together.”

The pastor said the reworked space doesn’t mean the church has dropped all tradition. The church will keep the same visual religious elements, such as a cross and a new communion table built out of reclaimed wood.

“We’re trying to create this as a sacred space,” Kempton said. “We still worship the same God and have basic worship elements that is faithful to Scripture.”

Church leaders realize the new hall may separate the congregation into two groups, but Kempton said the church has worked hard to keep the parishioners united by their faith.

“There may be different ways that people worship, but we’re still a church of God and still one Trinity Presbyterian church,” Kempton said.

Trinity Presbyterian invites the public to attend the contemporary service at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 2, in the newly outfitted Piper Hall. Child care will be available.

For more information, visit http://trinitycamarillo.org.

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