First Baptist Church of Dallas has raised more than $115 million for a new campus, surpassing what any Protestant megachurch has ever collected toward a project.
Pastor Robert Jeffress called it a miracle, especially for a congregation that's a fraction of the size of some of the largest churches in the country.
"Let's never forget our Red Sea moment as a church," he said Sunday after the capital campaign result was announced. "For generations to come people will look at May 16, 2010, as the day God parted the Red Sea and performed a miracle for the First Baptist Church of Dallas, a miracle that should fill our hearts with gratitude toward God and faith for the future."
According to Jeffress, before FBC's massive campaign, the most that any Protestant church collected for a building project was $85 million.
The new state-of-the-art campus is reportedly the largest church expansion program in modern history. By March 2013, FBC will have a 1.5 million-square-foot campus complete with a new 3,000-seat worship center, a six-floor education building, recreation areas, a sky bridge made of glass, a fountain and a parking garage.
The vision for the massive project was introduced in November by Jeffress as "a spiritual oasis in the middle of downtown." FBC leaders said they hope to "dramatically increase" the church's ability to minister to the city with the new campus.
Originally, the campus was a $130 million project but FBC leaders tried to make it more economical and, with a few modifications, lowered the cost to $115 million.
Early this month, Jeffress thought the church would have to delay some parts of the project because of a lack of funds. But a number of couples made generous contributions in the final days of the campaign, allowing FBC to move forward with the entire expansion.
"I learned ... God doesn't have a Plan B," Jeffress said. "We may have a Plan B [but] God doesn't have a Plan B. God has one will, not multiple wills."
Planning and development meetings begin this week as FBC leaders and the architect team fine tune their expansion plan. The plans will be presented to the congregation in June for a vote. Ground breaking for the new campus is scheduled for July 11.
"Today we're getting ready to begin our journey toward the promised land of a new campus," Jeffress said as he urged patience and faith over the next three years.
He prayed, "As we build this church physically ... we pray you will build it spiritually. We pray this church will be a lighthouse, a beacon of Your truth drawing people to the cross of Jesus Christ."