(Photo: Facebook/Bayside Church)
A northern California megachurch will expand its main campus onto a newly acquired 60 acre piece of land in order to accommodate its growing 11,000 member congregation.
Bayside Church in Granite Bay, Calif., bought the property, which lies along the corridor of a major highway, with plans to build a new worship center on half of the property. Currently, Bayside's main parking lot fills to capacity causing major traffic congestion during their eight weekend services at their current 18 acre locale.
"There's nothing worse than people driving around to find parking, not find parking and then leave," said Mark Miller, a spokesman for Bayside,who spoke to a local FOX news affiliate in Sacramento, Calif. "So the ability to expand on the north side of highway 80 is a great solution all the way around."
In addition to a main worship center, the church site will have a sanctuary and buildings to house children services and a teen ministry. Once the new project is complete, church leaders anticipate to increase in member attendance from people in the surrounding community. In addition, a third of Bayside's current members already reside within close proximity to the new property.
According to the FOX news affiliate, residents from the neighborhood close to the property said that having a church presence in their community will avoid violence and crime.
"We're helping families grow, helping marriages get stronger, and helping teens. So our impact in the community will be magnified even greater with this new property," said Miller.
While the church prepares to develop its new addition, Bayside will open a temporary campus in September at a nearby location in Rocklin, Calif.
Although Bayside has large-scale plans in mind, it escalated to its megachurch status years after a small group began meeting at a local tennis club and in high school auditoriums for services in 1996. Years later, they built three additional church sites as well as a bookstore café. Now, under the leadership of Pastor Ray Johnston, Bayside Church has become one of the fastest growing churches on the West Coast with thousands more tuning in online for video and podcast sermons during the week.
Known in part for their community service and massive local events during Easter and Christmas, Bayside also makes an impact globally through annual missionary trips to Cambodia, Kenya, Colombia, India and Nigeria. In addition, the church offers an addiction recovery program and career coaching services.