That’s why, when the church recently began planning to build a new family life center, Pastor Justin Richards wanted it to be more than a church building. He envisions it as a community center.
“We want it to be a multi-purpose building,” Richards said. “It can serve many community needs — a place to hold blood drives, serve Thanksgiving meals and provide recreation. It might even be open in the winter for indoor walkers. That’s why we call it a family life center and not a gym.”
For church use, the building will provide a full-size gymnasium, with basketball goals and a stage. It will also have four Sunday school classrooms and a nursery area and showers and restrooms.
On March 17, Tyus Baptist Church will hold an 11 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony for the new family life center and mark the beginning of a six-week promotion called “Journey of Faith.”
“We’re going to have a big meal for the March 17 kickoff and April 28 will be a big celebration to support the building financially,” Richards said. “There have been contributions over the years and the community has been great to buy at our fundraisings. The reality is that the economy has slowed down and we have to remain united in faith in prayer and sacrifice. To see the task completed is going to take a great deal of sacrifice on our part.”
The one-story, concrete and steel structure will cost between $900,000 and $1 million. The architect is Southern A&E of Austell and the general contractor is J&R Construction of Carrollton.
Richards said plans for the new center began about five years ago, led by the vision of Lynn Joyner, whose son Jason died of a heart attack.
“He wanted something for the young people coming up in the church,” Richards said. “It’s important that we build now. From May of last year to this year, we had 11 new babies born into our church. We know we’re going to need the space.”
Tyus Baptist Church was established in 1902 as Friendship Baptist Church. It moved to its present location in 1929, where the sanctuary was built. An expansion in the mid-70s added a two-story Sunday school building behind the church. The fellowship hall was built in 2002.
“The fellowship hall has an open meeting space, with bathrooms and kitchens,” Richards said. “It was set up for fellowship meals and children’s activities. Our fellowship hall is now at capacity, if not over. We’re going to use the family life center for meals and we may be able to convert the fellowship hall into some Sunday school space.”
Tyus Baptist Church is located at 4514 Tyus-Carrollton Road, at its intersection with Georgia Highway 5. Services include Sunday school at 9:45 a.m.; Sunday morning worship at 11; choir practice at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and Sunday evening service at 6:30. A Wednesday service, known as “Prayer and Praise,” is held at 7 p.m.
The church’s website is www.tyusbc.com and its Facebook page is Tyus-Baptist-Church. The phone number is 770-258-2124.
“We have about 200 to 250 members on our rolls,” Richards said. “We have about 125 active members and the average Sunday service attendance is about 90 to 110.
“I came to Tyus in 1999, as a 26-year-old pastor,” he said. “One of the first deacon meetings I attended, the decision was made to build the fellowship hall. This church has always had a vision for the future.”
The word “community” plays a big role in the life of the church and Richards wants to see that tradition continue.
“One of my biggest hopes is that the family life center will be a community building.” he said. “I would love to have community services there and a big community dinner.”
The title at the top of the Tyus Baptist Church Facebook page probably summarizes it best:
“We are a community of believers seeking to serve God and the community.”