Senior pastor Farnsworth Coleman Sr.'s prayer is that the story and vision of New Birth Outreach Church, of which he is the founder, will inspire others that anything is possible with faith.
He says the vision God has given New Birth is a big one.
In fact, it is such a large undertaking, he admits it may not all get done on the more than 39 acres of land the church owns in Midland, Ga.
The church's vision has six phases. Phase one was the building of a new sanctuary. It opened in 2009.
The second phase, currently under construction with a price tag of $3 million, is a future life center. It will be a 22,000-square-foot building, including a fellowship hall that seats 500, a full kitchen, a chapel, a huge multi-use room, office space and classrooms. Webb Construction expects to complete the project by this time next year.
Coleman said the current church building doesn't have a room to host large functions such as dinners, so they are being held off campus. There are only four offices and the church nursery is overflowing.
New Birth's third phase is the building of the Emanuel Preparatory School of Math and Science, a private school for boys in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Until that building becomes a reality, classes will be held on the lower level of the future life center, a grade being added each year.
The fourth phase involves the construction of a retirement assisted-living facility. The fifth is a sporting complex and the sixth is a transitional home for men.
"It is a lot, but I believe it will happen. It needs to happen," said Coleman.
The pastor believes most, if not all, will take place on the existing campus on Veterans Parkway.
New Birth began in a small building on Norris Avenue in 2002 with just 61 members. It now has 762, more than the sanctuary will hold.
It was in 2004 that the church bought the first 26 acres of the land it now calls home. Coleman laughed and said the purchase just about emptied the treasury.
"God has been good to us," he said. "We have come a long way."
Coleman said it's important to reach more youth and young families. The new facilities will help.
Coleman is 64. He and wife, Patricia, have four children, seven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
On Oct. 26, Coleman is scheduled to retire from the role of senior pastor. On Dec. 14, one of his children, 41-year-old Carlos Coleman, currently pastor of administration and the person overseeing the construction, will be installed as senior pastor.
"I'm not going anywhere," the
elder Coleman said with a smile. "I'll have an office."
Carlos Coleman remarked, "Each year it has been our goal to reflect the namesake of the church, outreach. Over the past three years, we have sown over $100,000 in outreach efforts to the community and across the world. The pictures posted on our board room walls reflect some of our largest outreaches and serve as a reminder each time we meet, what God has called us to do as a church."
He believes that the facilities being built will be a plus for the community.
"You don't have to make a big difference but you have to make a difference," the elder Coleman said.
Talking about the planned school, Carlos Coleman said, "The focus is to have the best and brightest young men of this community compete on an international level in the areas that are lacking in our country as it pertains to education."
Planned are partnerships with Georgia Tech and NASA.
As for why boys only, he explained that families need strong men to lead the family.
"Look at how many men we have incarcerated," he said. "Strengthen the male, strengthen the family. The concept of the school is that if our young men in the community are prepared, our young ladies will be blessed by that training."
He said male involvement in New Birth is above average and provides the platform for this vision to come to pass.
"My father preached a series one time 'Why Men Hate Church.' From those teachings, we have always had an abundance of men who love serving God," he said.
Farnsworth Coleman said church members are excited about the growth.
"People can't follow you if you aren't moving," he said.