Old Car Dealership Reborn as House of Worship

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Dec 18, 2009 at 4:32 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--The crisis in the auto industry has left thousands of car dealerships across the country abandoned, all of them waiting for new owners…or the wrecking ball.

Well, almost all of them. In Huntington, Indiana the town’s newest church has taken up residence in the former Pace Ford dealership. It’s a novel use for the structure that Awakening Community Church’s pastor, Jeff Carroll, recognized immediately.

“I realized I could see ministry being done here without a lot of construction,” Carroll says. “I could see that we could come right in here and do some minor things and be able to meet people’s needs immediately.”

Luckily auto dealerships and churches seem to share the same spatial needs. The old car dealership showroom, which once sported flashy new Fords, now hosts a fellowship area with snack bar, couches and café’ tables, even a shop that sells coffee mugs and t-shirts with the church logo on them. And sales rooms where once wheeling and dealing took place have been transformed into Sunday school rooms. And of course the old Pace Ford service area is still a service area, but without the oil and exhaust fumes. It’s now a 10,000 square foot sanctuary. Pastor Carroll beams with pride over his new church.

“Every week we are seeing lives changed and marriages put back together we’re seeing people come off the street and being reborn. It’s wonderful.”

Services at Awakening Community Church are held Sunday and Wednesday night.

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