Tabernacle Baptist Church lays foundation for expansion

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One of Wilson’s large churches is expanding with a $2.1 million project that will more than double its square footage.

“When I came here around eight years ago, we started praying about growth and our facilities,” said Joe Shakour, Tabernacle Baptist Church’s senior pastor. “We built phase one of the sanctuary and almost immediately outgrew that.”

Tabernacle Baptist Church was founded in 1955 and was on Tarboro Street, which is now the home of The SPOT youth center. Shakour said since moving to 1815 Airport Blvd. W., the facility’s 17,000 square feet quickly filled up.

“We’ve been at 80 percent capacity in the sanctuary for a while, and we’ve debated for years about building a new sanctuary or a new family life center,” he said. “We went to two services and used classrooms for our programs, but after studying and praying about it, it was clear the family life center was the next step.”

In June of 2017, the church went to the city’s design review board for approval of an 18,360-square-foot addition on the church’s 13 acres. The project got put on hold for a bit, though, as staff worked to gather the necessary funds.

Shakour said several “sacrifice Sunday” offerings combined with a capital campaign to get the bulk of the funding together, but the church is continuing to collect donations for the project. Farmville-based Farrior & Sons Construction broke ground on the project around June, but weather caused a few delays. Church building committee member Alan Evans said the plan is to finish the Dr. Otis Holmes Family Life Center in time for Easter.

“Dr. Otis Holmes was the foundational pastor of the church. He really helped Tabernacle become what it is today and started Wilson Christian Academy,” Shakour said. “He was faithful in setting the foundation we’re still on in terms of commitment to excellence, educational priorities and opportunities for kids.”

Shakour said the facility will honor Holmes’ legacy while providing a gymnasium, cafe space, teen center and more. He noted the church’s current buildings are often used by various community organizations for meetings and training sessions.

“We’re certainly plugged into our community, and we want to use that as a missions outreach as well,” he said.

Nearly 500 people attend Tabernacle Baptist Church for two Sunday services that are described as traditional, but informal. For more information, visit www.tbcwilson.com/.

“Our services are vibrant, Christ-centered worship with gospel songs and hymns,” Shakour said. “Every service feels like a revival service.”