LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In a time when many Americans report they're moving away from a religious affiliation, one Louisville church just keeps getting bigger.
Southeast Christian Church, which has more than 20,000 worshippers each week at its campuses, just announced another new campus, this one in Shelbyville.
Since opening satellite campuses in the last 10 years, the Chapel in the Woods off Moser Road in Jefferson County becomes the eighth satellite in this fall, and now, the newly announced Shelby County campus will become the ninth.
With music, visuals and a faithful message broadcast to multiple satellite locations from Elizabethtown to La Grange, Southeast Christian Church has what thousands are looking for.
“We love people, we try to reach out to them and they come,” executive pastor Tim Hester said about Southeast’s popularity.
Since opening its Blankenbaker campus in 1998, Southeast has grown rapidly. Now with 3,000 attendees and members from Shelby County alone, the announcement came as welcome news Sunday.
“It was kind of exciting,” said five-year member Michele Andriot, who lives in Shelbyville.
In a town where churches sit next to each other, Shelbyville continues to grow itself with schools and housing. Taking over the old Walmart/Tractor Supply property on Midland Boulevard, the church will build its new 26,000-square-foot campus. It means more to members than just saving gas money.
“We can get more involved because it is hard with kids and schedules and working to drive back and forth,” Andriot said of the future Shelby County church.
Thirty-year Shelbyville resident Helen Sims has been making the drive to the Blankenbaker campus since 1998.
“It’s great,” Sims said of the news. “It’s wonderful just having so many people in the community then we can see each other, you know, easier.”
Southeast reports since moving to the Blankenbaker location more than $130 million in giving to missions abroad and $0 in debt. Shelbyville is the next step in expansion.
“We felt like God was moving and we said, ‘It looks like we might have a campus here because people want to worship in the community in which they live,’” Hester said. “You have to drive 20-25 minutes to come to church here at our Blankenbaker campus primarily, but if we can have a church service for them right there in their community, well, all the better.”
The new Shelbyville campus is slated to take about 12 to 18 months to build.