Lighthouse Baptist Church officially broke ground for its new church building Sunday, and construction will begin this week.
At their groundbreaking ceremony after the church service, many members of the church gathered on their new, 9-acre property to worship and celebrate.
After Pastor Bruce Burkett spoke to the congregation who joined at their new church site, church members sang “To God Be the Glory” and celebrated the start of a new era in the church’s growth.
The church, which was founded in Cortez in 1985, purchased the land on County Road L in 2019, five years after Burkett and his family moved to the area and began pastoring the church in 2014.
“As our church was just in the early stages of growing, we began praying about the future, and we thought about trying to expand. We knew it was time for us to start building, and so we proposed the plans to the church last November, and the vote was unanimous with this project,” Burkett said.
Construction on the building is expected to take at least 1½ years because the church will construct the building in phases to stay out of debt. The exterior of the building was placed in Phase 1, and the interior, in Phase 2.
“We're trying not to go into a lot of debt for this and trying to honor the Lord with the process,” Burkett said. “So, it’s important for me to say this from the forefront. We want to get it done as fast as God enables us to do it, but we want to be fiscally responsible and wise as we go through this process.”
Burkett said when he first came to Lighthouse, he never imagined they would outgrow the building.
“This wasn’t in my plans for the future. You know, somebody mentioned to me last Sunday, ‘Remember when you first came here, that you had said, ‘Oh, we’ll never need to move. We’ve got a huge building, and we're gonna be good.’ And, you know, I just never imagined that we would outgrow that building. And it’s totally, totally a God thing,” Burkett said.
“And I have to credit the people of Lighthouse Baptist Church for their willingness in doing what God’s commanded us to do as well. And that’s a big reason why our church has grown – the spirit of the congregation,” he said.
The current church building on Colorado Highway 145 is home to both the church and Lighthouse Christian Academy. In the past two years, church attendance has grown to 250 to 300 people each week.
The school, which serves kindergarten through 12th grade, also has grown, with 90 children registered for the 2023-2024 school year, compared with 80 children the previous year.
The current church building will be fully converted into a school. Plans include adding a new school at the site of the new church.
Even with the tight quarters, Burkett emphasized that all who want to attend the church would be welcomed by the whole congregation.
“Everyone’s welcome,” he said. “You know, we want to help everyone, no matter what their background is or what their circumstances of life are. I also say a lot of people used to come to our church and there were things that happened in the past that made them say, ‘We’ll never go back there again.’ But you know, we are a totally new church. We are just striving to be what God wants us to be and to be a help and a light for this community.”
Lighthouse Baptist holds services at 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday and hosts small groups and youth groups at 6 p.m. Wednesday. More information can be found at its website, https://lbccortez.org/.