Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly
MATTHEWS – Rev. Brent Watts of Abundant Life Church believed sacrificing for another church would help his own congregation grow. He was right.
After travelling missionary Antonio Marquez Sr. spoke to Watts’s congregation about serving in the Dominican Republic in October 2011, Watts felt called to help build a church there.
While his church members worked to raise funds to pay off the debt their church owed on a $305,000 loan – used to build their current auditorium and building eight years ago – Watts asked the congregation to look past its own needs and reach out and help others.
Watts believes God placed this message in his heart: “If you help a church build a building they can’t afford, the Lord will help you build a building you can’t afford.”
Within sixth months after launching the fundraising campaign in January 2012, Abundant Life Church raised $15,000 to build a church in La Parcela, Dominican Republic.
Watts and his wife, Paula, flew there in summer 2013 to give the dedication sermon at Iglesia Pentecostal Unida, Inc. He said the church’s members were grateful to have the new building.
Soon after, Watts said the amount of money coming into Abundant Life’s building fund doubled and continued to do so over the next two years. The church paid off the $305,000 loan this year and secured a new loan, in the amount of $790,000 for the church’s continued expansion.
Abundant Life broke ground on the expansion project on Jan. 25, a Sunday. A new building will be attached to the back of the current 3,600-square-foot building, increasing the structure size to 7,050 square feet. This will expand the size of the current sanctuary and include two additional classrooms.
The church’s expansion will increase current capacity limits from 111 to 250 people.
Watts said church services currently run at 80 percent occupancy.
“Right now we are using everything we have,” he said. “… I am extremely excited to have some room to make it possible to go to multiple services (by increasing the number of weekly services).”
The church’s parking lot also will increase from 42 parking spaces to 97, and the grounds will be improved with more tree canopy and other landscaping beautification projects.
Abundant Life launched its capital stewardship campaign for the building fund Feb. 15 with a theme “Provisions for the Vision.” Each service through March will focus on the reasons for the campaign, Watts said.
Watts worked with professional stewardship campaign company Foundations Consulting to structure the plan. Five church teams are currently working on various parts of the project.
“Some think we could raise half the loan debt in three years,” Watts said. “We’ll have to see how it progresses.”
Deloris Washington, a 73-year-old Indian Trail resident, is a part of the expansion project’s prayer team. Washington was living in Maryland and attending United Pentecostal of Clinton in 2001 when she felt called to move to the Charlotte area.
“I didn’t have any reason to move here,” she said. “… When I connected with Abundant Life Church, I understood my calling – to be a part of this church’s growth.”
Washington moved to Indian Trail in September 2004 and became a part of Abundant Life shortly after.
“My prayer is to see this church enlarge and reach the community … to see the things I’ve prayed for, for many years, come to be – it’s really a dream and prayer and vision come to realization,” Washington said.