September 7, 2016

Local Church Turns Dance Studio Into Worship Facility

It’s a dance studio and ballroom all week long, but last weekend it turned into the Beltsville Seventh-day Adventist Church — and more than 300 people came to worship.

Now every Saturday, the ballroom will be a Sabbath sanctuary.

The Beltsville church opened a second campus for its church in the U.S. state of Maryland. The church now talks about the Ammendale campus and the Tech Road campus to designate its two sites.

“We rented the Hollywood Ballroom as a location. It’s perfect,” said Will Johns, associate pastor of the Beltsville church and campus pastor for the new site at Tech Road. “People who aren’t comfortable coming to a church, well, they still can feel comfortable coming to this location.”

And did the people come on Sept. 3. Organizers stopped counting at 305 people.

“We just couldn’t keep track after that,” Johns said.

He added that more than half the people were not from the Ammendale campus, the new term for what has been the Beltsville church for 60 years.

Pastor Tim Madding speaking at the Beltsville church's new Tech Road campus last Sabbath.

Adventist churches have met in unusual facilities in the past, including bank conference halls, community centers, and funeral homes. It was not immediately clear whether a dance studio was among those venues.

The new Tech Road campus fulfills a dream of pastor Tim Madding, who came to Beltsville two years ago to start a church-planting project. Roles changed, he became lead pastor, and church planting morphed into a multi-site campus.

“But it’s still the same vision,” Madding said. “It’s creating new places where new people can get to know and serve Jesus better.”

The ballroom is situated in an industrial park just 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) from the original church. Every week the group has to set up piping and drapery that creates Sabbath School rooms, the PA system, and lights and backdrops — everything needed to turn the everyday dance studio into a worshipful atmosphere for Sabbath.

The worship service is at 10: 45 a.m. at the Tech Road campus, followed by Sabbath School at noon.

“It gives us a chance to connect with new people after church,” said Johns.

The Ammendale campus, which has 900 members, has worship services at 9:30 a.m. and noon, with Sabbath School at 10:45 a.m. The two campuses are close enough, and the services staggered enough, that the pastors can shuttle back and forth between the campuses every Sabbath.