Central Mission Expansion

What’s Next?

We’re at an exciting point in our exploration of what a building expansion could look like at Central Church. We’ve spent the last year praying, discerning, and working with our construction and architectural partners to better understand what both a master plan and a phase 1 plan could look like. We’re ready to share the visual concepts they’ve developed and ask the congregation’s response to supporting a building expansion project.

Join us during March 23 & 24 weekend services to participate in the congregational response to this question: Do you support Central Church furthering our mission through a building expansion project?


Central’s mission has always been defined by the word “oikos.” Simply defined, oikos is a New Testament word that means household. In our culture it means the 8-15 people God has supernaturally and strategically placed in our relational world.

God’s mission for the church is clear. We are to expand his kingdom by sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with our oikos, and inviting them to join his family. For decades God has blessed the ministry of Central as we have obeyed his mission to “seek and save those who are lost.” But what happens when the church is too full to invite our oikos? Do we abandon the mission? Of course not.

Central has always had a vision to reach more people for Christ. When the church building became too small, they added more space. We are at that point again. In order to help you reach your oikos, it’s time to add more space. As throughout our rich history, we believe as we pursue Christ’s mission above our own, we will see God’s faithfulness and provision. Will you join us as we continue to pursue Christ’s mission of saving lost people?


Central Church Expansion – FAQ


Why are we considering an expansion of the current facilities?

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Our goal is to expand the ministry of Central Church so it can be used as a tool to further our mission of enabling our people to share the love of Jesus with our relational world.

Here is a note from Pastor Jeff on why expansion is needed:

“When I took on the role of Lead Pastor at Central 12 years ago, our worship center welcomed an average of 700-800 adults on Sundays. With two services, we had abundant space for growth. Today, our attendance has soared to over 3000 adults and 600 children every weekend. During Easter, we held 6 services, serving more than 6000 people. Currently, we offer 4 weekend services, filling nearly 70% of our seating capacity. However, our children’s area has reached its limit, resulting in turning away families due to space constraints. If our growth continues at this rate, we will need overflow seating for all three Sunday services within a year, leading to weekly rejection of children.

This brings us to the essence of our mission, our commitment to oikos. To fulfill Christ’s mandate of seeking and saving the lost, and to create room for all in God’s house, we must expand. We cannot forsake Christ’s mission, cease inviting people to God’s house, or stop proclaiming the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Modifying our mission statement is not an option either. We have already exhausted efforts to delay expansion, such as shortening services and adjusting timings to accommodate more attendees. Moreover, we sought God’s wisdom through a 30-day prayer campaign, and there is no compelling reason from Him to postpone a building expansion. God’s guidance indicates that we should proceed cautiously and prayerfully with plans to expand our existing building.

Throughout our journey, whenever we trusted God with difficult decisions aligned with His mission, we experienced remarkable growth. Now, we stand at a pivotal faith crossroads, unwavering in our trust that adhering firmly to God’s mission of preaching the gospel to the farthest corners of society and seeking the lost will yield His faithfulness. We remain mission-focused and dedicated to expanding our capacity, creating room for all who seek the message of salvation and transformation through Jesus Christ.”

What are the trends that support the need to explore possible expansion?

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Growth of Central Church:

  • Central Church attendance trends for the last three years have had a significant increase across all core ministries. Projections based on historical trends can be seen in the chart to the right.

Growth of Sioux Falls:

  • With a 2023 population of 204,106, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota and the 125th largest city in the United States. Sioux Falls is currently growing at a rate of 1.93% annually, and its population has increased by 6.02% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 192,517 in 2020. The Sioux Falls metropolitan area has a population of nearly 250,000, which accounts for almost one-third of the state’s entire population. Source

What alternatives have we considered/pursued?

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“Multi-site” and why that approach may not be the answer:

  • Sioux Falls is relatively easy to navigate, with I-29 and I-229 offering easy access to our SW Campus.
  • The reality of weekly tear-down and set up would be a significant change from current Central programming.
  • We haven’t seen a successful model of a multi-site church in Sioux Falls.

Additional Services:

  • We have added services over the past 5 years and have gotten to a point of adding more would place to large a burden on volunteers and staff.

Regional Services:

  • In summer 2023, we launched “Regional Services” gatherings as an attempt to grow the church relationally as we grow numerically. This enabled us to utilize Oakwood Chapel for an additional worship experience. We discontinued Regional Services to ensure enough space for overflow of the service in the Worship Center.

How are we faithfully stewarding our current facility?

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Here are some ways we are currently using our facilities:

Worship Center

  • Over the last five years we have added a Saturday night service and an additional Sunday Morning service.

Student Central 

  • Reformatted its Wednesday Night programming two and a half years ago. They previously had a combined time of worship for High School and Middle School, then broke into small groups afterward. Due to a lack of space for small groups, they came up with a new format:
    • Middle School has small groups first, then worships.
    • High School worships first, then has small groups.

Kid Central

  • Fully utilizing preschool classrooms for Sunday morning children’s space.

Oakwood Chapel

  • We have invested in upgrading Oakwood Chapel to make it a more meaningful worship environment. Adding a larger center screen and two smaller side screens makes it feel more like the speaker is in the room. On February 12, 2023, we launched live worship in the room as well.
  • In summer 2023, we launched a Regional Service Concept during the 8:30am service. Due to the need for overflow space from the Worship Center, we discontinued regional services and now utilize Oakwood for overflow during all three services

    Office Space

    • We moved our reception area out into the concourse to utilize the former area as a space for 8 additional workspaces, currently being utilized by Residents and Interns.
    • Many of our private offices have double occupancy.
    • We utilized our former conference room and made a collaborative workspace for our Communication Team (6 individuals) and remodeled our former Green Room to be our new conference room.


    How might an expansion further our ability to carry out our mission?

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    With expansion we are able to:

    • Accommodate more people, which allows to reach further into the Sioux Falls community and invite people into our faith story.
    • Further maximize the impact Central Preschool & Kindergarten has on our community by inviting more kids and families be a part.
    • Equip each person to reach their oikos by using our events and worship services as a tool to share the gospel.

    Increasing the Impact and Influence of CPK:

    • Central’s Preschool and Kindergarten served over 330 children in the 2022/2023 school year, with each morning class at total capacity.
    • Enrollment for the 2024/2025 school year was opened in January 2024. As of the end of January (one month into enrollment), we’re at 79% capacity.
    • We are maxed out in our ability to reach the next generation and young families through CPK. Expanding the number of CPK classrooms allows us to reach more new families and integrate those families into the life of the church.

    How might an expansion enhance worship and fellowship opportunities?

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    Our goal for anyone attending our weekly worship services is that they have an amazing and equipping experience so they can reach their oikos during the week.

    By creating more space in the Worship Center and Kid Central, we can continuously provide a distraction-free environment for both adults and children alike. Adults can attend the worship and teaching allowing them to rest and learn. While their kids are taken care of by our team of faithful volunteers who equip them to share their faith with others.

    This is especially important for our first time guests who have children. We’d love for them to experience Central without hearing that Kid Central classrooms are at capacity.

    How do I submit ideas on how we can leverage an expansion to further our mission?

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    The Mission Facility Expansion Steering Committee covets your thoughts and input on how to have maximum kingdom impact with any dollars we invest in the facility we steward. (Mission Impact, not carpet color!)

    You can submit thoughts and ideas to: [email protected] and they will be reviewed by the committee at the next meeting. 


    What is the timeline for exploring an expansion project?

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    • March 2023 Elders affirmed forming a Mission/Facility Steering Committee
    • May 2023 Mission/Facility Steering Committee is formed
    • July 2023 TSP is hired as architecture firm
    • September 2023 Journey Construction is hired as Construction Manager At Risk
    • October 2023 First congregational gathering held to get feedback from congregation regarding this project.
    • December 2023 Elders approve $25MM max project budget
    • January 28, 2024 Contregational gathering to review campus master plan
    • March 2 & 3 Reviewing recommendations for phase 1 detailed design & cost during weekend services
    • March 23 & 24 Congregational response during weekend services

    Here’s a look at some potential future key dates, pending congregational response:

    • Summer / Fall 2024 Fundraising campaign
    • Fall / Winter 2024 Final development
    • Winter 2024 Construction bidding
    • Spring 2025 Potential construction starts

    Would a possible expansion accommodate future growth and changes in our congregation?

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    Yes, the steering committee is committed to engaging the architects and design teams to meet both our immediate and future needs.  We are also committed to making wise decisions and investments that maximize current construction dollars for future use.

    Check out the drafted master plan that was shared at the January 2024 congregational gathering. This indicates potential phases of a building project on the SW campus to maximize the land, understanding that a phased approach is likely based on budget.

    What is Pastor Jeff's commitment to a possible project?

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    “When I became the Lead Pastor at Central 12 years ago our average Sunday attendance was 700-800 adults in the worship center on weekends. With only two services we had plenty of space to grow. Today we average over 3000 adults and 600 children every weekend. On Easter weekend we had 6 services and served over 6000 people. We now have 4 weekend services and are filling nearly 70% of our seating capacity. While our Saturday services still have plenty of room to grow, our Sunday services are nearly full. Our children’s space is at capacity. Many Sundays we turn children and families away because there isn’t room for them. At our current growth rate in one year we’ll be forced to provide overflow seating for all three Sunday services. That means we’ll be turning children away every week, every service.

    I recognize that my role as Lead Pastor is critical to any expansion. I understand a transition to another Lead Pastor during this season would cripple the effort. We haven’t built Central around one personality, but a change of key leadership during a building expansion goes against all conventional wisdom. As a result I’m committed to continue in my role as Lead Pastor until a project is complete and the church is at a healthy place spiritually and financially. I will continue to raise up a strong teaching team and carry the bulk of the teaching ministry for now. Succession has certainly been discussed with the Elder Board, and I recognize the inevitability of my moving on from Central and retirement. But I am committed to seeing a project through until Central is at a place of future stability.” – Jeff Wheeler

    Pastor Jeff shared about the plan to develop the leadership & teaching team during the January 2024 congregational gathering. Watch the clip here. 

    How will the expansion project impact our current staff, and what measures are in place to support them and maintain a positive staff culture during this growth?

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    While growth comes with challenges, our team has shown great creativity in ministering to an increasing number of people in our existing facility. The staff perceives this expansion as both a challenge and a fantastic opportunity to connect more people with the mission given to us by God.

    We take pride in the continuity of our ministry staff over the last five years. Our team consists of individuals who are not only highly competent in their roles but also have a strong commitment to a “Kingdom-minded” approach in their work. Central Staff established six Staff Values five years ago, encouraging staff members to live by these values and holding them accountable through biannual reviews.

    Beyond that, our staff team has grown numerically over the past 5 years. Because of that, we are considering the possibility of hiring a dedicated Human Resources staff in 2024. This step aims to ensure that every member of our team feels heard, supported, and contributes to the development of an even healthier staff culture in the future.

    In this season of growth for the church, what steps are being taken to foster membership and a sense of "ownership" of Central Church's future among new attendees?

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    Addressing this challenge is an ongoing task for expanding churches. When someone new comes to Central, it’s not an expectation to immediately engage in serving or tithing. However, it is the responsibility of those who consider Central Church their “home” to actively participate in contributing to this church body. The current building expansion initiative provides a unique opportunity to encourage such involvement. In 2024, we plan to introduce more opportunities for participation in our Connection Class, where attendees can officially become members if they have previously been baptized by immersion.

    Additionally, we will actively encourage our people to discover the fruit of being a financially generous person and will be encouraging them to use their spiritual gifts to benefit the church community. It has been approximately eight years since our church leadership last sought a specific sacrificial commitment from the congregation (in 2015, during the debt retirement campaign). Now, a new generation of Central is called upon to take substantial ownership of the mission and future of the church.

    If Central is only in the exploration phase of a building project, why have we already hired a contractor?

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    We are exploring ways to better meet our mission as a church and a building project may help us do so. To explore this option, we’ve hired Journey Construction to be our Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR).  Journey Construction was hired through a thorough interview process that was preceded by their response (along with others) to a Request for Proposal our steering committee authored and sent out to several local commercial contractors.

    As our CMAR, Journey Construction will ultimately provide us with a Guaranteed Maximum Price for construction of the building project we’re exploring. The reason we hired a CMAR this early is so we can receive accurate construction cost estimates along the way during the design process to ensure we can design a building project that can meet a targeted budget once a budget has been established.  Journey will work closely with our Architect (TSP), our Steering Committee and Central Staff during this exploration phase of the project.

    Where can I watch the Mission Expansion informational gatherings that have been held?

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    How much would phase one of a building expansion cost?

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    In December 2023, the Central Elder board received the master plan from the Mission Expansion Steering Committee and approved a budget of $25MM for the first phase of building expansion. This approval included an allocation of $5MM from Central’s financial reserves to the project, leaving a remaining balance of $20MM to be funded through a fundraising campaign. The Elder board also committed to the project being completed debt-free once all pledges are completed.

    How would an expansion be funded?

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    The steering committee is using 1 Chronicles 29 as a biblical model for how to faithfully fundraise for the building expansion. In this scripture, King David is raising funds for the temple to be built. He first allocates material resources from the Israelite kingdom; “all of these in large quantities.” King David then gives his own wealth to the project, then challenges the leadership to commit. They respond willingly, joyfully and wholeheartedly, inspiring the entire congregation to also give.

    For Central, this looks like Central’s Elders committing the first $5MM to the project from reserves. The fundraising subcommittee is currently connecting with boards, leadership and staff to secure commitments. Following that, the committee will appeal to the full congregation asking them to consider supporting the campaign with the posture based on 2 Corinthians 9:7. 

    How will we pursue a debt-free expansion?

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    The Elders, Trustees, and the Mission Expansion Steering Committee are committed to avoiding permanent financing that would result from borrowing funds to cover construction costs in excess of pledges. In other words, the church will not add debt service payments to the operating budget after the completion of a project and all pledges are received.

    We are prayerfully and faithfully asking God to deliver pledges and commitments totaling 100% of the capital for our building expansion project. To achieve this goal, some donors may elect to give over a three-year pledge period, which could result in a mismatch between pledge receipts and construction costs. In this event, Central may establish a line of credit to cash flow the project through the course of construction as pledges are received. This line of credit would be completely secured (or collateralized) by donor pledges.

    After a public fundraising campaign is launched, we will establish milestones for pledge commitments before construction would begin. Raising $20MM will be a God-sized undertaking, but we have already seen His blessing through the incredible generosity from leadership and the congregation with early commitments to this project.

    Mission | Facility

    Steering Committee

    Bill Smith

    Former Elder, Co-Chair of Steering Committee

    Tom Rich

    Executive Pastor, Co-Chair of Steering Committee

    Jarrod Smart

    Elder, Property Board Chair, Construction Company Owner

    Catherine Dekkenga

    Former Trustee Member, Architect

    Bob Kiner

    Chairman of the 2006 Expansion

    Reggie Kuipers

    Trustee Member, Commercial Realtor

    John Barker

    Former Elder/Treasurer

    Jon Hiatt

    Former Elder, Major Gifts Officer

    Mandy Budig

    FCA Staff Member

    Robbie Veurink

    Structural Engineer

    Kathie Klock

    Property Board Member

    Eric Yunag


    Rachael Weiland

    Trustee Member, Digital Communications

    Ashley Flynn

    Major Gifts Officer