Church plans to renovate old Crossings Cinema
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
May 13, 2013, 12:57
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The Crossings Cinema is located in the Lee PLaza shopping center in Prince George, just across the Hopewell line on Oaklawn Boulevard.
Bryan Briggs, lead pastor at Destination Church, was at a crossroads in his life. He was coming to the end of his term as a youth pastor and was unsure of the next move in his career of faith. It was on a road trip back from Missouri about five years ago that he saw the vision for a church, a church that would soon be his, a church that would be in a theater.
Now he leads a church with more than 1,000 followers and has plans to continue growing. The church is now working to renovate the former Crossings Cinema to expand services and play family-friendly movies.
In February of 2011, Destination Church held it’s first service at Regal Cinemas at Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights, with more than 400 people in attendance.
“We call ourselves a very contemporary, casual, Christian church, really geared to reach people that don’t go to church, never been to church or got burned out on church or didn’t like the traditional church,” Briggs said.
Since its start two years ago, the congregation has grown from about 400 to 1,250 people on average each week in attendance for services.
Destination Church, which holds three services on Sunday at 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., rents six of the auditoriums in the theatre for about $8,000 a month.
Briggs said they are not the only church to do that. He said Regal has a separate division that deals specifically with churches and now many churches across the country have made the move to hold services at movie theatre, a trend that he says has grown over the past three to five years.
Briggs, who has been pastoring for more than 15 years, started the process to begin the church a year prior. He said once a month for six months, a group gathered at Swaders Sports Park and shared their vision for what Destination Church would be. Slowly but surely the vision, as well as the funds, came together to start the church.
Two organizations that Briggs trained with, ARC, Association of Related Churches, and Assemblies of God, both of which help pastors start churches, have established that if a church builds a team of 35 people and raises $30,000 they will match the funds. Briggs said the funds were matched twice and they raised over $100,000 to begin Destination Church.
“One of our core values or beliefs is that for us what really matters is people,” Briggs said. “People are what matters. Buildings don’t matter.”
With that in mind, Briggs and his team began looking to expand their congregation, and he said there is not an opportunity for growth at Regal.
Briggs had Richmond in mind when looking to expand and instead his real estate agent showed him the Crossings Cinema property on Oaklawn Boulevard next to Fort Lee and right at the start of Hopewell. It is in the Lee Plaza shopping center with Farmer’s Foods and other stores. Though it was not what Briggs had originally planned, he decided that was going to be the second campus church for Destination.
Briggs is working on phase one for the Crossings, which will be named Destination Theatre. In a short period of time they will begin renovations, totaling around $150,000 to $200,000, to have the location ready for church services by September. He said there will be two services, one Saturday at 5 p.m. and one Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
The next phase of the project, which will begin shortly as well, is to have the location movie theatre ready. Briggs said the location will open first as a church and then he said they will run the theater.
Briggs said the theatre will be of the similar set up of the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, a discount movie theatre, showing movies that have just left the larger theaters. To get the building theatre ready, which includes installing high tech video and audio equipment, will cost around $250,000 to $300,000.
Briggs said the goal is to have the theater opening in summer of next year, with a possible grand opening around Memorial Day weekend.
Destination Church will never stray from being a movie theater church, Briggs said.
“In starting this church we felt we had a real identity, first with movie theaters,” Briggs said. “A kind of connection with who we are. We’re the movie theatre church in the area. It’s never been our vision to build a church building or have a traditional church site.”