North Buncombe – Under a rainy sky, about 100 people braved the cold rain to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for a new building at Brookstone Church on Sunday evening (Jan. 9). The new facility will house Youth Culture, the church’s youth ministry for grades 6 through 12.
Surrounded by wooden stakes with pink flagging tied to their tops to outline the structure, the group listened to Rev. Sullivan Brady, youth pastor at Brookstone, who led the ceremony. The groundbreaking lasted about 25 minutes as several key people helped turn over the first shovels of dirt to begin the project. Earlier, the Tribune had a chance to talk with Rev. Brady about the new project.
“This is going to be a building specifically for the students to come and have a place of belonging, to be ministered to. Because we have a service every single week and last semester our average attendance was 145 students and our current space for students is overcapacity,” Brady explained. “So we have a need for a larger capacity area and that’s what this building is.”
According to Brady, the building will be a two-story structure of 10,000 square feet, including offices for the Youth Culture staff. The space will be large enough to house 499 students during services. It will also house places for students to come and hang out after school and do their homework and obtain counseling throughout the week. There will also be facilities for students to help with the ministry doing photo and video editing. A large area will double as an activity area as well as where services will be held. This building is be attached to the current church and will cost $1.85 million with Brantley Construction, the general contractor.
When asked how the new facility would benefit their current students Brady explained, “We believe students, whether in church or not, are asking two main questions – who loves me and where do I belong…Students are wondering these things and looking for a place to belong. They’re looking for someone to love them and that’s what Youth Culture is here to do. We’re here to offer them the love of Jesus by giving them a team of small group leaders that are Godly people who are going to invest in these students’ lives…This is the number one reason an adult stays connected to their faith through their college years. If they put their faith in Christ as a high schooler, one of the number one things they credit as a reason they stay connected to their faith is a relationship with a Godly adult. So we want to answer that question, ‘who loves me’? Well, we have a team of Godly adults…here at Youth Culture.”
Brady says he sees a lot of pressure on students from social media, identity questions and peer pressure. “You’re supposed to identify with this, you’re supposed to identify in this and the Word of God is clear in giving us an identity from our Creator of who we are and students need that.”
According to Brady, this new building and the ministry that it will house “will make a difference in the community for years to come. These students who are children now will be the adults and leaders, the fathers and the mothers in the community in just a few short years. So what the Lord is allowing us to do with this building will make an impact on Weaverville and the surrounding community for years to come.”
Asked why Youth Culture is such a draw for students, Brady said, “I think we speak the truth. I think students, even if they don’t look like it on the very surface, that they’re seeking and looking for something that is going to be true, that is not going to expire on them.” He added, “So many of the different things they turn to, different pleasures or different things they get wrapped up in – they have a short shelf life. What we’re giving them is we open God’s Word every single week and preach the Gospel and we see students trust Christ as their savior. We’ve seen over 120 students trust Christ…in the last two years and this is meaningful to students and they tell their friends and they invite them.” Brady said the new building would be completed in about 10 to12 months.