By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
Randy Norris said he keeps finding himself getting emotional every time he walks into the building where his church now meets.
When he looks around, he sees the labor of love that his church members have put in every Wednesday and Sunday for weeks. He sees the gutting and rebuilding they’ve done on the inside of the old ITT Tech building in Bessemer — the building that was just what they needed.
“It already had classroom space that was divided in the perfect way for us to use it,” he said.
And he sees the hand of God that’s been faithful to provide exactly what his congregation — The Station Church — has needed for the past 12 years.
Keeping an eye out
“From the very beginning of planting the church, when it was just me and my wife stepping out from where I was pastoring and my wife was a full-time school teacher, God has given us what we needed,” Norris said. “It was a really scary thing, but God immediately caught us and let us know He’s got us. It’s been remarkable all along the way.”
The Station Church met first at Bessemer Academy for a few months, then moved to Brock’s Gap Intermediate School in Hoover for about seven years. For the past four years or so, it’s met at Southeastern Bible College.
But Norris and other church leaders were always keeping an eye out for a place they could call their own, and when this building in Bessemer became an option, they spent some time in prayer and knew it was for them.
The congregation celebrated its grand opening service Sept. 23.
“It will be nice to have our roots,” Norris said. “People often visit us and ask, ‘Is this where you’re planning to stay?’
This will give us more of a hub that people can come to and expect us to be here for the long haul.”
But even so, The Station Church has never been about a building — and he wants it to stay that way.
“That’s why we’re called The Station Church — people don’t go to a station to stay; they gather because they’re headed out somewhere else,” Norris said. “God has called us to the Great Commission, and throughout the week we are headed other places. But we realize that the building is a great tool, and we’re thankful for it.”
The church is “a family built on faith and fun,” Norris said. “It’s a casual, comfortable place, but we are serious about our faith.”
And with their strong focus on preschool, children and youth ministries, a large percentage of their congregation is under 18, he said.
“It’s really all about family,” Norris said. “No matter how much the church has grown, we all know each other.”
Barry Cosper, associational missionary/director of missions for Bessemer Baptist Association said Norris has done “an outstanding job” leading this church plant.
“They will be a church who will reach the disenfranchised, those who have become disillusioned with the traditional church and individuals who prefer a contemporary worship experience,” Cosper said. “Their commitment to missions will enable them to identify with the needs of individuals of the community.”
Norris said that’s his hope for The Station Church.
“We’re a very missions-minded church,” he said. “Our people are about to bust — it’s an exciting time for us.”