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'Building for hope': Community Alliance Church makes room for further growth, new followers

Community Alliance Church as it looks today, after a recent remodel and expansion. New exterior stonework and colored siding give the building a modern facelift. The main entrance seen here is one of the new additions. Marie Johnson / Tribune1 / 6
An updated and expanded kitchen provides more space for food prep. Marie Johnson / Tribune2 / 6
A large new fellowship area, located just inside the main entrance and near the kitchen, features a mini stage, television sets and plenty of seating. Marie Johnson / Tribune3 / 6
A 40-foot extension onto the church's sanctuary has made room for 100 additional seats. There's a new lighting and sound system, and other technology and security upgrades have been made. Marie Johnson / Tribune4 / 6
An atrium in the main entryway connects the main entrance, seen to the right, the fellowship hall, to the left, the children's wing, straight ahead, and the sanctuary, behind. Marie Johnson / Tribune5 / 6
The church as it appeared before. The former main entrance seen here has now been reworked into a side office entrance. DL Tribune File Photo6 / 6

The Community Alliance Church is settling into its newly renovated and expanded space.

After breaking ground in August 2016, the major construction project at the church was ongoing through this past fall and wrapped up in early October.

The remodel gives the church a fresh, modern makeover inside and out, and has created more room to accommodate a growing membership and new opportunities for ministry in the community.

"We were building for hope," said Senior Pastor Joel Arendt. "We wanted to provide a place where more people could hear about the hope of Jesus Christ. We weren't building to be ostentatious or say, 'Hey, look at us!' We weren't building so that we could have a bigger facility, but so that our facility wouldn't limit us in what we were trying to do."

Arendt said space had become an issue at the church prior to the remodel, and there were concerns that potential newcomers would be turned off by a packed parking lot or overcrowded sanctuary.

"We were limited in what we could do by the size of our facility, but now, there's more space available for more people to come in and find Christ," said Arendt. "This facility is a tool, a tool through which God can work. It's not a monument to us."

Highlights of the remodel include: a new main entrance leading into a large indoor fellowship area and expanded kitchen; a 40-foot extension onto the sanctuary, which allows for 100 additional seats; a new foyer area and bathrooms; a larger preschool and nursery area; updated office spaces; technology upgrades such as a new lighting and sound system; security improvements, especially to the children's wing; a new heating and cooling system; and new LED lighting throughout.

Arendt said the additional seating in the sanctuary has already come in handy, as the church's recent Christmas Eve service drew an especially large crowd. He's heard a lot of positive comments from people who have seen the finished overhaul.

"The first Sunday after we opened up the new sanctuary, a guy said, 'Wow, this is amazing,'" recalled Arendt. "People are saying it's classy, open and bright. Everything is new, it's up-to-date, and it's very, very modern. People say it's really nice, and it all works. I walk around and think, 'Wow, it feels like a totally different church.'"

The original building was erected in about 1987, when the church had about 100 people, Arendt said. Today, it's a church of about 1,000 people, with an average Sunday attendance of close to 500. In addition to traditional and contemporary weekly services, the church hosts special programs, events and ministries for youth, women, seniors and others.

Plans for the renovation and expansion had been in the works since Arendt first came to the church eight years ago. He said initial talks were held at a retreat for church elders, and after much prayer and discussion, they determined that some major changes to the building were needed. Funds to pay for the project were raised entirely in-house.

Community Alliance Church is located at 408 Elm Street, on the northwest side of town. It's visible from Highway 59. For more information, visit or call 218-847-2266.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 3-year-old son and baby daughter, and their yellow Lab.

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