By Lance Hickey
Asheville – In our last Where We Worship series article, we highlighted a new church phenomenon sweeping across the United States and the globe. The multi-site church campus is a model that many churches have begun to follow, and is now hitting the area with a definite impact on the small country churches that used to be the backbone of mountain communities.
In July, we covered a new campus church plant in Marshall from New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Leicester. For this week’s edition of our Where We Worship series, we had the opportunity to cover Biltmore Church’s West Asheville campus, a campus that sits close to the Leicester border.
The campus, located on Johnson Boulevard in West Asheville, holds two Sunday morning services, 9:15 am and 11 am. I attended its first service. The West Asheville campus now sits in a renovated former church building.
As I arrived on campus, parking attendants directed traffic, welcoming congregants as they entered the facility. The sanctuary, donned in contemporary lighting, resembled that of a concert hall rather than a church. Large video screens hung from the walls and ceiling.
As service began, the ambiance of the room shifted as the lighting in the sanctuary dimmed. People rose to their feet in anticipation of a time of worship and music. Fog flooded the stage, entering from fog machines stage left.
Then Biltmore Church West Asheville campus worship pastor Logan Hammond welcomed the congregation as service began. The band played the first piece of the day as the room filled with worshipers, many lifting hands as a sign of worship to God.
As the first song of the day came to a close, a short video played on the screens before the worship team stepped forward to continue their melody. They sang “What King is This,” a song on the new album the church recently released to the public. Worshippers sang aloud in a united voice, passionately taking in each word.
As the band finished leading the congregation in a time of music and worship, they played Reckless Love, a popularized contemporary Christian song by Cory Asbury of Bethel Music.
Following the church’s weekly offering, the time came for Biltmore Church’s Sunday morning message. A large movie-like screen etched down center stage. Biltmore Church lead pastor Bruce Frank appeared on the screen from the church’s main Arden campus.
Concurrent to the church’s other campuses, Biltmore’s messages are conveyed via simulcast at the West Asheville campus. This also serves as the first simulcast service we have covered in our series.
It proved to be a unique, lifelike message as Frank spoke on “Who’s Your One,” communicating on the power of invitation, encouraging the congregation to reach out to others in their everyday life. His communication style was laid back, adding in humor while conveying his message. As Frank concluded his message, the center screen lifted as a church campus pastor stepped forward to say a few words and announcements before service was dismissed.
Service at Biltmore Church West Asheville proved to be contemporary in its presentation, utilizing technology as a key factor in relaying its message. The campus, led by campus pastor Jeremy Woods, who was out of town, began more than three years ago and saw instantaneous growth since the West Asheville campus opened.
While Arden serves as the main church campus, there are also campuses in East Asheville, Hendersonville, Franklin and a Spanish facility located on the Arden campus, along with West Asheville. The campus-simulcast model is practiced at all of Biltmore church’s six locations.
Bruce Frank has led Biltmore Church since relocating with his family from Texas in 2008. Woods has served as campus pastor in West Asheville since the campus opened nearly four years ago.
In the past decade, Biltmore Church has seen expansive growth thanks in large part to the multi-site campus growth method. A question of whether the congregation would be receptive to the simulcast method seems to have been answered as Biltmore hosts more than 7,000 weekend attendees across its six campuses.
Look for Biltmore Church to continue its growth track including at its West Asheville campus as the church looks to make its presence in the West Asheville and Leicester communities.