WICHITA — City Life Church is living up to its name and moving to the heart of where a lot of Wichita city life happens.
The Southern Baptist church is moving to a new home at the Orpheum Theatre at First and Broadway.
“It’s just very unusual for a church to make a move like this,” says Joey Fink, a pastor at the church.
The almost 2-year-old City Life has been meeting at Abode Venue, but Fink says the congregation has outgrown the space.
He says there are about 400 people who attend the church weekly and as many as 700 for some services.
Fink says there are several reasons for locating at the Orpheum.
“People from all over the city can be downtown in 10 minutes,” he says. “We also believe in the downtown.”
Fink says the church considered several possible sites but felt the Orpheum would offer the maximum impact for its congregation and the city. He says the Orpheum rental allows the church to open with little overhead “versus tying ourselves to debt.”
He says that will allow City Life to concentrate on its various ministries throughout the city.
The church will lease space on the Orpheum’s second floor for offices and youth ministry areas. Craig Simon of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal for almost 3,700 square feet on the second floor.
The first City Life service at the Orpheum will be Aug. 18.
“It’s great for us because we have a regular tenant on a day of the week and at a time where we normally wouldn’t have an event otherwise,” says Jennifer Wright, Orpheum president. “Sunday morning isn’t a prime-time spot for performances.”
The lease is for five years.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to expose … hundreds if not thousands of people every year to the theater,” Wright says.
She says it’s also a great opportunity to introduce the theater to children.
“It’s really important for us to establish a new generation of Orpheum fans and supporters.”
Wright says there are other potential nontraditional Orpheum users out there.
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Who needs us?’” she says. “The more embedded in the community that the Orpheum can become, the better off we will be.”