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Faith Chapel Christian Center

Image: Faith Chapel Christian Center — Located in Birmingham, Alabama, this Monolithic Dome mega church was built in 2000. It is a 280ft diameter dome with 61,575sf (1.414 acre).

Faith Chapel Christian Center — Located in Birmingham, Alabama, this Monolithic Dome mega church was built in 2000. It is a 280ft diameter dome with 61,575sf (1.414 acre).


Image: Largest — With its diameter of 280 feet, FCCC is the largest Monolithic Dome built to date. A Force-5 tornado did only minor cosmetic damage in 2011.
Image: A complex of 5 Monolithic Domes — Each dome houses a specific group or activity.
Image: Architect’s Model — The 5 domes include a children’s play area, café, youth disco, gym and bowling alley.
Image: Worship Center — After completing a $15 million, Monolithic Dome worship center in 2000, FCCC decided to add 6 more domes in phases.
Image: Sanctuary — It has a seating capacity for approximately 3,000.
Image: Huge interior — This dome encloses 61,575 square feet. This chapel utilizes about 1/3 of this dome’s space.
Image: Surface area — Faith Chapel’s dome has a surface area of approximately two acres or 86,000 square feet. It has been covered with porcelain tile.
Image: Porcelain tile is being applied over the Airform.
Image: 23" by 23" porcelain tile being applied over exterior. The tile has a lifetime measured in centuries.
Image: Inflating the Airform — A crew inflated the Airform and constructed the dome shell.
Image: Show here just after inflation, structure is completed from the inside.
Image: Plans — They included FCCC expansion.
Image: This is a beautiful, Tuscan-style, Monolithic Dome Bowling Alley, with 24 lanes, available to church members and guests. Shown here is a small portion of this unique facility.
Image: It’s hard to imagine the amount of fun children can have in this Monolithic Dome. It’s more than 15,000 square feet of vertical and horizontal play area. Faith Chapel church is designed for families, with seven-day-per-week activities.
Image: These are the six Monolithic Domes, 140’ and 160’ diameters, that comprise “The Bridge” of the Faith Chapel Christian Center. The domes attractively accommodate a bowling alley, children’s activity center, a café, double basketball court stadium and much more. All of the domes are covered with porcelain tile.
Image: At its center, the central dome has a spectacular glass climbing wall that reaches to the top and above. Visitors can climb the wall or a circular stairway and view the city.

World’s largest Monolithic Dome Church- September 2003

Birmingham, Alabama is home to the largest diameter Monolithic Dome Church in the world. Built in 2000, Faith Chapel Christian Center measures 280-feet in diameter with a seating capacity of approximately 3,000. The dome encloses 61,575 square feet.

Faith Chapel Added Six More Domes – 2008

After completing a $15 million, Monolithic Dome worship center in 2000, Faith Chapel added six smaller interconnected domes in a $16.5 million project over the next few years. They are huge domes of 144 and 164 foot diameter.

Plans include bowling alley, teen and child entertainment, adult nightclub

Jesse Harris and Lee Gray of LPDJ Architects, LLC of Salt Lake City, Utah did the plans that include:

  • 144’ dome for children’s play area – 6 groupings of Soft Toys and a 50’ long Noah’s ark.
  • 144’ dome for an Adult Bistro with stage for entertainment and projection on the dome’s interior for theme atmosphere.
  • 144’ dome for a Youth Disco with stage for entertainment and projection on the dome’s interior for theme atmosphere.
  • 164’ dome for two NBA size basketball courts, fitness rooms, platform for youth services on Sunday, and 1200-seat banquet room.
  • 164’ dome for 12 lane bowling alley, commercial kitchen, and food court.
  • 144’ dome as a connecting lobby with a climbing tower.

“Part of our goal is not just to minister to spiritual needs but to the social needs of people,” said Blaylock. “We can tell people not to go to clubs that have smoking and drinking, but people still have social needs. What we’re trying to provide is an alternative.”

Ground Breaking – June 2005

After a year of behind-the-scenes financial planning, designing and redesigning, Michael D. Moore, pastor of Faith Chapel Christian Center (FCCC) welcomed church members, city and state officials, William Robertson of Monumental Contracting Services, Monolithic President David B. South, and Architect LeLand Gray for the groundbreaking ceremony of the six-dome addition. The new domes serve as the Family Activity Center for FCCC.

Due to inclement weather, a large pile of dirt was moved indoors and the ceremony began! Pastor Mike and his wife, Kennetha Moore shared a special presentation and gave words of encouragement to all in attendance. He testified that God was a part of the project. He said, “God was involved with this. I don’t think you can do anything without God being involved in it. I believe with all my heart that God is involved with this project. This is important!”

A debt-free project

Pastor Mike is especially proud of the congregation and community for collectively pre-paying for the $16.5 million expansion. It is a debt-free project. He said, “We believe with our hearts and we say it with our minds that we believe that we’ve received this family activity center. It is beautiful. It is excellent, first class, built without a mortgage, built without delay. It will be up in no time.”

Kudos

Architect LeLand Gray said, “This is a ground breaking event. More than just a ceremonial turning over of dirt. I have never been more proud of a project that I have been involved with than this one. Never worked with a group of people that I was more impressed with.”

State Senator, ED McClade said, “As we pass, we will leave a clear imprint of our footprints on the sand bank of time, figuratively speaking. Those that come after us will know that people pass this way and have concern for humanity.”

Glamorizing Faith Chapel Christian Center’s Word Dome – November 2005

The beautiful 280-foot diameter Word Dome, completed by Faith Chapel Christian Center (FCCC) of Birmingham, Alabama in 2000, is growing lovelier with each passing day. In fact, you might say that it’s happening one square at a time — a porcelain tile square, that is.

Currently, a team from Monolithic Constructors, Inc. is laying a mantle of American Marazzi tiles over the entire, two-acre, 86,000-square-foot, outside surface area of FCCC’s Word Dome.

The team will cover the bottom half of the dome with 20-inch square tiles and the upper half with 13-inch square tiles, using five silicon strips for adhesion.

David B. South, Monolithic’s president, explained just how you can get a flat, non-bendable, porcelain tile to effectively stick to the curved surface of a dome. “The bottom part of the dome, where the 20-inch tiles are applied, is so close to flat that it only raises the tile edges 1/100th of an inch,” he said. "But as we work our way up the dome with the 20-inchers, that gap will grow larger, so we will switch to the 13-inch tiles. With the smaller tiles, we’ll get a gap of 1/10th of an inch.

“And we really want those gaps,” David continued. “The gaps will allow rain and air to go underneath the tile. Porcelain tiles are harder so they won’t absorb the moisture. Any rain that gets under the tiles will hit the fabric of the Air Form and run off.”

Word Dome’s glamorizing process will take nine semi-loads of tile and approximately 30 days of work.

“Faith Chapel is doing this for two reasons,” David said. “The dome will look just gorgeous, so one reason is aesthetics. But this will also give them a permanent, outside surface. The tiles will provide maximum protection from both weather and the sun.”

Pastor Reveals Successful Church Development Strategy – June 2005

Wise sayings and welcoming smiles at the Summit

He moved before his audience of 160 young and old church administrators, pastors and leaders with the energy of a rock star, smiled and said, “Leadership effectiveness is connected to your mind set. Successful leaders think certain things and know certain things. You can’t think low and act high.”

He is Dr. Michael D. Moore, better known as Pastor Mike of Faith Chapel Christian Center (FCCC) in Birmingham, Alabama, and he spoke at FCCC’s first Church Development Summit.

Held in May 2004, the Summit was a presentation of Pastor Mike’s program for successful pastoring, based on what he believes are God’s instructions, on what the Bible says, and on his convictions and experiences.

From humble beginnings

In 1978, Pastor Mike, then a law student at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, was called to the ministry. Three years later, he and just four members established FCCC in Pastor Mike’s home. But membership continued growing, so FCCC made several moves to ever-larger facilities — until 1999.

That year, FCCC purchased 37.6 acres of land and broke ground for a Monolithic Dome megachurch, with a diameter of 280 feet and a height of 72 feet. Its sanctuary, dubbed the Word Dome, provides 61,575 square feet of space, with seating for 3000, classrooms and offices.

Moreover, by December 2002 FCCC found itself debt-free and planning the purchase of an additional 100 acres and the construction of six more Monolithic Domes for its City of Deliverance. With ministries to serve the spiritual, physical, emotional and social needs of every age group in its current membership of 5000, that project should be completed in 2007.

A God-given vision

Pastor Mike believes that he, as well as other ministers, receive what he calls, “God-given visions.” He doesn’t hesitate to describe the one that prompted FCCC to build their Monolithic Dome.

Pastor Mike claims that he had no intention of building a dome. He wanted a run-of-the-mill structure that would seat 1000 — until — walking into his den one day he heard God say, “Dome.”

“Not only was the Spirit telling me ‘dome,’ He was telling me ‘dome for 3000 people.’ That really scared me,” the Pastor admitted. “Where were we going to get the money? How were we going to pay for it?”

God instructed Pastor Mike in what to do. He said, “if you’re going to get God to work with you, you must obey all the way and do whatever He says. Don’t ever be afraid to teach on finances in the church. For about two years prior to our building project, the Lord had me teaching on money and prosperity. It’s okay to teach on prosperity as long as your motives are right. A right motive is that you want God’s people to prosper and enjoy all that Jesus died to give them.”

According to Pastor Mike, giving is a significant, necessary part of prosperity. He said, “It’s wrong to prosper yourself through your preaching. You should prosper yourself through your giving. The Pastor should strive to be the biggest giver in his congregation. Each year, our church contributes a significant amount of money to other ministries and para-church ministries. We were able to pay for our development and become debt free because of our commitment to give.”

Perils and cautions

A God-given vision, Pastor Mike warned, must be protected. Three dangers can destroy it and the potential success of any pastor. He named and commented about each:

Comparing yourself to others. “Nobody is as good at being you as you are,” Pastor Mike said. “Don’t compare. Comparing means you’re operating out of fear and that leads to discouragement.”

Overextending yourself or being where you should not be. Overextended leadership has no true focus. “You must learn to pace yourself and your church.”

Distractions or more specifically “accepting assignments that are not from God” which result in wasted resources. “You must come to Jesus, hear what he says and do it.”

Positive action

Personal devotion headed Pastor Mike’s to-do list. “Preachers don’t fail because they don’t love God or their people. They fail because they grow spiritually weak,” he said and followed this by confessing a personal mistake. “I got so focused on people, I neglected my own soul. So I could not prosper, and people needed to see me prosper.”

Commitment and priorities: Those should be to God, your spouse, your children, your church — in that order. Pastor Mike warned against putting the church before family. “Don’t save everybody else and lose your wife and your kids.”

Establishing God’s word as the authority: Evaluate your entire ministry to make sure it’s operating according to God’s word.

Simple and practical teaching: “People don’t need a fancy message. They need the Word of God taught in a simple way that they can apply to their everyday lives.”

Commitment to giving and receiving: “You will not succeed if you, your leaders, or your church are stingy.”

Commitment to integrity: “God is a God of integrity. With no integrity, a pastor doesn’t have influence.”

Commitment to excellence: “People are influenced by what they see. So elevate yourself and your people. I’m talking about practical things: personal grooming and cleanliness of your facilities. Excellence attracts, so give them an attractive picture.”

Good organization: “Have a written plan that your members and newcomers can follow. You don’t want people to feel lost. Folks shop for churches like they shop for clothes, so we lose people if we’re not organized.”

Assign responsibility, not titles: “Sometimes pastors give people titles too quickly. Instead of titles, we should give responsibility. Responsibilities have a probationary period. It’s hard, often hurtful, to take away a title. But a responsibility can be more easily altered, or the person can be retrained.”

Other voices

While Pastor Mike concentrated mainly on spiritual advice, Debra Blaylock and Abraham Snell, two other FCCC ministers, gave practical information and tips.

Minister Blaylock stressed the importance of properly documenting tax deductions and allowances that a nonprofit church may be entitled to. “As far as the IRS is concerned,” she said, “a church now is big business. It’s not a small, mom-and-pop operation anymore. So, in a timely manner, you have to properly document everything.” Not doing so could jeopardize a church’s tax-exempt status.

She provided her attendees with a Reference List of helpful books and government publications and urged them to seek help from professional accountants and tax experts.

In his presentation, Minister Snell concentrated on the practical side of church administration. “Create a team environment,” he urged, “and give your team a focus. A focus helps you finish a project.”

Minister Snell believes that successful church administration includes a rotating cycle of seven phases:

  • Phase 1 – Definition: Create a Mission Statement that guides you and determines your core values, and keep yourself open to change and what the Spirit wants you to do.
  • Phase 2 – Planning: Commit your plans to paper. Write down the policies, procedures and processes you plan to follow.
  • Phase 3 – Teaching: Maintain open communication and allow time for people to process what you have said.
  • Phase 4 – Recruiting: When you assign a responsibility, give that person a six-month probationary period.
  • Phase 5 – Training: Provide continual training. Stay abreast of the latest techniques. In your training, stress customer service.
  • Phase 6 – Operation: Keep fine-tuning everything you do.
  • Phase 7 – Evaluation: Evaluate continually.

Virtual Tour

Click here to take a virtual tour of Faith Chapel’s ‘The Word Dome’

Note: This article combines information from seven others, published between 2003 and 2007, with prices valid in those years. Contributing authors include Freda Parker, Kris Garrison, Rebecca South, Carol Lanham, Greg Garrison and Spring McGiffin.