Growing in faith: Desperation Church expanding to new location


This architectural rendering shows the future Desperation Church building that will be located on Old Hanceville Highway (Third Avenue Southeast) at King Edward Street. / Andy Heis

CULLMAN – Desperation Church has become a fixture within the community at its current location next to Depot Park, but the congregation has expanded and created a need for a new facility. Motorists in south Cullman may have seen the sign marking the future location of Desperation Church on Old Hanceville Highway (Third Avenue Southeast) at King Edward Street.

There isn’t an exact timetable in place for breaking ground or starting the move right now, and Pastor Andy Heis said he would prefer to keep it that way for the time being while the church continues to focus on ministry.

“We don’t have a specific day right now; we’re getting a lot of things done like the drawing, getting a lot of tests ran. We have to go before the (City of Cullman) Planning Commission still, so we’ve got several things that we need to get done before we can ever break ground,” Heis said.

“We would love to be able to break ground this year, but we don’t want to get ourselves behind in our main passion which is the ministry,” he continued. “We want to do as much as we can to be able to pay as much of it off up front before we really dive in. Our goal is this year, but we’ve got a little work left to do. I’ve had several conversations with several different pastors and they’ve all said to just be careful putting all of your finances into a building to where you can’t do ministry, and that’s who we are, that’s what we’re called to do.”

While the ground breaking and building may still be a little farther out on the horizon, Heis and his staff have a lot of the design plans for the new location already hashed out. The new building will not only be larger, but also have several features designed to fit Desperation’s growing congregation.

“We feel like we’ve kind of outgrown our current campus. We’ve been doing five services and went portable to do two more services at the civic center,” Heis said. “What we’re going to have is first we’re going to have a lot larger kids’ area, our parking lot is going to be a lot bigger, our foyers and hallways are going to be places where people can actually move, and there will be a lot of places for people to connect. We’ll have café and coffee shop type of place and places like those for people to come in and be able to connect. We’re working on getting a walking trail/prayer trail around the whole property so people can come and walk and we could put Bible verses and benches and stuff on the trail, but really we just (want) nature around the building. It’ll be a bigger place where we can host conferences and events and our sanctuary is going to be much bigger. It’s going to fit about 1,000 people, but we’ll have chairs that you can pull up so we’ll be able to make it as small or as large as we need to.”

Heis said he and all of the crew at Desperation Church feel blessed and excited to see their ministry grow and never thought that they would outgrow their facility so quickly. Heis has gotten a lot of experience starting ministries in new locations over the years; he and his staff are excited to get started in a new place.

“I never thought about that happening at all, definitely not this quickly anyway,” he smiled. “The Lord has really blessed us to be in this area in this region of people and seeing so many people come to be a part of us. We were talking about moving a couple of years ago but we’ve had a passion of planting other campuses so we planted in Jasper and Arab. To be honest with you, if it was up to me I’d just go plant churches in different places, but I know that we need a building here. We get here at six in the morning on Sundays to set up and when church is over we tear everything down so that can’t be sustainable forever.”

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