North Carolina church building amphitheater in preparation for future pandemics

A North Carolina church that already boasts a 6-acre lake on their property announced Sunday that they will add an amphitheater to their sprawling 75-acre campus in Gastonia this summer to be ready for future pandemics that could prevent them from worshiping indoors.

“Nothing we can do about this virus. This virus is probably not going to go anywhere. There’s going to be a COVID-32, a COVID-45; that’s just the way it works. It’s called a virus,” Dickie Spargo, lead pastor of City Church, told his congregation during a Facebook Live broadcast Sunday about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For the next one, however, according to Spargo, his church can be better prepared.

“It’s going to happen, but we can … adjust. One of the things as a church that we’ve chosen to do is, we say, OK, we’ve got 75 acres here, let’s worship outdoors. We’ve got a beautiful lake, you may or may not even know that. We’ve got a 6-acre lake. Let’s take it outside,” he said before announcing the project.

Spargo was not immediately available to discuss the amphitheater when The Christian Post contacted his church Thursday, but he told WCNC that they are working on engineering plans and are in the process of fundraising $500,000 to cover the estimated construction costs.

He said the facility will be something unique for Gaston County because they do not currently have an amphitheater in the area. Spargo also suggested that it could be used as a community resource for the school system or hospital for training. 

“We want to be used for our community because this land doesn’t belong to us. This land belongs to God. This building doesn’t belong to us; it belongs to God. And so we’re excited about the opportunities we’ll have even this summer,” he told his congregation about worshiping outdoors, especially for those who are not yet comfortable with worshiping indoors.

He said even when the threat of the coronavirus is gone, the amphitheater will continue to be an option to take their worship services outdoors.

“The only problem being outdoors is the birds sometimes, you know what I’m saying? They got to go. … You got to be careful. We might want to bring back those Sunday hats we use to wear,” he quipped.

“Everything is better when it’s outdoors. It’s hard to believe that in five weeks, it’s going to be Easter,” he added, recalling how they couldn’t have church last Easter because of the pandemic.

City Church, which has two campuses, was among several churches in North Carolina that quickly shifted to online services as soon as the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.

Spargo said in an interview with the Gaston Gazette at the time that he wanted people to be patient and not become stressed.

“What we want people to do is to choose what your attitude is going to be toward this,” he said. “We’re going to make it, so don’t panic or get anxious. That’s what the Bible tells us: ‘Don’t live in fear or worry.’”