Macon car dealership being reborn into church

Cross Connection Church, which has been meeting at a movie theater on Zebulon Road since it was founded in January, is about a month away from moving into its own building.

The church is renovating a building at 3010 Riverside Drive, at the corner of Riverside Drive and Wimbish Road — site of the former Drive Smart used car dealer, which closed this year.

“We are renovating the showroom for a sanctuary that will fit about 250 people with a coffee bar and a hospitality area,” said Wes Hardin, pastor of Cross Connection Church and co-owner of PAR Church Builders, which is doing the construction work.

The former auto parts department and shop area is being turned into an area that will accommodate about 100 children, Hardin said.

Most of the renovation work, which is expected to be completed by mid-September, is taking place in the interior.

“We are doing state-of-the-art electronics, lighting and audio visual,” he said.

Before the location was a used car dealership, it was Jackson Automotive Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, which moved in 2000 on Riverside Drive across from The Shoppes at River Crossing. Jackson maintains a body shop in the rear of the property behind the church.

Cross Connection Church was founded Jan. 4 this year and it has about 250 members, Hardin said. It has been meeting Sunday mornings at the Amstar Cinema on Zebulon Road.

“We just needed more room,” he said. “We’ve outgrown the theater and we need multiple services now. ... We also own 11 acres on Bass Road, but we are growing so fast we wanted to try to have an intermediary place. We could do this quickly and it’s centrally located.”

The new space will allow Cross Connection to have meetings during the week and multiple services on Sundays, although the times have not been worked out yet, he said.

Cross Connection is a Christian church but it is not affiliated with a particular denomination, he said. It uses a “3” in its logo, which is not only based on the name of the church, it’s also for the group’s three basic principles: “Love God, love people, love life,” he said.

“It’s like a Starbucks atmosphere — it’s very laid back, no suits,” Hardin said. “We ask visitors not to give financially, because that’s what we (members) do.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.