2016-01-31 / Insight

Lapeer Community Church continues to grow, meet needs of residents

810-452-2609 •

Pastor Rik Schwab has led Lapeer Community Church through a variety of changes since he started the church in 2001. Currently, a renovation project is underway to create a more welcoming and secure entrance. 
Photos by Krystal Johns Pastor Rik Schwab has led Lapeer Community Church through a variety of changes since he started the church in 2001. Currently, a renovation project is underway to create a more welcoming and secure entrance. Photos by Krystal Johns ATTICA TWP. — Lapeer Community Church’s first service took place on May 6, 2001, in the auditorium at the old White Junior High building, with three members of the public attending. These days, Pastor Rik Schwab said, around 350 people pass through the church’s doors each Sunday, including an impressive children’s ministry reaching upwards of 70 kids each week.

The past 15 years have held a lot of changes for the church, and its growth is continuing through a renovation project designed to offer a more welcoming and streamlined entrance into the building, as well as a more efficient and secure area for the children’s ministry.

Schwab was raised in Madison Heights and moved to Kansas when he was 16. He went to college to become an educator and taught for seven years before he felt called to enter the ministry, and he attended seminary for four years.

“When I was in seminary, I decided I wanted to start a church,” he said.

But at that time, Michigan wasn’t on his radar. Rather, his target was Colorado.

A trainer from Michigan at a church planter training camp in Virginia made Schwab start considering Michigan, and he and his wife, Mindy, visited Lapeer and then moved here in 1999.

“Then, we just tried to meet people,” he said. “I didn’t know a single person in the whole county.”

The church began in the White auditorium, then moved to the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center in Attica Township. After Attica Elementary closed, the church eventually bought the building. It wasn’t ready yet, and Ed-Tech was undergoing renovations, so the church’s home was a tent on the school property during the summer of 2008, moving into the building in September.

“We just wanted to start a contemporary church that would meet people right where they’re at,” Schwab said, adding that he simply wanted to make people feel like there are no expectations and they can feel comfortable exploring a relationship with God at their own pace.

Sunday services at LCC see people coming as they are, whether in dress clothes, jeans, or something in between. Music is live, and varied, and the services often include guest speakers and multimedia presentations. An on-site café offers snacks and the children’s ministry is so popular, some parents stay for both services or small groups so their kids can continue to enjoy themselves.

The church supports a variety of missions, including Forgotten Man Ministries, the Pregnancy Resource Center, the Refuge, Love INC. within Lapeer County, the East Side Mission in Flint, Awakened Heart Ministries, and a variety of foreign missions, including Jeramy and Theresa Hing, who moved from Lapeer County to serve permanently in Ecuador.

Church members and guests are invited to many events throughout the year including movie and game nights, family camping, bow camp, craft nights, retreats, the annual wild game dinner and the always-popular Easter egg hunt on the courthouse lawn in downtown Lapeer.

Since 2008, the church body as a whole has been raising money for and completing ongoing improvement projects to better meet its needs.

To begin, the oldest part of the building, which was originally Attica High School, had to be gutted and an auditorium area put in. The old cafeteria gymnasium was transformed into a café area, and parking was enlarged.

“We grew a lot when we first got in the building,” Schwab said.

The church has since acquired four more acres of road frontage on Lake Pleasant roads, planted a tree barrier as required by the township, and resurfaced the parking lot. The current project, which began in early January, is the first step toward turning the south-facing part of the building into the front. What was once a narrow double-door entrance that invited crowding and confusion will be an open and welcoming entrance for guests.

In addition, the nursery will be moved into the children’s ministry area, which is closed off and manned with security personnel.

Eventually, Schwab said, they’d like to continue the growth to include a multipurpose room, and moving the offices to the new front of the building, with the main entrance to the church’s parking lot coming off Lake Pleasant Road.

“It would be outstanding to be able to do that,” he said.

Lapeer Community Church is at 80 N. Lake Pleasant Rd. in Attica. The church can be reached at 810-724-8800. Services are at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sundays. Visit lapeercc.org for more information.

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