BREWER, Maine — David Dube, the executive pastor of the Rock Church, wants people to stand around the water cooler at work on Mondays and talk about what happened at church the same way they talk about which great movie they saw or the gorgeous hike they took over the weekend.
He believes that the Rock Church’s new campus at the North Brewer Shopping Center, which includes a small cafe, will help make that happen. People under the age of 40, he said, grew up in a mall culture and many feel more comfortable entering a space that doesn’t look like a traditional church building.
“Paul said that ‘I become all things to all men that I might save more,”’ Dube said of the church’s unusual location and the man credited with founding Christianity.
The new campus is located at 395 North Main St., in a portion of the space formerly occupied by Bob’s Discount Store.
The church and cafe will hold its grand opening Sunday with services at 9 and 10:30 a.m. A Family Fun Festival will be held after the service from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will include refreshments, a bounce house, a climbing wall and an obstacle course along with prizes.
The church will begin a study series this weekend called “True-ish” designed to help people “navigate the space between True and True-ish,” rather than live in the gray areas, he said.
“The truth is black and white,” Dube said.
Although churches in metropolitan areas have been turning mall space into worship space for more than a decade, the Rock Church is the first in Greater Bangor to try it.
“We want to reach out to a different community,” Dube, 37, of Glenburn said Thursday, “and to be able to handle more people. We were having to hold four services a weekend in Bangor to accommodate everyone.”
Dube did not necessarily mean a different community geographically, although he expects some people living east of the Penobscot River to attend services in Brewer instead of Bangor.
Maine is one of the most unchurched states in the nation, according to national polls. The majority of people not only don’t attend church regularly, at least a third don’t identify themselves as members of a particular denomination.
The Brewer location has been designed to reach out to those people, according to Dube, especially men and women under age 35. The new space, designed to hold 180 to 200 people, is set up auditorium-style with padded, armless chairs facing a stage, over which a large screen hangs. The church has an 18-piece praise and wor-ship band. It performs contemporary Christian rock music, according to Dube.
The church is subletting space from a day care center across the hall for its children’s Sunday school program. A room with a climbing and graffiti wall and a large projection screen overhead has been built for children in fourth through sixth grades.
Dube said Thursday that the cafe, which is Wi-Fi wired, would eventually be open in the afternoons and evenings so people can “hang out.”
The Rock Church, located at the corner of Ohio Street and Finson Road in Bangor, opened in October 2005. Senior Pastor Kirk Winters, a Brewer native, has used his extensive network of friends and family in the area to help build membership.
One year, after he held his first service in the former Pentecostal church, he had to add a second because the 170-seat sanctuary was overflowing. Today, Winters, 41, of Glenburn conducts three services in Bangor each Sunday at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. After this weekend, Dube will conduct a 10 a.m. Sunday service at the Brewer campus.
The growth the church is experiencing appears to be unprecedented in Greater Bangor over the past 50 years.
“We feel that God’s moving and we’re just trying to keep up,” Dube said Thursday.
For information about the Rock Church, call 942-9977 or visit www.rockmaine.com.