SOUTH PORTLAND — There was nearly a traffic jam Sunday on Clark’s Pond Parkway, and it wasn’t because Home Depot was having a blowout sale on rugs.

Eastpoint Christian Church held its first services Sunday morning at its new location in a former big-box commercial building that has been transformed into a 92,000-square-foot church and community center near the Maine Mall. It includes a 1,600-seat auditorium, an indoor soccer field, a nearly completed gymnasium with six basketball hoops and a 100-seat cafe operated by Mainely Wraps.

The fast-growing church has moved from 15,000 square feet of warehouse space on City Line Drive in Portland, near the Portland International Jetport, into a shopping plaza building at 345 Clark’s Pond Parkway that was formerly occupied by Bob’s Discount Furniture and HomeGoods stores.

With services at 9 and 11 a.m., and 1,400 weekly attendees, several church members stood in the rain, directing drivers as spaces became available in the expansive parking lot. Inside, a rock band opened the services with several songs on a stage flanked by two large video screens.

Pastor Scott Taube delivered a sermon that welcomed newcomers and emphasized the building’s purpose as a gathering space to foster faith and promote nonjudgmental action in the world in the name of Jesus Christ. He described the church as a deeply rooted movement carried forward through the millennia by people, regardless of architecture, denomination or doctrine.

“This is not Eastpoint Christian Church the building,” Taube said, “but Eastpoint Christian Church meets here.”

That being said, Taube acknowledged that the new location, with all its bells and whistles, is a big part of Eastpoint’s mission. Financed through The Solomon Foundation, a Colorado nonprofit that helps to establish and build Christian churches, Eastpoint’s members have committed to give $7.1 million over the next two years to complete the project.

Founded in 2004, Eastpoint reflects a national trend toward “planting” and growing nondenominational churches in relatively “unchurched” areas like Maine, where attendance at Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant churches has fallen in recent years. Only 34 percent of Mainers say religion is very important in their lives and 22 percent say they attend worship services at least weekly, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center study. In Alabama, the most religious state, 77 percent say religion is very important and 51 percent worship weekly.

With 13 classrooms, two conference rooms, event space and offices, a children’s playscape and a welcome center with a gas fireplace, Eastpoint will be available to rent for companies and organizations across Greater Portland – at no charge to nonprofits, Taube said.

“We have a vision of the church to once again become the center of community,” he said.

During Sunday’s 11 a.m. service, Lia Kopi of Portland was one of two members to be baptized. She professed her faith before the congregation and was fully immersed in the baptismal pool at the front of the auditorium.

“Jesus is my lord and savior,” Kopi proclaimed, first in English, then in Arabic.

Like many church members, Shari Butler raised her hand in affirmation as she sang along with the contemporary Christian songs. “Joining this church has changed my life,” Butler said.

Church members applauded and cheered when Taube concluded his sermon by playing a recording of The Doobie Brothers’ song “Takin’ It to the Streets,” highlighting the basic Christian ideals reflected in the line: “Take this message to my brother, you will find him everywhere. Wherever people live together, tied in poverty’s despair.”

That moment was especially moving for Steven and Amy Cross of Scarborough, who attended the service with their two sons.

“That’s why I like it,” Amy Cross said. “It’s teaching, not preaching.”

When Taube and his staff decided to build a bigger church, they were holding four Sunday services at the Portland location. Now on the verge of becoming a so-called megachurch with more than 2,000 weekly attendees, Eastpoint is poised to expand its various youth, adult and community outreach programs even more, Taube said.

“It’s just getting started,” he said. “That’s how I feel.”

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