Pastor Ben De Boef is quick to point out that the new Thousand Hills Church that’s scheduled to open this summer at the old AMC 16 movie theater in Hickory Creek is just a building. Their ongoing mission of community outreach, service, and love coupled with helping people build a devoted relationship with Christ is what really matters.
That being said, this building is a big deal for the 23-year-old church. De Boef even admits that he can only temper his excitement for so long as he pours over design renderings and sees all the ways to take advantage of the extra space.
“There are 16 theaters that we get to rehab, so it’s quite a bit,” De Boef said with a laugh.
The good news is that the church is almost here, and he and his congregation can’t wait to share it with the Lake Cities community.
“We’ve been working on moving for at least three years, but, honestly, this was on my heart even a few years before that,” said De Boef, who added that a soft opening is slated for July. “We’re getting to the end of this journey, and we’re all very excited about it. This is a real game-changer for the presence of our church and our ability to serve more of
When Lake Cities Living Magazine recently caught up with Pastor De Boef, he was eager to show just how much bigger and better the new church is compared to the current one on Tower Ridge Dr. in Corinth. It’s four or five times the size of what they have now, and rather than being tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, the visibility is as good as it gets off South Stemmons Freeway.
There will be two construction phases for the new Thousand Hills Church. Phase I is almost complete and utilizes roughly 35,000 square feet of old movie theater space. A few of the highlights include a 600-seat sanctuary, a state-of-the-art children’s ministry wing, 700 parking spots, a large lobby, and a full-service coffee shop that will be open to the community during the weekdays.
Phase I alone creates enough room for 1,500 members with multiple services.
Phase II, which won’t happen for a few more years, will include a 1,200-seat sanctuary, more youth space, and an additional prayer chapel. De Boef said they would also convert the original 600-seat sanctuary into a gymnasium.
Clearly, that’s a far cry from the facility they have now. While membership has grown from 350 to 700 since De Boef became the senior pastor in 2014, it’s no secret that attendance was maxed out long ago — even with three available service times. Naturally, this is a huge obstacle for a church that prides itself on always opening its doors to the community. As a Fellowship of the Assemblies of God, they support over 40 missions and organizations. They also work alongside various local charities and nonprofits, offer a preschool and host wildly-popular annual events such as Eggstravaganza and Light Up the Night.
De Boef said the additional blessings this new church will ultimately provide for years to come are limitless.
“We looked at buying a property and building from scratch, but when this came open, it was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up because the structure was there. It quickly became a rehab project at that point,” De Boef said. The church put its first offer down on the property in June 2020 and closed in December of that same year. “It has great visibility, but more importantly, it really gives us a chance to expand what we do. We put a lot of money into our children’s ministry, and we’ve had fun taking advantage of the space.”
He added, “While there have been a few ups and downs along the way, it’s been nothing but a blessing. We want more people to see and hear our mission, which is to love God, love people, and change the world. You’ll see that saying right on the front entryway of our new building because it’s that important. This is a big move, and we couldn’t be more excited.”