Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego prepared to open its new 60,000 square foot worship facility on Friday.
The $12 million addition will be able to accomodate nearly 2,500 people in the auditorium, chapel and atrium.
Senior Pastor Jim Garlow said the large space was needed.
"Your house tends to be dictated by the size of your family. We're a sizeable congregation and continue to grow and we need larger facilities," he said.
The auditorium has state-of-the-art lighting, sound and video system. The fountain outside, complete with computer control system serves a decorative purpose and can be used for Baptisms. The main entrance features a chandelier with 33 lights, symbolizing the years that Jesus Christ lived.
While the design of the structure is modern, it also holds older and educational items, such as bricks from the centuries old Wesleyan Church in London. Bells and stain-glass windows from older churches areound the country also hang from the ceilings.
Critics have said the the money should have been used to help families in need. But the church said it already provides a multitude of services to the community.
"We have ministries for any possible need. If you've gone through a difficult divorce, we can help with that. If you have a problem with addiction, we have a ministry for that," said Garlow.
The Senior Pastor also said the church has worked with local law enforcement to help troubled teens on the streets.
Garlow has been a prominent figure in the community and a very outspoken opponent of gay marriage. Local residents recalled the church holding demonstrations in the neighborhood. Some were glad that they were expanding, even though they didn't agree with the pastor's views.
"It's good that they expanded and I hope the church can continue to be a bridge for people to get to Christ," said 18 year-old Donte Patton. "But I just hope they continue to show people the love of Christ and not condemn them for what people do withe personal decisions."
Construction crews were working around the clock to add the finishing touches to the facility. The official opening was scheduled for Sunday May 4.