MUNCY CREEK TOWNSHIP -- Instead of letting an old church building close completely, a group in Lycoming County hopes to breathe new life into the place by building a brand new church around it.
It may not look like much yet, but Pastor Jeremy Irwin and Crossroads Church in Jersey Shore have big plans for a dirt patch near Muncy.
Pastor Irwin showed Newswatch 16 plans for Crossroads' new Muncy campus. The non-denominational church will take over the building that used to house the Free Evangelical Church. It closed last year.
"Throughout America, churches are closing at a rapid rate, and that's part of the cultural shift, but I also believe churches are opening as well," said Irwin.
With hopes of expanding its reach instead of building a brand new church in an unused location, Crossroads decided to breathe new life into this space. Work on the $1.5 million church campus started last week.
"The community needs them. With all the crimes and drugs and everything else, it's a good thing," said church member Wayne Guiswite.
Guiswite isn't just working on the new building, he's a member of Crossroads Church.
"I'm a recovering alcoholic, too. If it wasn't for Jesus Christ, I probably wouldn't be standing here today," he said.
The campus will include a brand new church, but the former Free Evangelical Church building will stay and be used for children's ministry.
"It's a good thing for the community. If they open up that community center in the back, it will give the kids something to do to get them off the street," said Guiswite.
As long as construction plans stay on schedule, Crossroads Church in Jersey Shore hopes to have its brand new Muncy campus open by fall of 2018.