From Retail to Worship

From Retail to Worship

As satellite churches continue to grow throughout the Greater Houston area, some look to retail centers to expand their ministry into communities before taking the bigger step of developing a permanent home on a new site. Utilizing vacant buildings offers quick development of spaces with flexibility of sizes, in highly visible and well established parts of the community. Structure, water, electricity, parking, and other infrastructure are already in place.


Building out these spaces can reduce the time to completion compared to new, comparably sized buildings by 60%. It may mean working within a shell of a former “big box store”, but with thoughtful interior space configuration and creative material selection, an empty box can transform to an active house of worship.

A portion of a long-existing retail center in Rosenberg recently received new life as Sugar Creek Baptist Church founded a mission church to serve the communities of Richmond & Rosenberg. Located off the Southwest Freeway and 1st Street in Rosenberg, the church now resides in a 43,000 s.f. portion of a former K-mart store. Sugar Creek Baptist asked Ziegler Cooper Architects to create a 700 seat worship space and a fellowship hall, as well as education space for youth, children and adults.

Sugar Creek Baptist Church Rosenberg's Design Goals

  • Unify the character of the satellite Rosenberg campus with the main Sugar Land campus

  • Welcome Ministry Center for new members and visitors

  • Worship Space for 700 people

  • Youth Room for 400 people

  • State of the art audio-visual and broadcasting

  • Simplified wayfinding

  • Two-story indoor play area

  • Separate entrances for worship and education, with Covered drop-off for Mothers Day Out program

  • Secured children’s areas giving limited public access during the weekday

  • Fellowship Hall that is multi-purpose and flexible in size, including catering kitchen

  • A building that can be expanded in the future

On Point

The available space was an unusual L-shaped configuration and wrapped behind neighboring businesses in the same building. To organize the sprawling space and allow easy accessibility, two entrances were developed.


The front entrance welcomes Sunday worshipers and a second entrance is located at the rear with a covered drop-off for Sunday-schoolers and the Mother’s Day Out program. The church also wanted the ability to expand capacity in the future so plans and structure were designed to incorporate a future 2nd floor for additional adult classrooms.

Some of the highlights of the facility include a wide fan-shaped worship area with a video wall and baptistry, welcome center coffee bar, a large student / youth room for 400, and a two-story indoor play area.

Repurposing empty retail in a neighborhood brings life back to the community and has the benefit of quick set-up and phasing flexibility for the ministry.

Stephanie Kaup | Project Designer

Our Mission

The Character of Sugar Creek’s original Sugar Land campus flows steadily throughout the new Richmond/Rosenberg Campus space. Wall graphics, signage, natural materials and color palette all give a nod towards the personality of the original Sugar Creek Baptist Church. The space embraces the church’s broad cultural demographic and is as transformative a re-use of space as the Church’s Mission is in the lives of the people it serves.

On Budget

For mission churches or churches just starting out, creating worship spaces within built retail spaces can offer many quick and economical benefits:


    • 60% reduction in time to completion over “traditional” development.
    • A church home when public school space may not be open for weekend rentals.
    • Possibility to expand programs within the same retail building if room is available.