Plano Mega Church Plans Expansion In North Dallas

By Giles Hudson, CBS 11 News

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The 30,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church announced an $18 million expansion Saturday that will add a third location in Far North Dallas.

The announcement marks the second expansion for Prestonwood. The church opened a satellite church in Prosper in 2007, which already has a weekly attendance of at least 2,000 worshippers.

The new Prestonwood Dallas Campus includes an 1,800 seat sanctuary, a 900 seat performing arts center, classrooms and a chapel. Prestonwood members will vote on the plan during a meeting on the weekend of April 2 and 3.

If all goes well, Rev. Jack Graham said the expansion will be open by late August or early September.

The expansion will take over the building and property once owned by Hillcrest Church, located on Hillcrest Road just south of Interstate 635.

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  • Cheese McBeese

    Instead of building palaces of hypocrisy, why not worship in humble quarters and use the money for humanitarian causes instead of crass opulence. I know that many of the area school boards could do a lot of good with that kind of money.

    • rundog67

      They’re doing this so more people can attend church and accept Christ not out of hypocrisy. Who are you to tell them that anyways?

    • Liz

      Dear Cheese,

      You are correct about the school boards could use that kind of money, and they already do by using taxpayer’s money to build 18 million dollar athletic complexes where Christian students are not even allowed to pray or mention God anymore without a threatened lawsuit.

      We build Church buildings so we can get together to worship God, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost of the community and world, be of service to the communities both locally and abroad, and support each other as our Lord and Savior commanded us.

      Prestonwood also has a Christian school and therefore can do both, build facilities for worship and athletic events (under the “so called seperation of church and state” law ;-)

      I don’t know if you are a Christian or worship God, but If so and you prefer to worship in a tent on the floor fine. Personally in Texas summers I prefer a setting with air conditioning. James Chapter 4 : 11 & 12. Please give it a read.

      • AC

        “where Christian students are not even allowed to pray or mention God anymore without a threatened lawsuit.”

        Quit acting like you’re being persecuted.
        1) Students can pray all they want. When they want, where they want. To whatever god they want. In whatever language they want. Freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of speech.
        2) The ONLY restriction is that publicly funded schools (that EVERYONE pays for, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof) can not endorse a single religion. And that’s only fair. How would you like it if a public school that you paid for, held Islamic prayers? You’d hate it.

        You don’t need multi multi multi million dollar buildings with all these fancy amenities to worship. You can do it in your home. You can do it in an empty warehouse. You can do it outside. You can do it wherever you want.

        These millions of dollars could go to people who actually need help. There are people who can’t even afford to eat every day, and you’re trying to justify an $18 million upgrade to an already extravagant church. Disgusting.

      • Mike m

        Your a complete hypocrite. Typical christian who wants to shove their belief down someone else’s throat. If he wants to worship on the floor or in a tent what do you care? You don’t need to spend 18 mil dollars on this to pray to a god who supposedly knows all and see all.

      • Jesus H. Christ

        Dear Liz,

        Good luck getting that camel through the needle’s eye.


      • Peter

        Liz, thank you for this interesting perspective.

        It the Son arrived today for worship, I don’t believe He would enter your opulent church buildings. I believe He would meet with you on a grassy field or a Wal-Mart parking lot, even if you felt discomfort from the heat. I don’t believe there was air conditioning when the Son was nailed to the cross.

        If you believe that the Son is with us always, why do you not think that He has influenced the church and state laws? Have you considered that He might think it best to keep Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and other teachings separate from our public education system for the good of His flock? Do you feel that you know better?

        I am a Christian and I know and I worship the Father and the Son.

      • Kat

        I would LOVE to see if you felt the same when the kids pulled out pray mats and turned towards Mecca!

    • PoisonDonut

      Wow, there are some harsh reactions to Liz’s response! But typical for online comment sections. :)

      Peter wrote: “It the Son arrived today for worship, I don’t believe He would enter your opulent church buildings.”

      Peter, a Christian church serves two purposes, both equally iimportant. The first is to provide a location of worship for the congregation. This is how Christians learn more about Christ and become stronger in their faith. The second goal of a Christian church is to attract new members, especially those who believe in God and are interested in learning more about Him. If you fall into the latter category and you wanted to find answers, would you walk into a run-down hovel or a tent, or would you walk into a nice-looking building with air conditioning? A Christian church needs to cater to secular individuals, and not those who are already strong Christians.

      • Peter

        PD, you write as though a run-down hovel or tent is the only alternative to the Wal-Mart of Churches. Let me point out that there are many community-sized Churches in more modest yet quite comfortable buildings. They attract new members with genuine fellowship, not with the trappings of wealth, football teams, etc..

      • PoisonDonut

        Peter, I apologize if my post made it sound like there is no middle ground. To be honest, I don’t know anything about the Prestonwood Baptist Church, what it looks like, how the people act, what the sermons focus on, etc. My initial response was only to provide an explanation for why Christians don’t necessarily worship in a run-down building. But you are correct, there IS a middle ground, and churches don’t need to be “opulent” or overly commercial to attract new members; they just need to look nice. But I will say that it’s hard for a church to attract new members with genuine fellowship if you can’t get the people to walk in the front door in the first place.

  • Kay

    We do a lot of good with that money, actually. We are huge because God has blessed us and allowed us to accommodate thousand of people. We donate millions of dollars to humanitarian causes and missions every year. Please don’t judge us before coming and visiting and learning what we’re about.

    • Peter

      I was a member of Prestonwood but the hypocrisy and materialism drove me away.

      I attended a Christmas service that was nothing more than entertainment and cost more than it would have taken to feed every homeless person in Dallas in an upscale restaurant that night.

      I learned about the income and lifestyle of the church leaders. More like Wall Street thieves than our Father’s shepherds.

      The last straw was the fiasco leaving the parking lot after services. All these false grinning people turn into monsters once they get in their cars. I was cut-off and flipped-off as I tried to exit the parking lot many times.

      Sorry Kay, I have learned what you’re about and it isn’t about devotion or sacrifice. It’s about country-club religion. And big business.

      • SP

        Amen Peter. Coming from a family that is Baptist I’ve lived through this hypocritic lifestyle. I love my family, but they are judgemental, materialistic and racist. I’m often excluded from family events because I married outside my race. Jesus loves and accepts everyone – that’s how I live my life.

      • Peter


        You’re kind of late to this discussion so not many will see it, but I thank you for your perspective nonetheless.

        I try not to reference satan because I don’t like to give him the exposure, but since you have added him to this discussion I will add this: I think organized religion, dogma, mega-churches, etc., are satan’s counter to faith in its most pure and honest form. Organized religion has caused more war and persecution than anything else since the beginning of civilization. Even now, a demented pastor burns a Koran and people are killed as a result. That is satan’s work, not God’s work. Inflexible adherence to religious dogma that does not allow for the human spirit to learn, grow, and evolve is a tool that satan uses to turn people away from God… and it’s working. Mega-churches that expand to become sports facilities, schools, and food courts dilute the focus on the core principle that a church is God’s house, not a playground or an entertainment complex. The leaders of Prestonwood who live in million dollar homes and surround themselves with the trappings of excess have lost their way and are easy prey for satan. A former minister was exposed for crimes against children. Those who follow these false leaders are choosing the wrong path.

      • rundog67

        Just because it looks like that when you go to one Christmas service does not mean that’s what it’s all about. Not everyone that goes to the Christmas service is a Christian so don’t take the way they cut and flipped you off as something all the members of the church do. Prestonwood is a very devoted church I’ve been there before so I would know. At Prestonwood you get the amazing oppurtunity to meet thousands of other Christians and connect with them it is not at all surrounded around materialism. I’m sorry that that is the way you feel about the church because Satan’s just trying to get a hold of your feelings on that. Besides if someone gets mad at you when you were driving who knows what kind of situation they are in at the moment??? They could just need God’s love in there lives, but did not let it in at the service.

      • Harold Aydelott


        I’m not here to agree/disagree with you. I only wish to remind those that we shouldn’t lay judgement on a church based on “hypocrisy”. Man and woman are all sinful by nature. The only perfect person to walk this earth was Jesus Christ. Christians will constantly backslide and gravitate towards sinful actions…. the difference is that by accepting Christ, they recognize those sins and regain a proper path that God so desires for each of us. Ultimately we all answer for those sins and God does not rate with sin is greater than the others. All sins are equal under God and will be judged accordingly.

        Having said that…. I do not attend Prestonwood, however, I find it to be a wonderful church with several ministries and outreach programs that could not exist without funding. Their reach is not only local, but world wide, and it takes money to do that, as well as, pay the electrical bill, etc, for so many followers. No one is forced to give money to the church. Tithing is between you and God… the Bible says 10% of income…. don’t be mad at the Prestonwood, they did not write the biblical verse. By giving to the church, ANY church, you do your part as God so desires.

        It’s easy to become frustrated and angry at those that are not good examples, and let us down. We have to be mindful of our own purpose, to find forgiveness, and move forward with God’s plan. It’s a constant war…. a very real one…. as our sinful nature will always seek to derail and move followers away from God. I believe our purpose here on Earth is much deeper than procreate, recreate, and die….. and I do hear you…. I’ve been in the same place you were. We just got to stay focused and help those around us get back on track.

    • Jill

      No your church is huge because your pastor has a big ego and is trying make up for something else.God would pass your church for a real church if He was here today.Mega churches will not get these people into heaven and are an abomination in the eyes of our Lord.

      • Third

        Jill – so you have been to Prestonwood? I would hope so before you would make such a judgment call! Just sayin…

  • Ali Smith

    Why should a church, whose members tithe, give that money to government institutions (that already get money from our tax dollars)? Don’t I already pay exhorbitant property taxes to support schools? I give a percentage of my income to support my church, and what they do with that money (whether buying property or feeding the poor) doesn’t really concern people who do not attend or are not members.

    • Peter

      Ali, it is not about what you have given, it is about what you can give and what others need. The Jesus who loves me would not enter your palaces run by your rich false kings when so many in your neighborhood are hungry tonight. If you don’t understand that, you are lost. If the Son visited you tonight, would you really tell him that your taxes are high enough and it is not his concern how His money is being spent?

  • jamie

    if you have never been to Prestonwood then you have no knowledge of what the church is about; please join us!

  • Michael

    What does the Bible say about debt????

    • Bonnie

      The Bible does not condone debt. Prestonwood does not condone debt either, and each expansion, change, upgrading is paid for before starting the next. As for teaching the Word, they do this with much passion. Do not judge until you visit and take the time to learn about all the good done there, join a Bible Fellowship class and get to know the staff.


      • Peter

        Bonnie, I was a member of Prestonwood and I know all I need to know about what is done there. It is country club religion at its best, with the main focus on food courts, sports programs, and entertainment-style sermons. Don’t be fooled by theatrics masquerading as passion. Prestonwood is run like a business and it is a business. I think that’s very sad.

        The Jesus I know preached a much simpler and more fundamental version of worship and support. At the Church I belong to now, people know each other’s names and their children’s names. The focus is on worship, not on the spring soccer program. Fund raising is for helping others, not for new real estate, new football team uniforms, or anything else that dilutes our worship and learning.

        I wish them all goodwill and I don’t believe they are evil people, but I fear that the Prestonwood community has lost the path and the messages here have reinforced that for me.

  • Kevin

    @Michael- Did I miss the part of the story where loans are mentioned? And @Cheese- The heart of Prestonwood is easily seen through the generous giving of Prestonwood’s members to causes through out DFW and around the world…. Haiti, Japan, Sudan, etc…. the list goes on and on. I encourage you to attend sometime and see for yourself. You may just be pleasantly surprised!

  • Double B.

    Look at most churches, they are meeting in the same facility they used 20 years ago and have pretty much the same attendance. PW is meeting the needs of the community and that is why it continues to grow while other churches are struggling. Would you be happy if your life today was exactly in the same place it was in 1980?

  • John

    Prestonwood is a nice church. They offer a lot of unique services to their parishioners. It is another example of the mega chuches based on wealth, health and prosperity and for me that is fine. However, I can understand why some feel that they are not teaching the bible. Obviously, more conservative Baptists will take issue with this type of thing. However, that does not mean they are right either. I think people should go to a church that suits them best or consider going to their own smaller church but also joining some of the larger activities that Prestonwood can offer. For my part, I personally enjoyed Prestonwood’s power lunches and think most people would like this type of event regardless of what type of church service they prefer..

  • Audge

    This is the highest and best use of this property. Praise God for Prestonwood!

  • Bob

    John, I guess you have never attended the Sunday service, otherwise you would know clear as day that they do teach the Bible… Your comment that it is “another example of a mega church based on wealth, health and prosperity”, goes to show that you don’t attend the church and you are speaking out of ignorance and not from experience.

  • Dotty Dannelly

    I do agree on the Christmas event. Is this Hollywood or are we celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ! This used to be a free event. I’ m not interested in seeing some celebrity. I went back in 2006 and it was wonderfull ! It was free and I was able to invite my friends/family. $75.00 for from row seats is a bit much. As a single Mom even $15.00 per person can add up quickly. I also know that’s it’s not about me ! I get fed the Word of God and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. God has sent so many strong Christian Women into my life and I thank God.

  • howie

    Suggestion: If you don’t like Prestonwood, don’t go there. If you do like Prestonwood, go there. You may no like Prestonwood, but Prestonwood doesn’t come to you asking for money if you don’t go there. They use their own money for their own purposes. They’re not breaking the law. If you’re concerned with WWJD he’ll take care of that matter himself. He does not need your help. I’m not a Christian by the way.

  • Tommy Chapman

    Love how the Prestonwood trolls have come here to make comments. I physically go out into the community to reach out, I obviously don’t need a million dollar facility to reach out, and I don’t rely on someone else to do the work for me.

    • Proud PBC Member

      Funny how people who have never stepped foot in our buildings, seen our budgets and where the money goes, and not bothered to acknowledge what we do locally and global have a clear idea what happens.

      • PoisonDonut

        @Proud PBC Member: A more Christian response to Tommy Chapman would be to explain to him how Prestonwood helps society on a local and global level. Jesus responded with patience and kindness to the lay people who questioned Him. How will your antagonistic taunting bring Tommy Chapman or anyone else who reads your post closer to Christ? I guarantee you it will have the opposite effect.

        Granted, Jesus wasn’t so patient and kind to the hypocritical pharisees or to the merchants who were disrespecting God the Father’s temple, but this situation is much different.

  • Peter

    One merely has to drive by the palace of Prestonwood to understand that too much money is going into conspicuous material consumption when so many are in need. The exact amounts don’t matter – it is just too much and it is there for all to see.

  • Jason

    How about a reduction instead of expansion?

  • christian conservative

    Some strange man on TV told me that if I send him all of my money it will make me rich!!!!!!

  • Steve

    These churches need to start paying taxes.

  • Robert Christian

    They should use that money to feed the poor, to offer homes to homless, to help people with doctor bills, to give within the community where it sits. It angers me to see church groups so large, have mega wealth yet unless you are “some body” you get no help. Million dollar seats near the pulpit but the cheaper seets near the rear. It is a culture club, a place to be seen. Not a place where “HE” is seen in us. WOW, thousands of people could be helped rather than a “new building”. USe what you have 206-7369688

    • Third

      And how do you know that they don’t??? Maybe you and “Godherself” should get together…

  • sherry

    Oh, little children, let us love one another. We do not have to agree to do that.

  • Praise the Lord!!!!


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  • dllandes65

    First off…there is no “separation of church and state” law. There is a Constitutional amendment that states to the effect that Congress shall make no law establishing a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….freedom of the press,…..freedom of association….etc. etc. You will not find separation of church and state anywhere in the Constitution; it does not exist.

    As for praying at an athletic event, let me pose this to you Evangelical sympathizers…What if all the prayers (assuming we would allow them, and they passed Constitutional muster) were Islamic, or Judaic, or Hindu in nature, or even Wiccan, or perhaps given by a member of the Church of Satan….would you be so hostile to prayers NOT being allowed?? Would you be as strong of an advocate for “prayer in schools” if one or more of these versions, incarnations, or viewpoints was the prayer offered???? Yeah, right.

    Christian Evangelicals, among others as well, are all for praying in schools, so long as it is to their idea and version of God…deviate from that viewpoint to far to the extremes (as defined by the Evangelicals of course), and that too is unacceptable prayer format. Be theologically honest in this discussion.

    As for Prestonwood expanding, that can be spun either way, depending upon one interprets the scriptures and their alleged/assumed meanings. On the one hand, it is a justified expansion in the context of the “great commission” given to the faithful to “go ye therefore….” so on and so forth.

    On the other hand, it can be seen as total excess and diametrically opposed to the admonition of the acquiring of wealth and riches (depending upon how one interprets those particular texts as well); Catholic priests take a vow of poverty for this very reason under the auspices of these very scriptures, for example.

    Critics are justified in their view that the money could be better utilized, but only if they are members of that congregation. Otherwise, it’s nobody’s business, in reality, as the money came from those attending that church, or the loans will be paid back by their contributions.

    In short, this kind of stuff further substantiates the view that religion is in the eye of the beholder and is subject to how one interprets that which it is founded upon. It’s all relative.

    • Paul

      Any business that is given a tax exemption is to some degree subsidized by the general community, not just the congregation. For example, the large amount of land that Prestonwood sits on could be occupied by businesses or homes that would be providing the community with tax revenue.

      Businesses like Prestonwood are clearly profit centers and the leaders are compensated as though they were executives of large corporations. It’s out of control and it’s time for a review of the tax exemptions that are being exploited by these mega churches.

  • Jayne

    Hi everyone, I am a Unificationist. First raised in the Presbyterian Church, then given 3 revelations after 3 days of prayer where Jesus lead me to meet Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Living for the sake of God and others has been the last 35 years of my life. Through sweat, blood and tears, money that was raised funded so many of our conferences, our projects to feed the world, help to influence the media to be more ethically responsible, working with all religions to respect each other and work together instead of fighting, building schools in Africa and poverty stricken areas, etc,etc. We didn’t spend much on our church buildings with the exception of one in Washington DC which we bought from the mormons, but it is old and needs more repair. We have focused our attention to the serious concerns around the globe and Jesus is ever present guiding Rev. Moon and us in a direction to live for the sake of others. If that is the direction your mega church is headed, then it is good. If not, then God wont be able to work through it. It all depends on the MOTIVATION of the Pastors and the congregation. In the last days, we all need to be praying about what is God’s will for us in his providence TODAY. Christianity is in danger of missing the second coming of Christ all together. Christianity is in the same position as the Israelites were when Jesus was born and walked the earth. They didn’t believe him. The way I see it, God works through religion to raise us up over time. The Completed Testament is already here. First the Old Testament based on Mose, then the New Testament based on Jesus, and now the Completed Testament based on what Jesus is revealing to us today. If you want to know more about our future, check out UPF. org, Family Federation for World Peace., and find out what Jesus is showing Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Jayne

  • God Herself

    I want a homeless shelter built and money donated to the area poor schools that are using text books from 1979. I want the leaders of the church to leave their 10 bedroom mansions and give away their Mercedes and move into a 1 bedroom apartment and car pool to church. I want all my lemmings to keep their mouths shut because you have no idea of the real truth. I want my mindless lemmings to stop quoting from the bible. It’s been re-written, revised and edited enough times that it’s nothing close to the original version. Start doing these things and I’ll be impressed. Until then I look down upon all stupid christians.

    • Amy C

      FINALLY someone speaks the truth lol.

    • Third

      Really? If you are ready a Bible that has been revised & re-written then you don’t read from the same Bible that I do. Prestonwood (and other churches) donate, maintain, build, etc… several shelters and other such entities…if you did your research before passing judgment then maybe you would know that.

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