Real Life Church is transforming a Pullman building that formerly housed a laser tag business into its permanent home.
Two of the church’s pastors said Wednesday they also hope it can be a place that serves multiple needs for the community.
Construction workers have recently begun renovating the 1234 S. Grand Ave. property that Real Life Church bought from the nearby Wysup Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership.
Lead Pastor Thad DeBuhr said he is hopeful the nondenominational church will move into the building at the end of summer.
A sign that hangs on the front of the building says “12 Years in the Making” and Youth Pastor Corban Lambert said the church has lived a “nomadic” life during those dozen years while operating in different temporary locations.
DeBuhr said Real Life Church currently has offices on Bishop Boulevard in Pullman, has its Sunday services at Washington State University’s Daggy Hall and offers Thursday services in Colfax. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, DeBuhr estimated 450 people attended Real Life Church’s services every weekend.
He said Real Life Church will continue to have services in Colfax, but will bring its Sunday services and everything else into the South Grand Avenue property.
The new building will also include additional amenities.
“Thad’s big dream is to have this be more than just a church,” Lambert said.
For example, DeBuhr envisions a coffee shop that will be open to the public seven days a week, a play area for children and a multipurpose room that can be used by both the church and the community.
The multipurpose room will be used for Real Life Church’s youth ministry, but DeBuhr said it could also serve as a meeting place for other local groups such as the Cub Scouts, or as a space for classes such as fitness and CPR classes.
The building used to be the home of the Cougar Entertainment Center, a laser tag business that was significantly damaged by arson in 2019.
DeBuhr said before Real Life Church bought the building from Wysup, it was initially out of the church’s price range. The pastor said that with some divine intervention, or “God math” as he called it, the two parties were able to strike a more favorable deal.
“This is a big leap of faith for us,” DeBuhr said.
He said Wysup and Stewart Title, both of which operate small spaces in the building, will continue to operate there as tenants.
DeBuhr said members of the Real Life Church congregation are looking forward to having a permanent location of their own.
“People are really pumped,” he said.
Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.