In November 2003, I answered God’s call to be a preacher of the Gospel. At the same time the Lord revealed to me the need for more New Testament Baptist churches to be planted throughout the United States and called me to plant a church. Nearly ten years later, on May 26, 2013, Pickerington Baptist Temple celebrated its grand opening service with 46 in attendance.
Being familiar with many different church plants, there’s one thing I’m well aware of: all church plants are different. Thus, it’s unwise to compare ourselves among ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12).
May the following serve as a testimony of God’s miraculous provision in His planting of the Pickerington Baptist Temple.
With our May 2013 timeline firmly in place, preparations were well under way in the fall of 2012 — John & Romans sent off to print, and other supplies being ordered. However, there was something else pressing that needed our attention. We needed to find a place to conduct our church services. So, in November 2012, we began scouring our city in search of a place for Pickerington Baptist Temple to meet.
Our God-given enthusiasm and vision for what would be soon met reality — the Devil is completely opposed to a Bible-believing, Gospel preaching Baptist church being planted in Pickerington, OH (and every city for that matter). We were quickly made aware that the most popular venues for new churches were unavailable to use. The local school board had policies making it humanly impossible for us to utilize any of their facilities. The area hotels either didn’t have conference rooms or were unwilling to rent them to us weekly. The vacant storefronts were well beyond our budget. Within a matter of hours we came to grips with there being no place for us to meet.
Instead of being discouraged, my wife and I reminded ourselves of God’s clear calling. We believed God called us to plant a church in this city; so we believed God would provide. Fervent prayer and fasting were the keys. Our prayer was for God to give us either a place to live or a place to meet, with the intention that we could meet were we live or live were we meet.
A couple weeks had elapsed when we discovered a church building for sale. Over the next couple months, lined with prayer and fasting, God’s awesome power was on full display, as my wife and I stepped aside and allowed the powers that be — our God, pastor, and reproducing church — to work together to secure our current property for us. We are forever grateful to God’s answer to our prayers; our pastor’s humble, steady leadership; and the sacrificial giving of our church family. Truly God’s providential care, leadership, and provision assured our hearts that the planting of Pickerington Baptist Temple was His will.
From January 2013 to May 2013 the sprint was on to give the building a fresh face lift ahead of our Grand Opening. Again, we’re indebted to all those who gave of their time and resources to bring everything together.
What has it meant to have started in our own building?
• Permanence — Our 9,000 sq ft. facility sits on 7.25 acres. We have ample space to grow and build. We’ve never had to wonder or be concerned with where we’d meet if our meeting location became unavailable.
• A Base of Operations — We’ve had a physical location from which to organize and preach the Gospel to our city. The office space has also proven to be very beneficial.
• Credibility — Our community/society, at times, can be skeptical of a church meeting in a hotel or conference center. With our own building we were given instant credibility in our city.
• Convenience — As church planters, there are some things we haven’t experienced, such as setting up and tearing down. Our facility provides us with the convenience of having things in place.
• Classroom Space — Though we didn’t need all of our classrooms in the beginning, we have been able to grow into our space.
• Opportunity — With 7.25 acres, the Lord has allowed us to conduct special functions and crusades (Tent Revivals, Vacation Bible Schools, Church Picnics, etc.)
• Housing — My wife and I had prayed for God to give us either a place to live or a place to meet, with the intention that we could meet were we live or live were we meet. God answered our prayer. By giving us a place to meet, our family lived in the church basement for six months. This allowed us to devote much of our time during the early days of the church plant to laying a foundation and discipling our people.
Truly having your own building is a blessing. I honestly do not believe there are any cons to having your own building, only additional responsibilities to consider.
• Presentation — The Lord does all things well. Make sure your facility is in good order. Fresh paint, orderly classrooms, and a clean nursery and restrooms go a long way. Make the effort to put your best foot forward as a good steward of Christ.
• Resources — Additional funds are needed for renovations. Prepare and lead your people by encouraging them to help you make the needed improvements. Through the advice of a friend, the Lord led us to implement annual special offerings (Christmas and Anniversary), encouraging our people to give sacrificially to needed projects.
• Ordinances — Make yourself aware of the different building codes. The enforcement of the codes may differ by location. Make sure you’re aware of the requirement for building occupancy. Your municipality may have certain regulations for signage. Maintain a good testimony by complying with local building codes.
• Maintenance — Schedule time each week for building maintenance. Replace burnt-out light bulbs. Repair drippy faucets. Make sure your landscaping is trimmed. Weed the flower beds. Plan for future repairs. God has helped us systematically repair, replace, and renovate key components of our building (sidewalks, signage, furnaces, lighting, classrooms, etc.) Again, we want to make sure we take excellent care of God’s gift to us.
May the Lord give you wisdom and guidance as you enjoy His blessing of a church building.