On Sunday, July 6, 2008, Praise Baptist Church held it's first worship service. We had all been looking forward to this for several months, and it was finally time to come together. Two churches becoming one new work for the glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
The question is, "How did this happen?" How did two churches come together and form this union? It's an exciting story of God at work, doing things that were unimaginable and yet working through His people in such a way that it could only be described as miraculous.
It all started about three years prior when the congregation at Main Street Baptist Church began to outgrow it's building. They had seen steady growth for several years under the leadership of Pastor Jeff Noble and the facilities were just not going to be adequate if growth was going to continue.
So it was decided after much prayer and investigation that they would begin a building program called CLIMB (Christ Leads In Main Street Building). In a period of two plus years, God blessed the CLIMB Program and enough money was raised to do all the preliminary work necessary to build a new worship center and eventually an education building. Over $100,000 was paid out to architects and to the Township and County for all the necessary permits that are needed for a project of that size. In October 2007, everything appeared as if it was coming together, and finally, after almost three years, it looked as if they were going to be able to break ground.
During that same time period, First Baptist Church of Plymouth, a church with a rich 176 year history, was experiencing a decline in attendance and they began to seek the Lord to see what direction they might take to further their ministry in the community.
Many meetings were held and many ideas were suggested. Outreach programs were introduced with little success. Nothing seemed to be working.
But it is in these times, when there seems to be no answers to the situations we find ourselves in, the God is working, carrying out His pre-determined plan, a plan He will reveal in His time that will ultimately bring glory to His name and be in the very best interest of His people.
It was during one of the meetings at FBCP that an idea was put forward, "What if we could find a church willing to partner with us. Could that be the answer?" A committee was formed and several churches were contacted: churches meeting in schools or renting other facilities, to see if they would be interested in partnering with FBCP. As of October of 2007, they were at a standstill. No church had been found that was interested in partnering with them.
Back at Main Street, they had just received word that the financing needed to build their new facility was going to be reduced significantly, and they were going to need $400,000 in the bank before the building could even be started. This was a shocking development. It would take three or four years to raise that kind of money.
The congregation at Main Street was called to fast and pray for 14 days from November 4-18 to seek the Lord's direction. On the 13th day of congregational prayer and fasting, during 12 hours of continual worship and prayer, Pastor Jeff received a phone call from Carlton Younge, a retired pastor and member of First Baptist Church of Plymouth. To say the least it was an interesting conversation in which Pastor Younge stated that they had been observing the growth of MSBC and had even attended several worship services. He said that it appeared to them that Main Street had people but no building whereas First Baptist had a building and few people.
Then the question was posed, "Would you consider partnering with us and forming a new church?"
Wow, this was unthinkable. But God does the unthinkable and when something is as unthinkable as this, could it be anyone else but God? On June 1, 2008, after much prayer and many meetings, the two congregations voted to form a new partnership and come together to worship and serve the Lord.
These are exciting days at Praise Baptist Church. God is leading and God is blessing in ways only He can. Were one church had a weakness the other had a strength and vice-a-versa. Through the cross of Christ, God gives life in the face of death, bring unity out of diversity and draws a watching world to Himself.
There is no better place to be than in the hands of a loving God. May we be clean vessels in His hands for His use for His glory.