Every Churches Story

Posted on September 26th, by Bloomington First Church in Pastor's Connection. Comments Off on Every Churches Story

Preparing for our 100th anniversary celebration has sent my mind meandering back through some history of every church in my life. I remember when my home church in Shelbyville, IN moved from downtown to a lot on south Hwy 9. I can still see and smell the drywall dust, paint, scaffolding, and empty shell of the structure that would eventually take shape as our church building. In Lake Worth, FL we worshipped in a church that had been a military chapel. The founding pastor took some laymen to Homestead Air Force Base, dismantled the chapel, numbered every board, brought it back to Lake Worth and reassembled it on the corner of 2nd Avenue and North C Street. Our first pastorate in Champaign was in a little building on a corner lot that had 2 additions by the time we got there. The parsonage had been a farm house in the country that they had moved into town and placed right across from the church. It was the largest house on the street! Our second church was in Highland, IN. Florence Lewis was the founding pastor and helped organize the church in 1940. They built their first sanctuary in 1944. What was going on in 1944? Yep…WW II. Amid rationing, hard economic times and many men in the military, sacrifices were made, homes were mortgaged, many hours of hard labor into the night after a long day of factory work produced a lighthouse of holiness in that community. The Sterling church was organized on Pearl Harbor Sunday (imagine that!) and most of the building was built by the pastor, his brother-in-law and dedicated laymen. And now, here in Bloomington, I think about those first four families meeting in homes just 7 years after the Church of the Nazarene was born in 1908! I think about the two families who kept the vision alive through hard times and how their prayers and perseverance paid off. Think about the “good fight of faith” to fend off discouragement and rebuild after two fires! I think about the staff pastors and people who have gone out from here and are still making an impact for the Kingdom. And to see where we are now…and it’s paid for! Every local church has a story. They all begin with a God who calls people to grasp the vision of spreading the gospel in a community and then make a kingdom difference in the lives of individuals and families. We ALL are here today because of the dedication and sacrifice of those who have laid the foundation (often, literally) for us. While we celebrate what God has done, let us rededicate ourselves to the vision He still calls us to. Perhaps the first 100 years were just a rehearsal for what God wants to do next in the life of BFC. What if He’s saving His best for last?! God is faithful. Let us be faithful! See you Sunday. Invite a friend. ~ PB

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