It all started in 2012 in an awkward storefront, with a vision and a goal of saving for an ample piece of property in a central location. Two years later, the land was purchased and two years after that, the church has a new building with room for growth. God does indeed pay for what He orders! We thank God for His provision and protection, as well as His strength to sustain us during the past four years of this process.
Building Inauguration Sunday
See photos of the event here.
See a six-minute video here.
Many of you played an important part in this process, whether it was praying, giving and/or coming down with a work team. Thank you for being an instrument for His glory. Just a few weeks before the inauguration, one more work team came down to help install the dry wall. Six adults from Calvary Baptist Church (Winter Garden, Florida), as well as James’ brother from South Carolina, gave the project that final push toward completion so we could be ready for the big day.
Details are coming together to host work teams in 2015! The architect is drawing up the plans and submitting them to the municipality next week; the complex where our teams will stay is giving us an excellent rate; and we are gathering quotes for the building particulars. One challenge we are facing is what to do about parking. We can easily rent space nearby in order to get our plans approved, but we are also considering other long-term solutions. Please pray for wisdom in these decisions.
With an average attendance of 95, the new building continues to be full. The next steps are to get plans drawn and approved, plus the foundation poured. Please pray that the Lord would lead and provide for this next phase. Last month, we told you about the possibility of purchasing a steel building, but it fell through because it had already been sold. It did, however, open our eyes to the idea of looking for something similar.
We are excited about hosting various mission teams to work on the new building in early 2015. Of course, you don’t have to be on a team–we welcome help at any time and at any stage of the project! If you or your church is interested in being involved, please let us know.
August 10 we had our first service in the new building. The Lord blessed with a full house those first two weeks! So, out came the sledgehammers again! We took out a bathroom and the office to fit 30 more chairs. We now have a little more elbow room. (Click here for current pictures.)
The next steps are to get plans drawn and approved, plus the foundation poured. However, we have a unique opportunity to purchase a dismantled steel building. This structure would allow us to erect a two-story-high roof over the construction site. We are currently negotiating the purchase price and are estimating a cost between $8,000 and $12,000 for the purchase and transport to our property. We currently have $5,000 to use toward this project! Please pray that the Lord would lead and provide for this next phase.
After that, we would like to host mission teams to work on the new building in early 2015. Of course, you don’t have to be on a team–we welcome help at any time and at any stage of the project!
In our last update, we shared with you the huge answer to prayer regarding the property purchase. Thank you for all your replies via email and Facebook, showing your support and to let us know that you are praying. That is extremely encouraging!
Now that the waiting is over, it’s time to get to work! The church folks are putting in many hours renovating the existing structure, so we can begin holding services there on August 10. So far, we have been able to knock down all necessary interior walls, replace the roof and do most of the landscaping. Over this next week, we hope to paint, clean and get set up for Sunday.
Our hearts are full as we write this post, reflecting on God’s provision, protection, guidance and grace over the past few months. God provided the funds to buy the church property. In March that offer was accepted. By God’s grace, after more negotiations and waiting for documents beyond our control, we were able to sign and take possession today, July 29! To God be the glory!
We already started clearing away some of the overgrowth, and have a church workday scheduled for Saturday for the real demolition to begin! Our goal is to get the existing structure usable in order to have services starting August 10. From there, we will begin the process of drawing up plans and pouring the foundation with the hopes of work teams helping with the permanent church building!
A few supporters have asked why we need to purchase property now, at this young stage of the church plant. Here are the major reasons why, taken from https://ibamissions.wordpress.com/ministry/…
The Current Need – With a church established and growing, our next major goal is to purchase property and build a building. The strategy in this is in order to:
- Give room for growth – We have outgrown our current facility and are going to two Sunday services. Having an adequate building that gives plenty of room for growth will free up that time for other disciple-making opportunities.
- Establish a permanent presence in the community – In Argentina, many “evangelical” (the name given to any non-Catholic church) churches rent a facility and come and go quickly. However, owning property gives a sense of permanence in the community and security to its members.
- Be wise stewards of our resources – Loans are not only difficult to obtain in Argentina, but their rates fluctuate and can run 30% or more. Rent is increased 10% per year and is renegotiated after 3 years. This makes it unaffordable and unfeasible to stay in a rented facility for more than 3 years.
- Prepare the groundwork to hand over the work to a national pastor – Once the church is alleviated of the burden of a rental contract, it frees up funds to pay a national pastor’s salary. We want the church to be prepared as soon as possible.
Church planters say when a building reaches 80% capacity, it’s considered full because visitors feel uncomfortable trying to find a seat and are hesitant to return. Our somewhat awkward facility seats 75 people and we currently average 66 in attendance. In that regard, our building has reached its comfort level! Two core families have agreed to switch to our second service beginning September 18. Pray that this effort will allow us to reach as well as accommodate more people on Sundays.
After three weeks of demolition, construction, and preparation, the Lord gave us a great first Sunday in the new building! The Lord sent the help we needed on Saturday in order to get everything in order. (There are still projects left to complete, but those can be done in time.) It was exciting to be in a larger facility a little more permanent (we’ll at least be there for the next three years). The kids were excited to finally have their own classrom – and we didn’t have to walk two blocks to get there!
One of the most exciting blessings of the morning, though, were the two new families who came. Both of the families had called the BBN radio station looking for a good church, and they “just so happened” to show up on this inauguration day! However, God knows best – if they had shown up prior to this day, they would have felt crowded. (Church planters say that when a building reaches 80% occupacy, people begin to feel uncomfortable and lose their desire to return to that church.)
You can see pictures by clicking here
We had planned on spending Sunday evening doing evangelism and holding a special service. However, because of concerns regarding the H1N1 virus, the church voted to postpone those activities for now. Since the government is recommending not to meet in large groups and to limit contact outside of one’s home, it would damage our testimony to do something against those recommendations. So, James was able to get “back to being a pastor” and had time to continue his marriage counseling with a couple in the church and Amy was able to go visit the parents of her English student who was recently saved. What a great day! What a great God we serve!