Nearly 300 people settled into our sanctuary on Sunday afternoon and over 500 packed the sanctuary three days later on Wednesday afternoon. One – a Memorial Day weekend concert by the Newark Chorale and the other a memorial service for a well-known UD Hall of Fame football player who succumbed to pancreatic cancer a week earlier. I attended both of these events – simply listening to the concert and then officiating at the memorial service. At the conclusion of these events, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude to God for what He was accomplishing – yes – through a building. I thought to myself, “This building was worth it!” Let me explain…
The completed building addition and sanctuary renovation were dedicated on January 29, 2012, just two and a half years ago. It was a “full congregational” project from beginning to end, with so many people giving sacrificially to the “A Work of Heart” campaign. The total gifts pledged and given approached $1.6 million! During the campaign, we emphasized that this building was not an end in itself – not simply that we might have a convenient and comfortable place to worship and fellowship – but more importantly, this building was to be a means to a greater end – indeed, that we might become an increasing and visible presence in our community for the sake of Jesus Christ. These two events separated by three days reminded me that God has answered our prayer significantly. You see, what was special about these two events is two-fold: 1) the vast majority of the 800-900 people who came through our doors were from the community, and 2) we would have never been capable of hosting these events without the enhanced Commons, sanctuary, and Frisbie Center.
The memorial service was made possible because one of our own – Tom Hall – was willing to step out of his comfort zone and share Jesus Christ with a former teammate (in the spirit of our 3C’s theme, a remarkable story that Tom will share with us in an upcoming service) and then casually offered the BFCN facility and ministry to help in any way we could. The service could have been held at any venue on the UD campus or any number of more prestigious places, but they wanted to see the BFCN sanctuary. The wife, family, and friends walked into the sanctuary and said, “THIS is where we want the service to be held!” They then looked at the Frisbie Center and said, “THIS is where we want a reception to follow!” Many helped make the service happen. We had to be ready for a crowd in excess of 700 possibly. So many people helped out – from service support in music, sound, and video…parking attendants… manning the coffee bar in The Commons… moving chairs and tables – and God blessed. We placed spiritual literature and Gospel booklets out on a table free for the taking. Over 500 people from our greater community heard the Gospel because YOU GAVE and continue to GIVE. The family was overwhelmed, grateful, and blessed… and so were we!
At the end of the day, I thought – “Everyone at BFCN shared in that service!” Every person who gave so sacrificially – money and hours of labor… who prayed diligently for the approval process with the County and State…and put up with the inconvenience of a building in turmoil for a couple of years – all had a part! So, when you may be tempted to think, “It’s just a building,” be reminded that by God’s grace it has become so much more! It has indeed become a means to a greater end – that of reaching our community with the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ – people we never would have the opportunity to serve without the building God has provided. Only eternity will reveal those in heaven because of this church at 808 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE, 19702. To that end, let us continue to pray and serve…
For God’s glory,
Share your “captured, convinced, and compelled” stories with us. Let us know the divine appointments God is bringing your way and how you are able by God’s grace to make the most of His opportunities. Simply email Pastor Bill or comment below. We will have a regular spot in the BFCN Newsletter to share these together to encourage one another. We will only publish first names and will protect the identities of those with whom we are sharing Christ. Let’s embrace this adventure together for God’s glory!