New Melle Baptist obtains land by faith
ST. CHARLES COUNTY—Liquid sunshine June 10 could not dampen the spirit at New Melle Baptist Church, south of Wentzville in St. Charles County.
The core group celebrated in the rain the dedication of 3.5 acres of land and a house that was purchased in cash by the church. More than 50 people from the church and community turned out for the event.
The Buckhannon Brothers opened the event with guitar and mandolin versions of great old hymns and songs. Greg Hitt and his son, Greg Jr., represented a modern sound of music, and Stan Williams did a dramatic presentation about Abraham. The Twin Rivers Baptist Association also provided its block party trailer to help with the celebration.
The church invited Spencer Hutson, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) biblical stewardship specialist, to give the charge.
Hutson said that “this land is not a monument to be revered, but a tool to be used. The people of this church can proclaim Jesus from this place to this community.” He also stated that having a great opportunity like this is not a time to sit, but will cost the church in more effort, time and resources.
Pastor Fred Barker was delighted with the event, considering the rain. He was also excited that the church of 35 people was starting to catch a vision for the future.
“We looked at the property often, and wished we could get it,” he said. “I mentioned it to the people who owned the land, and then when they passed, to their kids. Eventually they came back and asked if they were still interested in purchasing the property.
“The timing just didn’t seem right. We marched across the parking lot, and prayed that if God wanted us to have it, he would make it possible.”
The church had a building fund of about $5,000, and last October was considering getting a 15-year loan. Nothing was decided as faith was built; at the end of December, someone gave the church $70,000.
“The land was in total about $120,000,” Barker said. “We were able to pay for the land free and clear on the day of closing. What a blessing!
“After that, we have received about $110,000 toward the new building. People have been giving sacrificially. There have been large gifts and small gifts. Kids are even giving pennies. That is a great part of it, too.”
Building a new church and expanding its ministries to match the growing needs of the community are the current goals.
“We are (seeking) a good understanding of the area, the demographics and the needs,” Barker said. “The church had some difficulties in the past, and that took some time to get through. God laid it on my heart when I first came that this church would be a strong evangelistic witness in this community. The area has grown around the church. Now, it is time that the church grows, by meeting the needs of this community and reaching out to it.”