I was recently touched by the humble beginning of one of our strongest churches in the Midwest. When the pastor and his spouse interviewed with the district supervisor decades ago, the only thing they knew about the church was that it had a small building and a handful of people. They prayed about it and said yes before they even knew exactly where it was. They arrived to find less people than assumed and a history of 11 pastors in 15 years. They were paid $25 a week and lived in the back of the church for 4 years. They spent considerable time pouring out their life for the church and community. When they got ready to build to accommodate a growing congregation, the bank turned them down, even after they had poured the foundation (on the advice of the contractor). The pastor was sure that the church would be the laughing stock of the community.
Through a weekly radio program and a rumor that the church was in a bind, the vice-president of another bank called the pastor and then convinced his bank board to take a chance on the church. In three years they paid off their new sanctuary and the church continued to explode! A lot of miracles happened back then and still continue to take place. You may wonder what happened to the original banker (who turned down the original loan request). He came to the opening service and the next. On the third Sunday, he came again and gave his heart to Jesus. He started attending the church, now lives next door to the pastor and is one of his best friends. He recently paid to have the church parking lot re-paved and serves in several key leadership roles. God has a great sense of humor and it’s sure worth it to remember that God writes the final chapter!
Today is a national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The effects of his life echo the possibilities that are latent in people who continue to dream regardless of the odds. Humble beginnings leave room for grand conclusions.
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor