BATAVIA, N.Y.—Grace Baptist Church has experienced a “baby bonanza,” as seven babies have been born in just two months. Pastor Donald Shirk has said for years, “There is more than one way to grow a church!”
Grace Baptist praises the Lord for a growing church—not just because babies are being born, but because spiritual births are happening as well. People who have been running from God are now running to Him. All that spiritual and physical growth has Grace Baptist exceeding its space. “Our nursery is really full, our college class is really full, our teens still need to use another facility for their class, and we are still running two services to accommodate our Sunday morning attendance growth. All of this we praise the Lord for,” says Pastor Shirk.
Now the church is planning the second part of a multiphase project, hoping to break ground in May on a $2.5 million expansion that would be complete by the summer of . In the meantime, the church holds multiple morning services and even rents space for its youth group from a neighboring Methodist church.
Intrigued by a photo of seven babies sitting in the front row of the church, a reporter for the Batavia Daily News contacted the church, resulting in a feature story where the pastor and church leaders attributed the growth to faithful Bible exposition.
“The Bible is a supernatural book that speaks to people like nothing else,” Pastor Shirk was quoted in the story, explaining the growth “is through word of mouth, because it works. We work hard at doing a few things well.”
Building committee chairman Mike Woodruff added that the congregation has followed fundamental principles rather than caught up in fancy growth strategies. “We stick to the Bible. It’s a very caring congregation. All kinds of needs are met by the people,” Woodruff says.
- Read Growing with Grace in the Daily News (Batavia, N.Y.).