SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Two churches in Tallahassee, Fla., and Gretna, Neb., have been awarded grants from Baptist Builders Club, a ministry of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. The grants were awarded after the November meeting of the board of administrators, which was held concurrently with the GARBC Council of Eighteen meetings. In addition to participating in Council discussions about church planting, the board met with Michael Nolan, director of Baptist Builders Club, to discuss future programs to help growing churches.
Providence Baptist Church, Tallahassee, Fla., will receive a grant of $12,000 for a building project. The growing church joined the GARBC in 2005 and has held eight baptisms in the last year.
“Right now we’re meeting in a small house that we converted to a church building,” says Pastor Walter McDonald. “The grant money will assist us in building a new church building, then we’ll use the current house for office space.”
“I’m teaching the senior class in the church foyer to make room for other classes in the building,” Pastor McDonald says, noting that the new building will allow the church to expand its ministry to children.
Gretna Baptist Church, Gretna, Neb., will receive a grant of $15,000 to assist the church as it plants Chalco Hills Baptist Church in a nearby community. The Gretna church was planted by Roger Ridley, a veteran missionary with Baptist Church Planters. Pastor Ridley will be the lead church planter for the new church in Chalco Hills. He is assisted by Blane Barfknecht, associate pastor of Gretna Baptist. He was recently commissioned by Campus Baptist Church, Ames, Iowa, as a church planting missionary under the Timothy Program of Baptist Church Planters.
Gretna Baptist has marked its major milestones with new church planting initiatives. Two years ago, on the first Sunday after moving into its new building, the church immediately sent members from its congregation to begin planting a new work in Bennington, Neb. In September, when the church held a service to mark its graduation from mission status, it also made plans to sponsor the first service of the Chalco Hills church a month later.
The GARBC is comprised of more than 1,400 churches in 46 states, Canada, and Saipan. Baptist Builders Club is a GARBC ministry that provides grants and loans to churches in the Association. Each fellowshipping church is independent and autonomous; the GARBC does not hold the deed to any church property and makes no ownership claim for the churches it assists.
The grants were made possible by churches and individuals who regularly contribute to the church planting fund, Michael Nolan said.
“Robert Ketcham founded Baptist Builders Club on the idea that many individual donors would contribute two dollars at a time toward the building of new churches,” Nolan said. “It works the same today. Our projects are funded by people and churches who have a burden for church planting.”