CLEVELAND—City View Baptist Church welcomed 104 guests to its first service, meeting in the Wyndham Hotel after a yearlong series of Bible studies in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood on the west side of Cleveland.

The church plant is led by Ken and Renee Dockery and Bill and Natalie Taylor, two Continental Baptist Missions couples sent by First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs, Mich.

“How exciting! Our neighbors came to encourage us, our core families were there, and one person dropped in when they saw the sign on the sidewalk and said they’d be back next week,” Renee Dockery says.

The missionary couples had invested three years in prefield ministry, only to have their original sending church drop its support and sponsorship. When Pastor Jim Howard, who serves on the Continental Baptist Missions board, learned of the problem, he led First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs to consider commissioning the two couples, culminating in Adoption Sunday on April 20, 2008.

“The First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs has been uniquely and joyfully prepared by the Lord Jesus to voluntarily adopt into our church family these wonderful and gifted families,” Pastor Howard said of the event. “The Lord has providentially brought us together to partner with one another in reaching the lost for Jesus Christ.”

The new church is also supported through the Stretch and Sow church planting program sponsored by the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches. David and Pat Warren, state representatives for the OARBC, participated in the first service of the new church.

Initial weather reports did not look helpful, with 40 mph winds and four to six inches of snow predicted for the morning of the opening service. But the snow held off. After setting up chairs for 70 people, the Dockerys and Taylors were surprised by the 104 guests.

“Now I know that numbers do not necessarily constitute a God-pleasing day, but it was such an encouragement to us after all these years of waiting, traveling, planning, praying, and preparing,” Renee Dockery says.

The church planting team suggests several prayer requests for the new ministry: (1) wisdom in being strategic in our efforts in getting the word out; (2) wisdom in meeting the physical needs of folks who are hurting financially; (3) God’s working in people’s hearts toward salvation; (4) clear direction in scheduling future Bible studies; (5) continued strength and health for the team; and (6) continued desire to draw closer to the Lord for both the adults and children.