The journey together for Trinity Bible Fellowship Church in Blandon has not been an easy one. Such steps of great faith rarely are. Early on, for example, ministry leaders who were used to doing things a certain way had to quickly learn how to do new things differently, together. Leadership teams had to quickly assimilate key people in new roles. By God’s grace, only a handful of people choose a different path and no longer remain with us. However, a rush of new people in Trinity’s already undersized facility required fresh vision and action to provide additional space to continue our dream of being better together. In a short time, friends became family; virtual strangers became committed servants. The Lord’s kindness has blessed us already with a deep sense of history and a wide set of relationships in only five short years. And for all this, we are truly grateful.
One of the more exciting and challenging steps of faith has been our dream of building new facilities for greater fellowship and outreach locally. In June 2018, the Board of Elders presented a three-phase plan to expand which included a multi-use gymnasium, new kitchen, youth meeting rooms, restrooms, expanded sanctuary, and administrative offices. Phase one of the project would prioritize the Family Life Center (i.e., gym), kitchen, youth spaces, restrooms, and much needed storage. After a great deal of prayer and discussion, the elders proposed a “self-directed” capital campaign which was ultimately affirmed by the congregation. Then the pandemic hit. Despite the uncertainty of “doing” church amid Covid-19, our folks continued to pray, plan, and prepare to give towards the building expansion. And again, God was faithful. No big surprise there.
The past two years have seen a much appreciated but modest growth in our building fund. By the fall of 2021, we had roughly a quarter of the proposed 2.4-million-dollar Phase One project raised. Still, as the elders prayed and continued to dream about building, it was apparent that more time and expertise was required to see our original vision of new facilities come to fruition. Rev. Bob Entner of Impact Stewardship was hired in September 2021 to help direct a renewed building campaign effort. This campaign – dubbed “Building Up, Reaching Out” – would see the majority of our members taking an active role in the project. The focus of the new stewardship effort would be on transformational discipleship, not simply the supply of necessary dollars for construction.
Throughout the month of January 2022, our membership has been actively engaged in preparing our hearts for the Commitment and Celebration Dinner to be held on January 30, 2022. In addition to our Sunday morning messages, our Sunday school classes, children’s events, and special prayer gatherings – including a 24-hour Day of Prayer – have all been aligned to better prepare our hearts to be good stewards of God’s resources. One of our members, Mike Rutt, even built a beautiful HO scale model of the new building. In a strange twist of God’s sovereignty, Mike passed away from Covid-19 on the same day that his model was revealed to the church – January 9, 2022.
We at Trinity have also been blessed by our friends down the road at New Life BFC (Oley, PA). New Life has graciously allowed us to hold our commitment dinner in their gymnasium. Our church family, which is used to eating meals in four or five different rooms due to limited seating, will be able to sit together in one space to celebrate and to commit our hearts and treasures to the Lord. We are truly so thankful for Pastor Scott and Pastor Jim, as well as all the New Life volunteers, who are sacrificially assisting us with this important day. Personally, I believe that God is going to do something really amazing through this campaign.
While the campaign has a goal of raising funds to build new facilities, our heart is really focused on continuing to become a better version of what we have been as a church from the beginning – a church that seeks to build one another up and to reach out to others for the glory of God. You see, our dream involves current TBFC individuals and families, but it also extends to new faces and new families across our community. The people that we live beside, work next to, and attend school with in Berks County are a part of our plans for the next chapter of our story. People, ultimately, who matter to God and, therefore, should matter to us. Facilities are not the goal; they are means to an end. And the “end,” in our case, is making more fully committed disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who live on mission and serve Christ joyfully and obediently in the church.
Well, it is likely that by the time you read this article our “Building Up, Reaching Out” campaign will be long over. But our vision of being the kind of church that builds up and reaches out faithfully will be far from over. If you think of us, please pray for us. Despite some really wonderful things happening, like this stewardship campaign, the past few months have been extremely difficult. And yet, as always, God has been growing us stronger, making us better together, for His glory and for our good. If you see me, feel free to ask me about where things stand with the building plans. But even more importantly, ask me what God is doing in the lives of people. That, after all, is what the church is really all about.
Rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Pastor Dan Williams