By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
TROUT, La. (LBM) – Searcy Baptist Church had planned in 2013 to build a new worship center on a four acre plot adjoining its campus. But God had even bigger plans for the congregation, leading a local businessman in 2016 to donate 30 acres of land less than a mile away.
Dedicated Nov. 19, this year, the new facility (nearly 15,000 square feet under roof) includes a worship center with a seating capacity of 299, education space, an office suite and a fellowship area. The former facility contained fewer than 5,000 square feet of floor space.
Pastor Reid Terry told the Baptist Message that God revealed Himself to the congregation in miraculous ways along the journey to the expansive campus.
Meeting in January 2016 to discuss adding onto the old campus, church leaders prayed God would confirm their decision through a large donation to help jumpstart the building process. Within a month, a businessman (who attended a church breakfast for oil field workers in February 2014) informed the congregation that he wanted to donate land, and lots of it.
“We just believed God would do something great and He did,” Terry said. “Within the month, this 30 acre property that we’re on now was given to us, donated completely to us, ready to be built upon. The land was clear and the pad was built. All we had to do was pour concrete and get to work.
“I’ve told our church many times, ‘That breakfast cost us about $600 in mission money,’” Terry said. “’God used $600 to buy 30 acres of real estate that was ready to be built on.’”
Construction on the building began in June 2016. Two months later, a historic flood hit many areas of south Louisiana, impacting some volunteers who were vital to the construction project.
But just as God did with the donation of the property, He was faithful in providing workers who were knowledgeable to complete the task, he said. Volunteers from the Baptist Builders along with others from the community continued to help with construction efforts. Then, after a break in the work in late 2016, professionals were hired to finish the construction and completed the building early last month.
Only recently moved into the new facility, the church already has experienced growth.
Sunday school attendance has reached 100, about a 30 percent increase; and, worship attendance also has grown, topping 160 worshipers, or about 60 more in the Sunday morning service.
“The church understands our new facility is simply a tool we can use to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Terry said. “We know people will come in the doors just to check out the new building, but the newness of a building will eventually wear off. We are excited about the future because we know God was building a church long before we ever broke ground on a building project, and, we believe that He will utilize these new facilities to continue building His church.”