Over the last 6 months, Pastor Jeff Phillips and First Baptist Church in Thompson Falls have been immersed in building a new auditorium. So, how does a church of 75 build a new facility during a pandemic that will hold up to 300 people? It is with great faith, steadfast devotion, and a lot of perseverance. For those who have experienced it, you know that a building project takes a physical and emotional toll on a pastor, but God sustains you through the process. Jeff affirms that, as well. “I just continue to be overwhelmed at the moving of God’s hand.”
God brought ministry partners, like the North Carolina Baptist Men, who, despite Covid-19, brought teams in July and August to provide expertise, physical labor, and so much encouragement. MTSBC Churches also responded with teams from Central Baptist Church in Lewistown, First Baptist Church in Circle, Big Sky Fellowship in Helena, and Big Sky Baptist Church in Great Falls. Jeff says, “Our Montana churches have just been phenomenal and I cannot express enough how much we appreciate their support. From the loan provided by the Baptist Foundation of Montana, to the use of the Disaster Relief shower unit, we feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing organization. God’s hand has been at work throughout the whole process.”
Pastor Jeff believes that God will use this new facility to be an outreach to their community and serve them in practical ways. Though the building process has been physically demanding, he knows the real work is yet to come. The church family is eager to invite new people and they look forward to a time when they can provide a “Dinner Theatre” at Christmas and Easter to share the Gospel message.
One of the ways Pastor Jeff says he has also seen God’s hand is His provision. The debt load will be less than 20% of their investment. The church has responded with such generosity and ministry partners have blessed them with gifts that have made a huge difference. Easthaven Baptist Church in Kalispell will be sending a team in the near future to lay down the flooring and the church will start using the new auditorium soon. Week to week, they will continue to make improvements until they are ready to hold a building dedication ceremony in the coming months.
MTSBC Executive Director, Barrett Duke, reflected, “The size of a congregation is often only limited by the size of its vision for the community it serves.” He believes FBC Thompson Falls has the leadership and the vision to fill their new auditorium to capacity with people seeking and serving the Lord.