New Beginnings Family Fellowship, Winamac, IN
Submitted by Pastor Brent W. Smith
New Beginnings Family Fellowship was started in 2013 as a daughter work of Walkerton United Pentecostal Church. My wife and I had a burden for the city of Winamac for nearly three years prior, and as a result we launched this work in a rented building on North Market Street. We had new guests at our first service and continued to see slow, steady growth with about ten that first year. We saw many backsliders pray back through, and within one year we raised the funds to buy a portable baptismal. We only had one extra room and one bathroom, but we tried to make everything look first class.
We became an autonomous church at the end of 2015, two years ahead of schedule. We broke 50 once last year and have hit 38 this year again already. Our Wednesday night bible study has doubled in size. We were able to lease the building next to us and complete some small remodeling projects to spruce it up. With the new lease in 2016, we doubled our seating capacity in the sanctuary to 50. The new lease also gave us a second bathroom and a kitchen with a fellowship hall to seat 100. We received amazing donations, including a sound board from a local business owner and new padded chairs donated by another church to seat 200 in a future building. We built a platform and added an overhead projector. We launched a Youth Department and a Sunday School. With the added space however, there also came added rent expense. And even though we were getting a fair deal, we started to feel like we were throwing these funds away.
Then God opened the door to buy our own building in a prime location. This property has a deeded access from the highway, the same square footage as we had in the old building, and a paved parking lot all the way around. The property happens to be located next to a property we had been trying to buy for three years. This could easily be transformed into the next phase of our campus as we grow. We have also already communicated with the owner of the other half of our new building and we have received his word we can have the first chance to buy when he is ready to sell. If we can acquire the other half in the future, we would have nearly 6,000 square feet with adequate space to grow to upwards of 220 people. The UPCI Loan Fund helped us to secure the financing quickly to move on this new building and without their help, I feel this move would have been very difficult for an infant church as ours.
In addition to our new building, the Indiana District North American Missions has helped us buy a church van and it traverses our streets, picking people up for church in our new space, and delivering food to the less fortunate of our community. All this has been done in four very short years, but the best news of all is the seven baptisms in Jesus Name and the twelve who have received the Holy Ghost or prayed back through! This is a direct result of the power of God, giving from North American Missions, and financing from the UPCI Loan Fund, all of which without we would not be where we are. I feel this move has launched us as a permanent pillar of our local community. It has moved us out of the storefront and into the future as the church for our community to look to for assistance.
I feel we have only begun! How many small communities are there around our nation that are waiting for someone to step out in faith and plant a lighthouse for the hurting, lonely and broken? I challenge you to take a drive and look through the eyes of God. You will see these towns and suburbs as they really are, fields that are waiting for harvest. To God be all the glory!