Small Church Dedicates New Building in Two Years
A church has a dedication service when their building loan is paid off. For most, that takes several years. One small church in Long Creek, Ore., accomplished it in two years. In fact, they never went into debt in the first place.
Preparation for building began in August 2016. The next month, volunteers from Maranatha joined with church members and locals from the community to begin building the new church. On Sept. 1, 2018, the church was dedicated, debt-free. Local community individuals provided materials and labor and contributed financially to the project.
Long Creek Church has a membership of 52. According to the city’s website, www.cityoflongcreek.com, the town's 220 residents engage in ranching, logging and natural resource-based industries. Home-based enterprises and small businesses also provide residents with work opportunities. The Adventist church has been an important part of the community. They built a large fellowship hall to host funeral dinners for members of the community, free of charge.
Their next challenge is how to translate community goodwill into new members for God’s kingdom. The church is in Grant County, population 7,185. The John Day and Dayville Adventist churches are also in Grant County.
One person from the local community who attended the Friday evening service chatted with Leland Spencer, one of the church members. Although he did not stay for supper, he told Spencer, “I really respect you guys.” Spencer says that is the type of comment they hear quite often.
Former pastors Rod Bieber, Fred Ellis, Fred Cornforth and Darold Bigger joined current Long Creek Church pastor Monte Wood and David Prest Jr., Idaho Conference president, in leading the congregation and visitors in the celebration events. Included in the church service was the ordination of a local elder, Caleb Morris. Tim Greenlaw brought a group of young people to provide music for the services. Dan Rotthoff, former volunteer lay pastor who led the church into the building project, and Kenneth Casper, project leader for the Maranatha portion of the building project, were honored for their contributions to the new building.
A lot of reminiscing, good food, uplifting music, inspiring messages and obvious blessings from God made the weekend event a highlight in the church’s history. Cornforth received a framed piece of green shag carpet as a gift. When he was the Long Creek pastor, one of the first decisions he was asked about (before he had even officially started) was which color of carpet to pick for a church remodeling project. The gift brought laughter and good memories.
There are a few finishing touches to complete. Church members are ready to work on them and to continue sharing Jesus in their communities. But the church is dedicated after just two years — with God’s blessings.