In 2003, members of the Clermont Church in Florida, guided by their pastor, Jim King, stepped out in faith and bought a prime five-acre parcel of land just north of the city for $300,000. The congregation outgrew their original facility, and had high hopes for outreach they could conduct from this new location.
For 13 years, church members saved and sacrificed to raise the money necessary to build. Finally, in 2016, they were near enough to the goal to sell their existing building, and lease it back on Sabbaths while they waited for construction of the new church.
For the next year, Ron Hoffecker, Clermont pastor, and Buddy Rogers, church elder and son of a founding family in the church, dealt with pre-construction tasks and building plans. The church continued to raise funds and pray for God’s guidance. One family donated $50,000, which brought the total amount on hand to $750,000. The plan was to build a 5,000-square-foot sanctuary with additional facilities being added later as money was available.
However, work didn’t proceed according to plan. The state highway department determined that a deceleration lane might be needed — an unanticipated cost of more than $100,000. Building plans and materials costs continued to escalate as time dragged on, and it seemed like the hurdles were growing increasingly problematic.
The congregation was at a difficult point, but God knows no limits.
It was tempting to be discouraged at times, but He continued to provide clear evidence of His guidance.
Another local congregation, Clermont First Baptist Church, had purchased 40 acres of property, and they were ready to begin construction of their new campus. However, no buyer had emerged for their current facilities, so they were unable to move forward. Their existing location of four buildings totaling 40,000-square-feet included a 400-seat sanctuary, an administration building, a youth building, and a large gym.
Negotiations began between the two churches. When the final contracts were signed, the Baptist church agreed to take ownership of the five-acre parcel of land in exchange for a $900,000 credit against the price of their facilities. They also signed a lease to share the property, and pay rent for the next three years while their new facilities were constructed.
Nearly 300 members and guests gathered to celebrate the dedication of the facilities on Sabbath, August 26, 2017. Florida Conference President Mike Cauley gave the dedication message. At the afternoon service public servants spoke. including the mayor, police chief, county commissioner, and a sheriff’s officer. Several of them gave personal testimonies about God’s leading in their own lives. The day concluded with a concert by southern gospel singer Larry Ford.
God humbled the congregation by showing He had bigger plans for them than they had for themselves. They were thinking small, while He was planning big!
Florida | November 2017