“A walk of faith”: Church’s building, destroyed in 2011, now rebuilt

LANCASTER Seven years ago, the Jordan Missionary Baptist Church congregation lost their worship center when a violent storm destroyed the roof. But God compelled several Texas Baptist ministries to provide aid, and the 125-member congregation now has a reconstructed facility.

On Feb. 28, 2016, the members and many who had helped them celebrated and worshiped together in the rebuilt sanctuary. In 2017, JMBC completed Phase II—a family life center with a kitchen and classroom space.

“This has been a walk of faith,” JMBC pastor Sinclair Royal told the TEXAN.

In an SBTC video recorded in 2017, Royal recalled seeing the building after the storm: “It was the most heart-felt, heart-wrenching thing I had ever seen.” Then he added, “Unbeknownst to us, God had already made a way.”

The morning after the April 2011 storm, members were boxing items to store when an old pickup truck wheeled into the parking lot. Royal said, “I thought it was another contractor. But it was a pastor.”

Kevin Prichard, the pastor of Rolling Hills Baptist Church, told Royal, “God has laid you on our hearts.” The nearby Anglo congregation offered to share their building with the JMBC African American congregation, and Rolling Hills became their interim home starting the very next Sunday.

During the rebuilding process, the congregation faced multiple challenges. But JMBC repeatedly witnessed God’s provision.

Through their affiliation with the SBTC, the church’s leadership connected with the Southern Baptists of Texas Foundation. The congregation, determined to continue worshiping together as an independent group, looked to the Foundation for options, and requested a loan for renovation.

Bart McDonald, the Foundation’s executive director, met with Royal at the church, intending to explain that the Foundation would not be able to help.

“But,” McDonald said, “I’ll never forget [when] one of the senior saints put her hand on my forearm, looked me straight in the eye, and said, ‘I’ve been praying that God would send us help, and I believe that you’re the answer to that prayer.’”

McDonald knew then he should not say “no.” He sensed God prompting Foundation to come alongside JMBC.

“I told them that I would do everything I could within my power to find a solution to their predicament,” McDonald said.

God’s solution involved several ministries filling key roles in the rebuilding process.

The Foundation helped with planning and funding. The River Builders Ministry of First Baptist Church Forney adopted the church as a mission project, sending volunteer teams of construction experts and laborers over two consecutive summers. Ritchie Dailey, a contractor recommended by the Foundation, picked up where the River Builders left off, helping identify cost-effective options and completing the facility’s renovation.

“This has been a refreshing experience for us,” Royal said, before adding, “Sadly enough, Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week. It has been a refreshing experience working together with brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of race.”

JMBC has since become involved in other support and training ministries of the SBTC, such as the Church Revitalization project and evangelism training.

Royal expressed the congregation’s gratitude for all the resources God supplied, saying, “We are so thankful because nobody but the Lord made a way. We thank God that he used the Foundation [and FBC Forney] as an instrument of blessing, but also we thank him that he’s the kind of God that makes ways out of no ways.”

Echoing Royal’s sentiment, McDonald said, “This is the testimony of Jordan Missionary Baptist Church—the body of Christ working together, everybody doing their part and getting the impossible done because we have a God who knows no impossibilities.”

TEXAN Correspondents
Kay Adkins
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