When a Barn Becomes a Church

Those of you familiar with the Jacksonville, Ala., area are most likely aware of the unique Barn Restaurant located on Highway 21, on the south edge of that university city. For more than eight years, people enjoyed the environment of having a delicious meal in the spacious area, which once was a dairy farmer’s barn. The rather imposing silos, which years earlier were used in handling the needs of dairy farming, are still present. They are a reminder of what took place on the property in the past.

There is some bad news to report. If you haven’t already heard, the Barn Restaurant has closed its doors. It no longer is a place for unique dining. Yet there is some really good news to share with you. The Barn has become a church. Recently, the forward-thinking family of faith at FBC Jacksonville purchased the building for a second campus for church ministry. The building has now become a place for worship of the Risen Lord.

I was at the first service held at the Barn. It was a Sunday night and there was an evening meal served, followed by a celebration worship service. “Think Big” is the theme for the financial campaign which will seek to cover the costs accompanied with the purchase of the facility and, the funds will also be used to upgrade the facilities at the main campus.

I was excited to witness the baptism of two ladies at the inaugural worship service. They were baptized in an old-fashioned trough and the people of the church gave the Lord a standing ovation following their baptism. It was a moving moment for me personally. I was glad to see a new place for worship begin with this testimony for the Lord.

Since participating in this unique worship experience, I have mused over the significance of this occasion. A building formerly used to feed people physically has been transformed into one which seeks to nourish people spiritually. A place where people met to have secular fellowship has now become a place where spiritual fellowship thrives. This is a remarkable effort to establish all kinds of ministries to reach all kinds of people.

The pastor and the church family are to be commended on their kingdom vision for the future. This unique place will be used to reach people with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. They will feed those who are “hungering and thirsting for righteousness.” They keep the baptismal trough full of water, so others can give testimony to their faith in Christ.

I left that night encouraged to the core of my being. I was glad to be in the house of the Lord, even when it once was a barn, then a restaurant. In fact, I felt like I was in the middle of a miracle in the making. A barn had become a church.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

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