During our church missions conference in November of 2005, I presented to our church a burden the Lord had given to me to plant churches in neighboring communities. We set our sights on Princeton, IL, and began to seek God on the matter. Pastor James Beller http://21tnt.com/, and his study on Baptist influence in America was a great inspiration and encouragement to us. Our larges obstacles seemed to be the time and finances necessary to accomplish the project. We learned again that nothing is impossible for God.
By the end of February, 2006, God provided a place to meet. After running into frustration seeking a suitable and affordable place all morning, I had exhausted all my leads. I decided to take a lunch break, and parked in the first open space in the down town section to eat and pray. As I looked in front of me, I noticed a sign for the "Chamber of Commerce", and thought it might be worth talking to someone in that office. When I went inside the building, I was amazed to find it was set up exactly for our needs. There was a large lobby and good rest rooms. The conference room looked as if it was set up for a church meeting including a piano, pulpit, chairs, small kitchen in back. More amazing than that, I found out it was available for us to use free of charge. That fit our budget just right.
We chose March 19, 2006 to be our first Sunday meeting for our "Heritage Baptist Meetings". We made flyers and began to knock on doors to invite folks and seek to win souls. Every Saturday afternoon, we went to Princeton with a small group of soul winners, and began Sunday afternoon preaching services at 2:00 in the "Proudy Community Building". Each Sunday we would take a family from Amboy on a rotating basis with us to participate in the service.
We were able to see folks get saved, and God blessed the services with a hand full of people that began attending faithfully. Since we had no expenses, we began a savings account with the offerings we were taking in at the meetings. During the summer, we had a week of neighborhood Bible clubs for children which resulted in some good publicity, but no new prospects.
On October 19, 2006, we began a midweek Bible study on Thursday evenings at the Proudy building. I went through studies in our discipleship course, as Carol had lessons for the children. In January of 2007, we began to rotate the Sunday preaching services with Pastor Chad Delhotal and Nathan Fritz. Our attendance began to struggle for the afternoon service, and we thought it might be good to make a change.
On July 7, 2007, Brother Chad began Sunday morning services in Princeton, which left a big hole for us to fill in our services at home. This was the greatest sacrifice our church had to make in loosing one of our key families. We were confident the Lord was in it, so we were willing to do it.
Soon, the attendance began to grow again, and a Sunday evening service was added to the schedule. In October, the "Heritage Baptist Meetings" became the "Heritage Baptist Church" of Princeton http://www.askfortheoldpaths.com/. They called Chad Delhotal to be their pastor, and were able to purchase their own building. First Baptist Church of Amboy, held the ordination of Pastor Delhotal on November 11, 2007.
This project may be the greatest accomplishments of our Church's 152 year history. I am convinced the greatest spiritual awakenings in history were church planting revivals. One word of caution - this endeavor also brought on one of Satan's greatest attacks on our own local church. Thank God He has proven again that His grace is still sufficient.