Bryson R. Thompson, Pastor Assurance Baptist Church, Dayton, Ohio

2020 has certainly been a peculiar year. Fortunately for the Christian, we are a peculiar people whose God is still on the throne. Ephesians 3:20-21 says,

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Our church was planted in September 2018. We met in a public school where God saved many souls. We baptized several in an inflatable pool. We averaged 80 in attendance and were
beginning to thrive by February 2020.  When the Governor’s mandate came that schools would be shut down in person due to the pandemic, we were closed out of the school indefinitely. We began to scramble to find a meeting place.  We found an empty church building to use during March. In April, we held parking lot services there as we shut down in person services like many others.

At the conclusion of April, the building was put up for sale and we were no longer able to use the lot. Once again, we scrambled for a place to meet. I will admit, at this point other churches began to open their doors and I did not know if our baby church would make it. Our attendance had shrunk in the parking lot to about 40 or 50. Our offerings were stable but lower.  I called hotels, banquet halls, churches, even a Jewish Synagogue looking for a place to meet to no avail. Finally, the local American Legion gave us permission to use their lot all day on Sundays until June 1.

For five Sundays in May we met in the Legion’s parking lot and God moved mightily! Our attendance bounced back to seventy. Our tithes and offerings increased to double what they had ever been! However, the last Sunday in May we were out of options. We were preparing to meet in my backyard the next Sunday. Hours before our final evening service in the parking lot a friend in ministry called to let me know his parent’s church was closing its doors. He got me in contact with the leaders of the church and after our evening service my wife and I went to see the property. We held our first service there Sunday June 7. . The previous church voted to give us the 6000 sq. ft. property on 3 acres free and clear no mortgage!

The next Sunday we baptized (in a functioning fiberglass baptistry!) a man who got saved in the parking lot in May. He now serves in the sound booth! God has continued to bless. We have grown to over 100 in regular attendance and have baptized 20 people with more scheduled! He certainly is able and has done exceeding and abundantly above all that we ever asked.