By Pastor Dan -
On June 16th, 2012, Evangelical Baptist Church will celebrate her 120th year of ministry to the Lakes Region.
In the warm summer months of 1892 sixteen men, empowered by a vision for the advancement of the Gospel throughout Laconia and the Lakes Region, committed to the endeavor of establishing our church. God blessed their endeavor and in less then ten years that humble group of sixteen men gave way to 180 regular participants in the weekly services, then held in the Laconia courthouse.
The increased attendance, coupled with the space demands for the region’s first Sunday School program, created the need for a new building. It just so happened that during this time our current building (then home to the Congregationalists) was up for sale. There was only one problem. Before the building could be occupied, it had to be moved from it’s original location at the corner of Main Street and Church Street, to it’s current location at Veteran’s Square. It’s hard to imagine, but the building we meet in from week-to-week was moved hundreds of feet by nothing more then a team of horses and a band of determined men.
We have much in common with our predecessors. We, too, have experienced a dramatic increase in attendance. We, too, have developed new programming to minister to our community. We, too, have purchased an existing building to better meet our attendance and programming needs. We, too, have some pretty big challenges that lay ahead of us. And we, too, have a proper understanding of the Church.
For most people the word “church” conjures up images of little white chapels or colossal cathedrals but for us, as it was with our predecessors, church is the image of people. As the Apostle Peter wrote to the first century church he said, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). We at EBC are a spiritual house, built from men and women who are united in Jesus Christ. Our current building, our next building, as well as all the great cathedrals of the world, will be reduced to nothing more then rubble in the wake of Jesus’ glorious return. But we will endure, because we, the Bride of Christ, are the Church!
Like our predecessors, we will not allow our building to define who we are as a church. Rather, who we are as a church will define our building. And we will rise to every challenge that faces us, because, like our predecessors, we are empowered by a vision for the advancement of the Gospel throughout Laconia and the Lakes Region.