BOWLING GREEN, Ohio—Ministry at First Baptist Church continues to advance, “sometimes in spite of and other times because of COVID-19,” says Pastor Tom Mullins.

First Baptist Church is in the beginning stages of the church revitalization process after receiving Lift Up grants from Regular Baptist Builders Club: $4,250 in January 2019, and $10,000 in February 2020. “We were so blessed” by those grants, Tom says.

The church used this year’s grant to “create a new website and build a new outdoor sign,” Tom says. “We also recently remodeled the foyer (except carpet) and purchased some discipleship materials that will be utilized once we launch our discipleship path for all ages and stages of faith.” That discipleship path was originally slated for fall 2020, but with the pandemic, the church rescheduled that ministry for spring 2021.

“The balance of our grant money will be used to improve our children’s ministry after COVID-19,” Tom says.

First Baptist also reshingled its roof in October—just in time for the church’s 140th anniversary. Due to the pandemic, the congregation and staff “had to be content with a small event” that included livestreaming the worship service and viewing a video welcome from John Greening (former GARBC national representative) and his wife, Daria.

However, the ceiling is now missing a few tiles. “We’ve had leaks in our flat roof for years, but it was significantly worsened when the roofers walked on it during shingling of the sloped roof,” Tom says. “The good news is that the congregation recently decided to obtain a loan to replace the flat roof, and that should happen this week, just in time for our community Christmas service on December 20.”

“Like many churches,” Tom says, “we are struggling due to the pandemic, and our revitalization is not a sure thing, so we continue to pray fervently for God to use us in our town for His glory. We are coming together to address problems, seeing guests and new people nearly every Sunday, and taking advantage of the opportunities that have come as a result of the pandemic.”