And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.Jeremiah 35:18-19
First Baptist Church of Brunnerton was established in 1878. The first members gave the congregation the mandate of supporting mission causes at home and abroad. This translated into mission endeavors in the streets of their town. Brunnerton was situated on a peninsula between the intersection of two rivers.
Oil was discovered in the sandy soil of the plains surrounding the city and so an oil rush occurred. Companies made Brunnerton their headquarters and the city grew rapidly. The church grew right along with it and became a leading congregation. Eventually they built a large edifice on the corner of 3rd and Main streets, near the city center. Many titans of industry called FBC Brunnerton home and the congregation grew in influence as well.
With the increased attendance and wealth the church continued to uphold their original mandate to support missions at home and around the world. They raised up missionaries and sent them out to foreign fields, they funded missions at home, and on the streets of Brunnerton. The church was host to mission conferences for many years and they gave faithfully to their local association’s budget.
Then the oil sands dried up. The oil rush was over and money moved out of Brunnerton. The downtown became a ghost-town, decay crept in, despair took hold, families moved out looking for work or society. FBC Brunnerton was no longer a leading congregation but a declining one. Yet, they continued to find a way to support mission causes. They couldn’t give as much as they once did but because of their mandate they made missions giving their first priority.
No one wanted to attend the missions conference anymore. Downtown Brunnerton was considered unsafe. With an aging building and a declining membership, the church was no longer a leading congregation within the denomination. Eventually, mission programs fell out of style. They were no longer emphasized and considered a relic of the denomination’s past. Yet, FBC Brunnerton continued to give. They stayed true to their founding even when it wasn’t convenient.
What is it about faithfulness that you find most inspiring?
Did FBC Brunnerton have a reason to give up?
Where does this strength of character come from?