Ministry Update: Germiston Baptist Church (May 2018)

Dear brothers in Christ,

Please join with us at Germiston Baptist Church in giving praise to the Lord and glorifying him, for he has done marvellous things. I will give you the summarised version.

For many years, we have recognised that our current location and premises have been a hinderance to church growth. We were told by many that, unless we moved, we would either close or become an inner-city mission campus of another church. Our building, which has heritage status (and therefore may not be altered), is located in a down-market part of town, with no commercial value, which makes it basically unsellable. If we managed to sell, we would never get a price that would enable us to purchase anything in a better location. Our response was that for us to move was a God-sized task. With man, it was impossible! However, we reasoned, if the Lord wanted us to move, he would do the impossible. So, for years our building has technically, but not realistically, been on the market.

Over the years, various churches and so-called churches looked at it, but either they did not have the money, or they felt our price was too high, or they weren’t interested—for the very reasons we were wanting to sell. This seemed to be confirmation of the unsellability. Despite this, we as a church have continued, by God’s grace, to grow. Our services are fuller now than they have ever been. The average age of our congregation is now younger than it has ever been due to an influx of young adults. Our Sunday school and youth ministry have grown, and the Lord has really been good.

In April, a firm of undertakers came and to have a look at the building. They decided it was what they were looking for and made us an offer above what we were asking. After agent’s commission, we will nett our original asking price. The deal is not subject to the sale of any other property and the bond has already been approved. God-sized task, Phase One, in the process of being accomplished! All praise and glory to his name.

Of course, that presented us with the “impossible” task of finding a replacement. Like Abraham, we decided to take Step One without knowing where or what Step Two would be. We identified an ideal area that is close enough to our existing building to prevent us losing any of our existing congregation while at the same time being very visible, attractive, accessible, and in a place that development is happening. Although close to our existing building, the area is prime real estate by virtue of being, literally, the other side of the tracks. Unfortunately, the limited vacant properties are well above what we are getting for our building, and building costs are prohibitive. So we started looking at existing houses that could be repurposed. But again, most the houses are beyond our budget. Nevertheless, we sought, and we found. We have made a successful offer (for R400,000.00 less than what we are getting for our building) on a perfectly situated property in the desired area. It is on a main route in one of Germiston’s most visible and accessible areas. It is on the same road as MacDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Nando’s, Pick ’n Pay, Woolworths, Clicks, Builder’s Express, etc. and just 2km from our present site. The property is three-and-a-half times bigger than our existing property, and although it is run down and in need of some extensive alterations and renovations, it can be repurposed. The vacant property next door is on the market for three times what we are paying! God-sized task, Phase Two, in the process of being accomplished. How awesome is the God we serve!

Of course, there is still a lot of ground to cover. Although zoned for residential and places of public worship, we do need to get special consent from the municipality and neighbours. That will be God-sized task Phase Three. Then there is the disruption of moving from a building that we have been in for the past 72 years, into a building that needs much by way of alterations. We have an architect working on some plans for us, but at this stage we don’t have any estimates on costs and what we will be able to afford. That will be God-sized task, Phase Four.

Please join us in praising the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To him alone be the glory. We have not done this; he has done it all. Please pray for us in terms of the disruption of the move, the issue of special consent of use, and the financial implications involved with the renovations and alterations.

All to the praise of his glory and grace,

Peter Sammons