theMission graduation celebration at Pinebrook Bible Conference in 2016

Leave Philadelphia heading south on the concrete ribbon known as I-95. GPS if you like. Pass through Chester and make a note that for most of the 20th century this was the southernmost edge of the Bible Fellowship Church’s territory. Pass over the border between Pennsylvania and Delaware and continue through Wilmington. At Christiana, take Route 1 south. You will notice the landscape is changing, more open spaces, more agricultural. You will reach Middletown and you will notice the signs of new restaurants and retail stores. You think to yourself, “This is what community growth looks like.” Exit at Middletown and take a left to Route 13 and go south. At Pinetree Road, go right toward Townsend. When you reach the Townsend Fire Company on the right about a mile ahead, you have arrived at theMission.

Church in a Fire Company

A church in a fire company sounds unusual, but the building is new and well kept. It is a central spot with great visibility. If you venture inside, you will see a very adequate and pleasant meeting place.

If you were to arrive early on a Sunday morning, you would hear the the worship team rehearse for a morning of praise. A tall lanky guy with a big smile may come over and greet you. That is Pastor Ron Smith who with his wife, Kathy, were God’s agents to begin a church in Townsend. You will see other smiling faces, get a handshake or two, and perhaps a hug. If you scout around, you will find some coffee to reward you for your trip.

When the worship time begins, you will join in the praise expressed in the singing. You can join with others as they pray. You will be invited to listen as Pastor Ron preaches from the Bible giving eternal and life changing truth to those who will hear it.

While theMission is special and unique, what they do is much like what happens in Bible Fellowship Churches. The meeting times and style of music may be different but you will discover the same message – the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came to earth to fulfill God’s gracious intentions that sinners should be forgiven and receive new and eternal life.

How did a new Bible Fellowship Church come to 107 Main Street in Townsend, Delaware? Whevenever a new church begins, you have to understand the plan of God. Jesus expressed this in two very important statements. He said, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18. He also commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28: 19-20). Churches make disciples since churches are where people are baptized and taught.

The beginning of a new church is somewhat complex. It starts with God’s intention and will begin to show up in people who connect God’s intention to a specific place.

How theMission Started

Before theMission, Ron Smith was working as a salesman for a chemical company and sensing some restlessness in his life. He attended Biblical Theological Seminary (now Missio Seminary) in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. There his path crossed with David Gundrum who encouraged him to consider becoming a church planter and helped connect Ron with the Bible Fellowship Church of Newark, DE and with people like Troy and Kim Geiger who were actually living in Townsend.

Pastor Ron Smith, his wife Kathy, and their three boys

Ron became part of the Newark DE church and began to be involved in the ministry there. The Newark church was very open to starting a new church since they had a similar beginning as a Bible study that grew into a fully ministering church. The church began to pray about a new church plant.

After praying, preparations were made. What community would make a good location for a new church? After considering several communities, Townsend was chosen. Several families from the Newark church agreed to join this new venture. In 2012, theMission was off and running.

Graduation Celebration!

In 2016, theMission was recognized as a particular church with a graduation celebration at BFC conference. At the celebration, Pastor Ron said, “What has happened to us has only happened because of the Lord’s work in us.”

The Bible Fellowship Church is committed to being an expanding fellowship of churches. When churches like Newark DE become serious about multiplying by starting and supporting new churches, the Bible Fellowship Church expands and the kingdom of God continues to take root in communities that need to hear the Gospel.