On April 24-26, 2023, Bible Fellowship Church pastors and elders gathered for BFC Conference to hear reports, have doctrinal discussions, and worship times together. Throughout the three days, three mission churches graduated from Church Extension and are now recognized as particular churches. In addition, Dan Hoffstetter, church planter at Redeemer BFC in Topton, PA, was ordained. Praise the Lord!
On Monday evening, Director David Gundrum gave a keynote address from Matthew 9 about the compassion of Jesus Christ who owned his city for the kingdom of God. To kick off the graduation service, he reflected on years ago the Board of Church Extension had seriously considered closing the mission in Cape May. The Bible Fellowship Church received the property about twenty years ago. A succession of church planters came. Mark Morrison was interim church planter for the mission church three different times. In 2015, Brad Boyer came. Brad shared that he came with all sorts of great ideas on how to revive the mission. After two years, Brad was discouraged by the lack of significant momentum from his brilliant ideas. David Gundrum challenged him: “Have you bathed your ideas in prayer?” Brad and his core team took this to heart and did just that. Then the Lord God moved! The Lord gave their team the idea for the Warming Center, the Prayer Walks, and emboldened their people to share the gospel in their community. The Lord brought several couples new to the area who are mature in their faith in Jesus Christ to join the work. One of those couples, Michael and Elaine Polach, were present during the graduation service and shared the blessing that Cape Community Church has been in their lives and the joy it is to serve the Lord there. They especially appreciate Brad Boyer’s faithful preaching of the word of God. A number of members gathered at Cape Community Church and joined us on Zoom. After the service, there was a prayer for Cape Community Church and everyone enjoyed cake in celebration!
On Tuesday afternoon, Rick Dobrowolski of Citylight Bible Church in Allentown, PA shared a devotional on Reaching Out from Mark 5. Then David Gundrum, Rick Dobrowolski, and Stephen Diaz shared the backstory of how Allentown Bible Church and Lighthouse BFC each were planted and how God brought them together. God recently provided a building for them and now they will move out of the Bingo hall where they have been meeting and move into the Beauty school building which they are currently renovating. Elder Joe Fox shared his perspective of how the Lord worked in his life to join Rick Dobrowolski in the church planting work. Joe and his wife and children moved from states away just for the church plant. Kristin Dobrowolski, Angelica Diaz, Charity Fox and others were able to attend the graduation celebration for Citylight Bible Church. After a prayer from Elder and retired missionary John Elias, more cake was served and we celebrated together.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tim Zuck shared a devotional on Zacchaeus, a short story about a short man and the long reach of Jesus our Savior. After the devotional, David Gundrum and Tim Zuck shared about the backstory of the Forks Community Church. After planting Saucon Community Church and bringing that mission to graduation, Tim Zuck was feeling the Lord call him to plant a church from scratch. The Lord led him to Forks Township. In contrast to the neediness of the urban setting of Citylight, Forks Township is affluent but needy in a different way. Many are financially well off, but through that self-sufficiency do not recognize their need for a Savior. Elder Frank Farley shared what a blessing it has been to him to be a part of the work and likened it to wandering in the desert for a time as they met in many different locations such as a reception hall, a middle school auditorium, and some outdoor locations during COVID. Now they are located in Park Plaza in Easton and are filling up. Tim shared a heartfelt thank you to the BFC churches who have supported him financially and with prayer throughout this experience. He also gave a heartfelt thank you to his wife, Tori, who was in attendance, for her love and support throughout the ups and downs of planting Forks Community Church. Tim Zuck also received recognition as the only church planter in BFC history to bring two mission churches to graduation. Praise the Lord! Cake was served one last time as all in attendance celebrated what God has done through Forks Community Church.
Three graduations all in one year! We are so grateful to the Lord for seeing each of these mission churches through to become a particular church. Jesus is building His church through the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church.