The concept of a cornerstone runs deep in God’s Word. Both Isaiah and Zechariah drew upon its imagery in calling Israel to trust the firmness of God’s promise in the face of an uncertain future (Isa. 28:16; Zech. 10:4). Both Paul and Peter employed it in testifying to how that promise came to fulfillment in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6). Cornerstones suggest permanence and strength.
First Baptist Church has been a cornerstone church in Tallahassee for over 150 years. Amazing parallels exist between the growth of our community and that of our church. Our location in the center of the city has afforded us a remarkable platform for witness that we have been faithful to employ. As each time frame has presented its unique challenges, we have risen to meet them in the power of Christ, our chief Cornerstone.
Our most pressing challenge now is a facilities challenge. We recently gave prayerful consideration to relocating the church. During that time of discernment we deferred a good amount of maintenance as we waited on God for direction regarding our place of future ministry. We concluded our study almost three years ago, and came to the decision that our present location is where God wants us for as long as Jesus tarries. We are to be here…for life, and we embrace that holy calling joyfully and hopefully.
Since that decision, our Building 4 Community committee has led us to consider how we might marry maintenance and mission so that we could build on the strong legacy of service passed down to us by previous generations. Tallahassee is abuzz with talk of “downtown revitalization,” and we have come to an even clearer conviction that God is calling First Baptist Church to be the cornerstone of that community effort. We are to be here…for life. No other community organization can substitute for us in testifying to the abundant life Jesus gives.
Our plans are ambitious. We believe that God is calling us to pursue a phased renovation of our entire campus so that we might be able to offer first century ministry in a twenty-first century context that addresses the spiritual needs of every generation and life stage. In our own power this project would be impossible, but as we all know, “with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26; Mr. 10:27).
Lest we be overwhelmed by the scope of the challenge before us, let us remember an earlier time in our history when our church trusted God to pursue what they called the vision of “A Second Century Church.” What resulted from that vision was the heart of our present campus: our Sanctuary and the Adams and Duval wings. I think it’s telling that when our forbearers set the cornerstone at that time, they inscribed it with a passage of Scripture: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
That’s the foundation upon which we rest, and now is our time to build upon it. We are here not just for this time but for life. I invite you to pray with me (and give with me) about all that foundational conviction will mean to the many whom the Spirit brings our way and all it will mean to the cause of Christ, our chief Cornerstone and the one in whom those who place their trust “will never be put to shame.”
For construction updates, visit the Building 4 Community page.
If you would like to contribute to our Here For Life Capital Campaign, please click here.