NATCHEZ — Heavy rain eased to a light drizzle during the dedication of a new student center at First Baptist Church in Natchez on Wednesday.
Young people from First Baptist Church in Natchez celebrated with their adult church family, taking turns exchanging umbrellas with golden shovels and having their photos taken behind the back wall of the Family Life Center facing the parking lot of the church.
It will soon be a construction site for a building of more than 5,000 square feet that will house classrooms for students, a kitchenette with lounge area and a place of worship.
Student pastor Matt Martin said the church plans to grow.
About 30 children attend the youth group, and the Family Life Center, where they currently meet, has 40 to 50 students. The new student center will double this capacity.
A small courtyard will connect the new student center to the family life center at the back of the church, he said.
The church appointed a special building committee and selected architects Blanton Construction Company and Waycaster & Associates to oversee the project.
Funds for the estimated $1.2 million construction project were primarily raised by the church congregation. An anonymous donor made a substantial donation to the church with the stipulation that he would use it for a new student center, said Adrian Sandel, who chairs the special building committee.
Then, during the Sunday morning offering, the church collected the donations and quickly had everything they needed to move the project forward.
“We thought it would be difficult, if not impossible, to raise $500,000 on a Sunday morning, but we did it. How did we do this? Because, as the song says, God makes a way where there is no way,” Sandel said. “We must continue to pray. We will continue to work; we will continue to pray; and we will continue to bid God for this project. Why? Because it’s important work — and I’m not talking about building a building. I mean kingdom building.