The first Seventh-day Adventist church in Decherd, Tenn. has been through a lot since 1856. It was burned down during the Civil War, and in 1909 it was destroyed by a tornado.
This rural church has once again come alive with $104,000 in debt-free structural and cosmetic renovations. Members and friends of the congregation have pooled their financial resources with gracious gifts from as far away as Washington State. But, an additional $50,000 was still needed to bring the old church to complete renovation.
It was decided to plan a December 5, 2015 rededication service, and the conference president was booked to be a part of the grand festivities. In April, the funding needed to complete the final projects had not been raised so the congregation began to explore the possibility of borrowing the necessary funds. With church members prayerfully seeking God’s guidance, it seemed the advice received was all pointing to a single solution. While reading the Bible, the church business administrator came across Romans 13:8 which admonishers, “owe no one anything”; an Adventist donor not part of the Decherd Church strongly suggested that taking on debt would be a mistake; and on a sticky note attached to a check from a non-Adventist donor were scrawled the words, “the debtor is slave to the lender.” The church board felt an answer had been received and unanimously voted to not take out a loan.
Prayer sessions continue, work on the interior of the church progresses as funds are available, and the future is marked by a holy expectancy. The December deadline remains penciled in on the church calendar; and, the visit by the conference president has not been rescheduled. But, the completion of the Decherd Church will happen when God moves His hand to supply all the needs of a small church family whose mission to their community is on center stage.
—BY JAY PRALL