What a glorious day it was, and all the glory goes to Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Head of His church. After almost eleven years of watching our Lord accomplish His timeline and prepare His people at Calvary Baptist Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, groundbreaking ceremonies for a new ministry center were held on Sunday, August 12 at the conclusion of the morning worship service. Over 250 people gathered under the big tent on the 10-acre building site for two hours of worship music, ministry testimonies, prayer, and preaching. The challenge from God presented by Pastor John van Gorkom was taken from Genesis 11:1-9, where in the story of the Tower of Babel we discovered that the Lord requires right management, right motives, right materials, and the right mission.
Following the message, everyone gathered outside the tent with their shovels in hand. The Elders of Calvary began the groundbreaking ceremony with Scripture that God had given us during the previous eleven years of planning.
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Isaiah 54:2-3 (NIV)
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. Isaiah 45:8 (ESV)
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 (ESV)
And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. Ezekiel 34:26 (ESV)
It was a great blessing to have representatives of two of our NCCBA churches (Chippewa Falls and Bloomer) present to represent our partnership in the Gospel with our sister churches. Also present was Gordon Ellison of World Venture to represent our worldwide mission. Each brought greetings, along with representatives of a local mission supported by Calvary and a representative of Derrick Construction, our general contractor.
Pastor Dennis Pond then introduced our honorary groundbreakers, consisting of seven church members with over fifty years of ministry at Calvary who were not able to be present because of health reasons. The honorary groundbreakers also consisted of two charter members, Marlene Cripe and Wilma Hodges, several other long time ministry partners including Joyce Russell, John Schone, Bob Strait, Marilyn Thames, and Janet Faulcner. They were joined by former Pastor Ralph Miller and his wife Dorothy. These people represented the heritage of our church, and were given the honor of turning the first shovels of dirt. Our ministry guests turned the second shovel, and then all of the congregation joined in turning over dirt in what will eventually become the children’s ministry center of the facility.
The service was closed with everyone praising God with shouts of rejoicing and then singing what has become our theme song of our mission, “Mighty to Save.”
The timeline for construction is as follows:
- Hauling of fill to begin as soon as DNR issues permit, hopefully this week.
- Excavation for footings should begin mid to late September.
- Construction completed in late April
The building will be over 21,000 square feet.