DARDANELLE, Ark. – “I actually started mowing the grass.” That’s what Pastor Carl Fair said he did when Dardanelle First Baptist Church shifted to virtual services at the beginning of COVID-19.
Just over a month prior to that, he had led the church to kick off a building campaign with a prayer service. Fair, like everyone else, did not know what to expect from the pandemic. So, in the shadow of the new facility that was going up, he mowed the grass himself to cut costs. However, the faithfulness of Dardanelle First Baptist Church exceeded his expectations.
“During Covid, our giving actually went up, ” Fair said. When he talks about the congregation he has pastored since early 2014, it is apparent how proud he is about their diligence in trusting God through this process. And he is quick to share credit. “Jackie James and the Arkansas Baptist Builders really helped us a lot. We could not have done this without them, or without the initial conversations with Lynn Riley (ABSC). There were also several key volunteers from our church who worked for a solid year. Without them, this would have been very difficult.”
More than anything, Fair talks about how this new facility is a culmination of decades of prayer and faithfulness, “Pastors and church members all fed into this, even folks who aren’t around anymore.” It is impossible for Dardanelle First Baptist to look forward without acknowledging those who were faithful in the past.
In August of 2020, the community was rocked when Mrs. Terry Thone passed away from Covid-19. Mrs. Thone was a longtime member of First Baptist Church and a schoolteacher for over 30 years. She had a tremendous passion for hosting, fellowship and serving the community. In fact, she served weekly in the church’s backpack program – making sure every child had access to food while not at school. Several years ago, she and several ladies in the church rallied together to make and sell a cookbook, using the proceeds for the building fund. Today, that building stands completed, a testament of the faith of so many who have come through Dardanelle First Baptist.
On August 15th Dardanelle First Baptist will host a building dedication service. But even before that, they will have hosted Vacation Bible School, regional training for the upcoming One Day Mission Trip in the Russellville area, and several outreach events. “This building is all about telling people about Jesus, being a bridge to the community,” Fair said.
Dardanelle First Baptist Church invites the community and all former church staff and church members to come celebrate their new building dedication on August 15. Sunday worship begins at 10:30 AM. Lunch will be served at noon and the building dedication service will begin at 1:00 PM.