TRUMANN – “We were out of the loop,” said Jim Duffel, pastor of Maple Grove Baptist Church in Trumann.
The church, located two-and-a-half miles outside the city limits, was looking for a way to minister to Trumann residents.
“For the past couple of years, we had two things on our hearts,” said Duffel. “Our youth were meeting downtown on Main Street on Wednesday nights, so one of our issues was that they needed a place to meet. So, we started looking, but in the midst of that we were praying and asking God how Maple Grove could impact Trumann.”
Last summer, a building that once served as the NEA Baptist Clinic was offered to them, but the 33,000-square-foot building was more than they could afford at that time.
“We really weren’t sure how we could invest funds and be good stewards of it,” said Duffel. “At first we thought it was time to move the church, but that wasn’t a deep thought. It was more of a knee-jerk reaction.”
Two months later, the church was gifted the old clinic building.
“We couldn’t afford it when it was $175,000, but we couldn’t refuse it when God said, ‘Here, I’ll give it to you,’” said Duffel.
The building was officially Maple Grove’s in late January and was dedicated on June 2.
The church began to transform the old clinic into an office space. A worship center and fellowship hall were also established.
The next question was how to furnish the space.
“We had a man in our church who had contact with a FedEx warehouse in Memphis,” said Duffel. “When FedEx has stuff that people don’t want or return or items have been damaged, they give it to nonprofits. The guy said they had a surplus of stuff.”
Soon, five truckloads of office furniture, chairs and tables were brought to the new building.
“Everything we use right now, they gave us,” said Duffel. “We have enough tables to go into classrooms when we get the rest of the building painted and fixed.”
Maple Grove came into contact with Shane Fore, a church planter with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
“A couple of years ago, God gave me a burden to set up a rescue shop in Trumann for the unreached and unchurched,” said Fore.
“He was looking for a place to minister,” said Duffel. “We had a place looking for someone who could take it and run with it.”
Fore became the pastor of Maple Grove Baptist Church’s Main Street Campus. Couples from the church partnered with Fore and his wife, April, and started the work at the new Trumann church plant.
Fellowship Baptist Church in Witcherville partnered with Maple Grove Main Street over the summer. During the week, Fellowship’s missionaries hosted a sports camp and canvassed the neighborhoods to get the community connected with the church plant.
“We couldn’t have gotten that many contacts that quickly without them,” said Duffel. “They flooded the community with information about our church.”
Maple Grove Main Street Campus launched Oct. 6 with 37 people in attendance. Seven people joined the church, and one was baptized.
“God is changing lives in the worst part of Trumann, and we are honored to see it firsthand,” said Fore.
On Wednesdays, Maple Grove’s student ministry uses the space for worship and fellowship. The Main Street Campus meets for worship on Sunday mornings. Fore plans to launch a Celebrate Recovery on Sunday nights in November, and Duffel hopes that in the spring a children’s ministry can be established.
“God is ahead of us at every turn,” said Duffel. “He has given us this great opportunity to expand our ministry, and our church has been so supportive. I don’t know what else to say; I’m overwhelmed.
“It was not our wisdom. We never even dreamed this up,” he continued. “Never in our wildest dreams would we be sitting in the heart of Trumann.”
Duffel believes that it was the Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip held last year in Trumann that motivated Maple Grove to have a continuous presence in the community to impact it.
“Acts 1:8 sparked the idea, and it was fueled by the Holy Spirit,” said Duffel. “Acts 1:8 had a big part in our church. It impacted our whole county, and it really impacted Trumann. I can’t speak for the other churches, but I can tell you that it did put that vision in our hearts.
“We have a permanent place in Trumann,” he said.
Contact Sarah Davis at email@example.com.
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