We got a phone call in our office today. It was Faye Powell. She wanted us to know that it was 50 years ago today, at 7:00 PM that she and John hosted the very first service of High Desert Church in their living room. It was called "High Desert Baptist Church" back then. John and Faye are both at home today, recovering from surgeries. It has been a rough year for them.
It's amazing to see what God has done with this church in the last fifty years. Literally thousands of people have come to faith in Christ because of John and Faye's willingness to seek God's will and start a church. I'm sure it wasn't the easiest path, and there have been many challenges for them along the way, but God was clearly with them and HDC has flourished.
In the early 1960's they began a search for land. They had a choice between a three acre parcel and a ten acre parcel, and after much debate decided to go on faith and purchase the larger piece of land. We are still located on that same 10 acre parcel they purchased all those years ago, although we have purchased another 46 acres surrounding it to allow us room to grow. We are using some of that land for parking, but a lot of it is still vacant.
It took great faith to start this church, and I'm very grateful they did. My children have both grown up at HDC and the ministry of this church has had a significant impact in their faith in Christ. It took faith to stretch and buy the larger piece of land, but because they did we have been able to be in the same location for all these years. It took faith to turn the reigns over to the pastoral staff and stop being closely involved in the leadership of the church, but John and Faye both point to that moment as what was necessary for this church to really take off.
There are many lessons to be learned here:
Don't sit idle when things aren't right, do something! The Powells have told me that the pastor of the American Baptist Church up here had done some unethical things, and the church wasn't willing to let him go so they founded HDC because they wanted a church that honored God.
Seek God's will, and if the path isn't the easy one, do it anyway. It would have been easier to wait out the pastor at the other church, or to simply find another church that was "good enough" but that wasn't what God had in mind. Instead, John and Faye stepped up to the plate to start this church.
Dream big. 3 acres would have been plenty for the small little church in a small little town, but 10 acres gave them room to grow. The best part is that there was vacant land around, so even with 10 acres we weren't stuck. They didn't dream so big that the dreams outpaced the reality either. There were bigger plots available, but 10 acres was within reach.
Trust God. Through good economy and bad, God has provided for this church. When George Air Force Base closed, many people though Victorville was doomed. Instead, it has grown, and so has HDC. God has continued to lead, and we do our best to follow.
It truly is a blessing to be on this staff and a part of HDC's fifty year history.
Happy Birthday HDC!
God has blessed this church for 50 years.