Anderson explained First Baptist Church will be giving Eastland Life Church its former building at Sixth and Girard streets. In turn, Eastland Life Church will be giving the congregation of Ohio Valley Baptist Church its building.
News about the church swap made local and regional news as well as the national Christian radio station K-Love. Anderson said the swap, which is still in the works, actually began about a year ago during the 2011 flood.
Anderson recalls when the flooding was at its worst, the floodwaters surrounded the Eastland Life Church. "I had a bad attitude about that," he said, pointing out that the congregation could not meet to worship.
At that point, First Baptist extended the offer to Eastland to allow the congregation to to meet and worship in its Family Life Center. Anderson said the more he thought about it, the more he felt that if there was going to be a church service, his congregation should go and worship with the members at First Baptist.
So both churches held a joint service, which also included members from First Baptist Church in Joppa. "A relationship began that never was there before," said Anderson.
Prior to the flooding and joint service, Anderson knew of First Baptist Church Pastor Joe Buchanan but through the adversity of the flooding, he forged a friendship with Buchanan and Youth Pastor Cliff Easter. As they got to know each other better, all of the church leaders realized they are all on the same team.
The idea for the church swap began with Ohio Valley Baptist Pastor Bryan Braden, who approached First Baptist about utilizing its building. He said an Ohio Valley member has a son who attends First Baptist and when Braden heard talk of trying to sell the building at Sixth and Girard streets, that got his attention. Braden figured the building might be a hard sell because of its size and it being a church.
He and some church members began praying about it and did a walk through of the First Baptist building. Braden brought up the idea of swapping churches, pointing out the property on Filmore Street would be easier to maintain and may be easier to sell. The very week he and church members approached First Baptist about buying or swapping churches was the same that Ohio Valley Baptist paid off its mortgage.
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