This is not the only church that has been closed in Ohio. There are others that are either closed or near the end of their existence. If new members are not brought in through conversion they will be closed also.
Is Williams County religiously a dead area for church growth?
Williams County is in the northwest corner of Ohio and Bryan is the county seat. Located in the county is the village of West Unity - a rural community with a population about 1,700 This farming area has been the home base of our family since 1835 - our family roots are deep there.
What has happened with churches in West Unity in the past fifty years? The original Methodist church replaced their building about 50 years ago. Since then three new denominations have been established in West Unity and have built new churches. One of the new churches is the Solid Rock Community church with a membership of about 250 members.
Solid Rock Community Church
If West Unity can grow three new churches in that area with a small population of 1,700, can we not reclaim Bryan that has a population of approximately 9,000. Of that 9,000 59% are non-church people. There could be a sizable congregation there if we would reach out and invite them to come to learn more of Jesus and His salvation. The statistics for Williams County, which has a population of about 39,600, are typical of all the 33 dark counties. *See the source for statistics below*
A Church Building in a County Close to Montgomery County
Last year (2014) twice I attended a Seventh-day Adventist church in the area with about fifteen (15) in attendance both Sabbaths. The church building has a sanctuary that would easily seat 150 and a school facility attached. That county has a population with over 370,000 people. Of that population about 231,000 (62%) are classified as "non-church population". Of that 231,000 certainly, there must be enough souls to fill that church building when they are invited to learn about the loving Savior Jesus. But first they must be invited to come to join with Remnant people. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." Luke19:10 If Jesus left heaven to seek and save us, can we do any less for the non-church souls?
March/2019 Added note; I am happy report that it was the Hamilton Ohio church that I visited in 2014. A layman, Pastor Vince Waln, has become their pastor and the congregation has built up to over 50 members in about 3 years. He is a business man with no formal religious training. The church service is on Facebook each week. There are many counties across North America that need good layman to step in and build new church congregations. They are waiting for an invitation to learn the truth for this time.
Are we left without any hope to wander in the wilderness of Sinai as Israel did? Or have we neglected to re-read the promises of Isiah 58:13 & 14 ". . . I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, . . ." or the who chapter of Joel 2 ". . . And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;. . ."?
Here is an encouraging message the Lord has shown Sister White. “This message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry. Servants of God, endowed with power from on high, with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven."
“Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.” ML 63.4
Looking at the number of the non-church group as potential members it highlights the work that is before us. The Gospel commission has been given to us to be co-workers with Jesus to carry out what He said in Matthew 28:19 NIV "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations". That includes our state of Ohio.
To accomplish this it will take the same Spirit that drove our early Pioneers to go out and establish this message all over the world. In Africa, South America and Asia our churches are growing rapidly. That same Spirit will come when we prepare ourselves for it. A sure indication of our preparation for the fulfillment of Joel 2 is our willingness to fund a reaching out to those who have not heard the Three Angels Message.
See the 'Intra-State School' Missionaries' page for a description of the school.