Just a Building … or a Necessary Facility?

The erection of a new church building for ‘Good News Baptist Church’, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, was both necessary to accommodate the growing congregation, and to provide facilities to help increase the effectiveness of the ministry.  Twelve years had elapsed from the launch of the building project to the opening service on 24th September 2017. The completion of this well-equipped facility more than compensated for the long and sometimes frustrating wait!

On a beautiful September day friends and acquaintances travelled from all over Macedonia to join with the congregation for a special thanksgiving and dedication service.  The building was filled to capacity, with a sense of gratitude for the past and hopeful anticipation for the future.  Through years of complex bureaucracy waiting for building permission to be granted, God had sustained and brought the congregation to celebrate His faithfulness on this special day.   The new building with its versatile structure will offer many opportunities for effective ministry.  It was very evident that this was not just ‘another building opened’, but a vital facility for the expansion of God’s kingdom.

The completed church facilities

The land for the new building was purchased in 2011 and permission granted in late 2013. There were various obstacles to obtaining building permission, both from government planning control as well as the immediate neighbours.   The most serious obstacle was the local municipality mayor’s refusal to sign the permission document. He stated; “You know that in this country we protect the National Orthodox Church by refusing to give building permission to Evangelical/Protestant Churches”.  In Macedonia there is strong resistance from the state to the granting of permission for buildings to be used solely for evangelical church activities.  Further discussion with the authorities followed, and eventually the legal documents were signed by the mayor, and work began on clearing the site and commencing the building. 

Ivan and the extended family

The new worship hall can accommodate one hundred and twenty-five people and will enable the church to organize large events impossible in the old church building which could only seat forty-five.  It is envisaged that the new facilities will provide much needed accommodation for conferences and seminars for believers from all over Macedonia.  The building also facilitates various kinds of church activities including Bible courses, prayer meetings, and children’s ministries.  In addition to this, it houses the ‘Revelation Publishing House and Bookshop’ which Ivan Grozdanov directs. 

The congregation of The Good News Baptist Church has been raising its ‘Ebenezer’ in thankfulness to God for providing such wonderful facilities.  The following comments from SGA’s long-term partner and friend, Dr. Ivan Grozdanov, express deep and permanent gratitude on behalf of all the church members for the Mission’s contributions to the erection of this building.

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“On my part and on behalf of all members of The Good News Baptist Church, I would like to thank SGA and particularly its Director Derek Maxwell, for standing with me and my church in prayer and in substantial financial support throughout the 12 years of activities towards the building of our new church facility.  As in many other ministries in Macedonia, even in this enormous task, SGA and its leadership proved to be a partner we could rely on. As much as we rejoice and enjoy serving the Lord in the new church building, you may also rightly consider it your success as well, and you are equally entitled to share the joy with us. May God continue to guide and bless SGA in its commitments to partner with fellow Christians in various countries, helping the advance of The Good News of Jesus Christ in its full capacity.”