How God Brought us Together: the Story of Two Churches
Vintage Faith started in the summer of 2005. We began praying right away that God would give us a home for this new church. We looked at many places and explored many different options, but the Lord closed all those doors. After our daughter was married at Cicero Center Baptist my wife suggested we approach them to rent their building. This was in 2010. I said, “I don’t think it would work.”
Now what some of you may not know is that Lisa and I and a few others helped start this church. We bought the land (52acres) we raised a lot of money. People sold cars, instruments, furniture etc. and we had garage sales and God helped us raise the money. This took 16 plus years to get into this building. So for us to come back here is an amazing work of God – to Him be the glory!!! This building was built under Pastor Bob Prentice(PB) and he dedicated it to always be used for God’s work. He had a vision that God would bring in many young people. He believes this is the answer to that vision.
About two years ago, Pastor Bob Prentice was mowing the church lawn and praying for God to give him an answer with regard to his approaching retirement (Jan. 2015). He did not think that CCBC could continue when he retired without help from somewhere.
As Pastor Bob was praying, Ken Salisbury, lead pastor of VFC came to his mind. This was in 2011 (two years before the merger). Fast forward to the summer of 2013 and the youth group was looking for a more permanent building to hold the Friday youth gatherings instead of meeting in homes. They were looking and praying. In the mean time, over a year ago I (Pastor Ken) felt lead to just meet with Pastor Bob for coffee and fellowship. Our friendship grew and when he heard our youth needed a place to meet he offered their church building free of charge on Friday nights which started in Sept. of 2013. Shortly after that we began to talk about VFC sharing the building with them. Pastor Bob began to feel that God was leading the two churches to become one, not two separate congregations meeting in one building. Again, I (Pastor Ken) was not sure how that would work.
The VFC Youth group began to claim the Scriptures that said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains. They were praying in the early fall that we would find a building for our church by December 2013. I thought that was craziness.
We asked CCBC if we could have our baptism service there Dec 15 – they agreed. We also had our Christmas Eve service there. Our talks with them accelerated because our contract with the North Syracuse Community Center, the place we rented to hold Sunday worship, ended Dec 31. So they invited us to share the building beginning the first Sunday in January 2014. Our leaders felt it was important not to push them out of any of their normal scheduled service times so we agreed to meet for worship at 9:45am when they did Sunday School. We both agreed that we would just label each service -one contemporary at 9:45am and the other traditional at 11am.
Much prayer was going into this whole merger. One week in early January, the Lord woke me up three different nights at like 3am and put on my heart that He wanted the two churches to be one. This scared me because I was not sure how? On Sunday I was burdened to share this with the people at the early service. So I shared that I believed God was moving us to be one church. That very next week Pastor Bob got up in the service and shared how this has been a burden of his heart from the beginning. He liked our name and wished he thought of it. He has said to me many times, you VFC are helping us as much as we are helping you. He also shared at other times how he wanted this building to continue to be used for God’s work even after he retired.
In our prayer time and talks we were wondering how the two could be one. The Lord put it on Pastor Bob’s heart and my heart before we even talked about it together. What if VFC people joined CCBC as members? Then VCF would be part of the CCBC incorporated body and it would naturally continue. So they invited us to join their membership and be one with them. Each person would simply be voted on upon my recommendation. We agreed that they needed to meet three criteria: 1) be a believer in Christ 2) be baptized by immersion 3) agree with their doctrinal statement. So on Feb 2, 2014, 18 VFC folks were voted on and then welcomed into their membership.
April 6 the membership voted unanimously to change its name from Cicero Center Baptist Church to Vintage Faith Church. They also voted to update and change the by-Laws. All this was done under legal advisement of an attorney.
Then in May 2014. at the annual meeting the church membership voted in new officers and also voted on the budget.
God moved, it was clear. Two congregations are to become one body. One church, two pastors with the same mission: “To be and make disciples of Jesus Christ in authentic community for the good of the world.”
Keep praying and listening to God as He enables us to partner with Him in His mission!
Pastor Ken SalisburyOur Story