Moving In, Moving Out: Louisiana Church Celebrates New Facility, Renewed Mission

 In All Church of God, CHOG

By Carl Stagner

Anyone who’s ever been part of a building campaign for a church knows it’s no walk in the park. The challenges are often immense and varied, requiring not only faith and patience among both congregation and leadership, but also additional financial sacrifice. Still, by faith, congregations embrace the God-given vision for the church and community, pressing forward and trusting God each step of the way, especially across rugged canyons and over steep mountaintops. Looking back, it’s not hard to see God’s fingerprints all over the place; answered prayer and miraculous moments leave leadership baffled, boosting confidence in the wondrous ways God will utilize beautiful and functional new space he’s stewarded to his people. Such is the unfolding story of Faith Chapel Church of God in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where work has yet to be completed, but numerous hurdles have already been crossed, leaving the goal is in sight.

When Pastor Bart Riggins arrived on the scene in the summer of 2011, he was immediately confronted with the priority of new sanctuary construction. Under the late Rev. J. D. Brown, Faith Chapel Church of God had bought plots totaling twelve acres; the space was available, but building on the land was far from fruition. The Spirit had united the congregation in the vision prior to Pastor Bart’s leadership, and it was clear that the vision would come to pass. Timing and means remained in question.

Bart Riggins

Several challenges threatened to derail the congregation en route to their destination. Though COVID was certainly a factor after they initially broke ground in 2019, the major setback occurred a few years earlier. Historic flooding—not recorded so severe in the previous thousand years—took everyone by surprise, frustratingly in the midst of discussion with the architect. More than twenty families from the church were inundated by water in their homes, some water cresting at eight feet. Ministry necessarily shifted to relief and restoration, pressing pause on facility expansion at the church.

The flooding disaster not only robbed the building process of time and donations, but affected the estimates on materials. Not surprisingly, demand on materials rose for families and businesses repairing damaged structures, dramatically increasing the costs to build the new sanctuary. But over time, disaster—among other logistical and legal issues that arose—simply could not deter Faith Chapel Church of God from realizing the vision God had given them.

“To God be the glory, we continue to receive equity donor funding toward our project with no outstanding debt for our building ministry,” Pastor Bart reports. “Thankfully, we are now on the homestretch toward seeing the completion of our building as we are in the final stages for completing all internal phases of the building and looking to move outside and complete the code-required parking lot, landscape, and fencing.”

But for Pastor Bart Riggins and Faith Chapel Church of God, the goal isn’t strictly about finishing a project or checking off a task on a list of seemingly overdue items. It’s about ministry and the freedom to make disciples with greater flexibility.

“We see our new building a ministry tool,” Pastor Bart reflects. “We do not see our building as a goal to an end, where we can clasp our hands and say, ‘Thank God, the building is finally complete.’ In other words, when the building is completed, a new phase of ministry to our community around us will have just begun. The need to build has come out of the evaluation of our ministry efforts and programs in our current facility, where we are pressed for space and necessary facility amenities as it relates to worship space, education space (more effective classrooms), and intergenerational worship space, like a children’s chapel and youth chapel, along with more social gathering and administrative space to effectively encounter and engage a culture that navigate like spaces in other entities in the marketplace of society.”

Construction on the new building.

So, how can the Church of God movement best remember Pastor Bart Riggins and Faith Chapel Church of God in prayer?

“We welcome the larger church,” he explains, “to remain in prayer with us as we draw near to the end of our first phase and prepare to occupy the building, prayerfully by Christmas of this year, 2023, and also prepare to build our foundation for the second phase of our building, which will encompass our complete project. We are thankful for God’s continuous gracious equity provisions, both from our internal congregant donors and external donors, and we invite the larger church to pray continual thanksgiving prayers to our giving God, Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider; thanks and adoration for what he has done, is doing, and will continue to do with the sending and directing of all the provisions we need—all as we see not only this first phase completed and occupied, but as the second phase initiated and completed, as well.”

Moving in late this year to their new facility, Faith Chapel Church of God anticipates doing so in order to move out into their community discipled and freshly devoted to the Lord, reaching everyone they can with the love of Jesus.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at

Feature (top) photo: The exterior of the new building is looking great!

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