One Church CAN Help Another
Last August, New Beginning Assembly of God, Pastor Tom Fortini and
his congregation of about 65 or so, were working hard in the inner
city of Youngstown, Ohio. Located between a pornography shop and a
gentlemen's club on the city's entertainment strip, it didn't
appear to be an ideal spot for a church feeling led to minister
to inner-city families. But apparently, God had them there for
Today, just eight months later, New Beginning A/G has an
incredible new home in the inner-city neighborhood. Valued at
nearly $450,000, the church is also now fully furnished, complete
with a computer, copiers, pews, church van, choir robes, hymnals,
Bibles, furniture, sound system, three pianos, an organ, a
library--even an established daycare tenant that pays $1,500 a
And New Beginning A/G got it all--church, property, furnishings,
supplies, everything--for free!
It all began three years ago, when Pastor Tom Fortini left his
comfortable position in a suburban church and took over a failed
inner-city ministry. According to Fortini, inner-city Youngstown
is a tough area and one of the most poverty-striken neighborhoods
in the state. Drugs are plentiful and prostitution is not
"We started with a core group of about 25 people from our mother
church [Highway Tabernacle, Youngstown, Jay Alford, senior
pastor]," said Fortini. They didn't have much money, but according
to Fortini, the congregation had one great asset: extraordinary
The building the congregation was meeting in was an old machine
shop. "The roof had been recently repaired but not before a lot of
water damage had been done to the interior--it was in terrible
condition," Fortini said. "We did a building fund pledge in order
to refurbish the sanctuary--$15,000 was pledged, and every dime of
it came in on time. I've been told by other pastors that 100
percent pledge fulfillment is rare."
Over the next three years the church did a lot of renovations to
the property. They were unsure whether God wanted the church to
continue in its location or to move into the neighborhood. They
began to pray. "We petitioned the Lord persistently," said
Fortini. However, since they were unsure if God wanted them to
move, they prayed, "Father, if you want us to move, we ask you to
give us a building, just give it to us Lord, for if someone gives
us a building, then we will know that it is You."
Four blocks away, a Disciples of Christ (D/C) church was making
its final preparations to disband its congregation. Several
churches had been in contact with the D/C board for quite some
time, expressing interest in the property. Last August, Fortini
and his congregation were notified about the "outside chance" of
getting the property--that was if the church hadn't already made
its final decision.
"We walked into this Board of Trustees meeting--we didn't know
them--and you have to understand, they had been in dialogue with
other churches for some time," Fortini explained. "About 15
minutes into the meeting, it appeared as though they were talking
like the building was already ours. They gave us a tour of the
grounds. We were there for hours. The board voted unanimously to
give us the church and all its assets--and the congregation
Although Fortini believes the ministries New Beginning A/G are
involved in--food pantry, clothing, busing ministry, working with
the homeless, and others--met the desire the D/C wanted to see the
church used for, he has a better explanation of why they received
the incredible gift. "The Lord just gave us favor--you could feel
the presence of the Holy Spirit in that room."
Miraculous? Yes. But the story doesn't end there--it gets better.
A couple weeks after the transfer was finalized, a member of the
D/C Board of Trustees walked into Fortini's office and handed him
an envelope. Inside was a check for $50,000. The next week, the
trustee dropped off another envelope with a check for $40,000!
"She [the trustee] told us that the church had a savings account
we were entitled to as part of the assets--we thought it was three
or four thousand dollars," said Fortini, still in disbelief.
Apparently, the D/C church had a significant amount of money
invested in CDs that they cashed in and presented to New
"I was hesitant to share this story, because I didn't want to
sound like I was bragging or putting a spotlight on our ministry,"
said Fortini. "But if this story can be used to encourage
ministers out there who are experiencing tough times, I want it
to be told over and over. God is so great! He can do anything!"
--Dan Van Veen
C Chr'n Ministries & Churches
R Referrals & Reconciliation
O Outreach Opportunities
S Service Opportunities
S Schools & Sponsorships
Please share your ideas, suggestions, or reports