Our story truly begins in the heart of a pastor some thirty miles away. Several years ago, while I was working as assistant pastor in my home church, God began to work in my heart to prepare me to start a church. I remember very clearly riding home with Pastor Fritz from meetings in Geneseo, when he commented that Princeton really needed a strong Baptist church. That comment would be a seed that would grow in both mine and my pastor's heart over the next several years.

In 2005, Pastor Fritz began to share with me that he felt God was leading him to start a church. As he prayed and sought counsel, he concluded that God wanted him to start a church without leaving the church in Amboy. During our church missions conference in November, he presented to our church the burden that God had given to him to plant churches in neighboring communities. We set our sights on Princeton, IL, and continued to seek God's guidance. Pastor James Beller, the missions conference speaker, and his study on Baptist influence in America was a great inspiration and encouragement to us.

In the words of Pastor Fritz, "Our larges obstacles seemed to be the time and finances necessary to accomplish the project. We learned again that nothing is impossible for God." I will let him tell the next part of the story:

"By the end of February, 2006, God provided a place to meet. After running into frustration seeking a suitable and affordable place all morning, I had exhausted all my leads. I decided to take a lunch break, and parked in the first open space in the down town section to eat and pray. As I looked in front of me, I noticed a sign for the "Chamber of Commerce", and thought it might be worth talking to someone in that office. When I went inside the building, I was amazed to find it was set up exactly for our needs. There was a large lobby and good rest rooms. The conference room looked as if it was set up for a church meeting including a piano, pulpit, chairs, small kitchen in back. More amazing than that, I found out it was available for us to use free of charge. That fit our budget just right."

The "Heritage Baptist Meetings" began March 19, 2006. Every Saturday, we would take a small group of soul-winners to Princeton and knock on doors, inviting folks and attempting to share the gospel. On Sundays, a service was held at 2:00 in the afternoon. We were able to see a few folks get saved, and God blessed the services with a hand full of people that began attending faithfully. On October 19, 2006, Pastor Fritz began a midweek Bible study on Thursday evenings using a through discipleship course. In January of 2007, Pastor Fritz, myself (Pastor Chad Delhotal) and Nathan Fritz began to alternate Sundays conducting the services.

 

On July 7, 2007, we began Sunday morning services in Princeton. (Pictured to the right is the very first Sunday morning service at the Prouty building.) Interest began to grow again and on September 30, 2007 the "Heritage Baptist Meetings" became the "Heritage Baptist Church" of Princeton. I was elected to be the pastor and was formally ordained by First Baptist Church of Amboy on November 11, 2007.

 

God has been very good from the very beginning. He has met every need and shown His hand in every step. December 6, 2007 the infant church was enabled by God to purchase an old church building which is our current home at 818 N. Church Street. We are truly excited and thankful for what God has done, continues to do, and will do in the future at Heritage Baptist Church!