By Pastor Robert Mahuron
Ecclesiastes 11:5 states, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” It has been said many times that God works in mysterious ways. This was surely the case in the beginning of Life Tabernacle Church’s (LTC) building program. You see it all began with two runaway horses...
The church in Barnwell, South Carolina was established in the 1970s and the first original church building was located on Clinton Street. After many years of use, the building began to need substantial repairs. The church was not financially able to take on a remodeling project. In 1988, a smaller building was located, a lease was signed, and the church moved a few miles outside of town. Although LTC was glad to be out of a building in which it rained more on the inside than it did outside, the building was too small and not meeting the needs of the church body. In early 1990, a church building located at the opposite end of Clinton Street came up for sale and the congregation was able to purchase it. This building served the congregation for many years but as the church grew it also became too small. Realizing the need for more space, Pastor Mahuron drew up plans for a new facility, presented it to the congregation, and Life Tabernacle began a building fund program.
Now back to the runaway horses…
In between these two church buildings on Clinton Street was 450 acres owned by two Florida businessmen who were acquaintances of Pastor Mahuron. Pastor Mahuron had reached out to them on several occasions making requests to purchase acreage on which to build a new church. Each time they declined stating that it was not their desire to sell the land in parcels.
A few years passed and one day Pastor Mahuron and his youngest son were riding horses in a tree farm located near their home. These horses that were normally calm but suddenly became unruly, bucked their riders onto the ground, and went galloping through the tree farm. Unbeknownst to Pastor Mahuron, the two businessmen from Florida were visiting and had stopped by the tree farm. As the search for the horses commenced, they came upon the businessmen. After cordially greeting one another, the question was asked, “Hey, is your church still interested in purchasing some property?” With that question began the agreement to sell LTC nine acres of land on which to build a new church! Was it coincidence that those horses bucked their riders that day? Not hardly, it was the work of their Maker!
Within two years the land was paid for and the church moved forward with building plans. Pastor Mahuron's drawings were submitted to architects and official blueprints were drawn and submitted to local city officials. City officials denied the plans as submitted and required more engineering reviews and redrawing of blueprints. Finally after two years, LTC was given the approval to begin building.
Through many monetary donations by citizens of the community and giving saints, LTC was able to progress the construction beyond the dry-in and mechanicals phase. At this point, a local bank was approached for a new construction loan. It was March 2020, three months into the processing of the loan, close to the approval stage, when Pastor Mahuron was notified that all commercial loans were closed due to COVID-19. The bank was apologetic, but there was nothing that could be done. God had other plans though and He was still working!
The local district superintendent was aware of the situation and referred LTC to the United Pentecostal Church Loan Fund. A representative attended the South Carolina District Conference in June 2020 and Pastor Mahuron was able to learn more about the program. Within a month and a half, a loan application was submitted and LTC had been approved!
A word from LTC:
We held our first service in our beautiful new facility on Easter Sunday 2021! We are grateful to God for the doors that He opened to make this happen! We are thankful that He led us to the UPCI Loan Fund and with their help, made the dream of this new church building a reality! We are committed to fulfil the great commission of reaching our city with the Gospel. We now have a beautiful place of worship to bring in the lost and hurting of our community...a place where their lives can forever be changed by one encounter with Jesus Christ. To God Be The Glory!