In July of 1994, two families felt led to pray about starting a church in Loveland, Ohio. One evening as they were traveling through the city, the Spirit of the Lord had them stop at a church building that was for sale. As they were looking at the outside of the building, the Pastor came out and asked if he could be of help. The families replied that they were just looking for a place to hold bible study, and he began to show them around. It was discovered that the building could seat 250 in worship and 300 in Sunday School, had a beautiful two story educational building in back with a large fellowship hall and kitchen. They knew it was more than they needed.
The Pastor gave the asking price as $390,000 and asked if the families were interested in buying. He said they were not able to rent or lease the property only a sale would be acceptable. The families thanked him for the tour and explained that they were a little short of cash that particular evening. Before they left, the four had prayer on the front lawn and asked the Lord to open the doors if He wanted them there. They knew this was nothing they would be able to do on their own, and they were leaving it in His hands.
A few days later they were contacted by the Methodist Church that owned the building and asked if they wanted to use the building on Tuesday nights for Bible studies free of charge. The two families agreed and on August 2nd, 1994 they had their first bible study with eleven people present. In September the Methodist church approached the small group of people and asked again if they wanted to buy, and again they had to reply that they did not have the money. They then said they would rent the building to them for $20 per week. It was obvious that God was doing something, for the church had come to them with an offer they were able to meet even though the Methodist had originally said that renting was not an option. In September they began to pay rent. God continued to bless the group, and they grew to 25 people. They began taking up an offering to pay for the rent of the building. The first offering was $1,951.00 and through the month of October the average was $584 per week with 29 in attendance.
The Methodist church approached them again in November
and asked if they wanted to buy. They informed the bible study group they were vacating the building in December in order to move into their new location. Again, the group of people told them they were unable to buy.
Although the Methodist had originally said they would not lease the building, they then asked us to do so. After negotiating, we came up with a price to lease the building for 13 months. The decision was made to hold the first service on December 4th. Our services consisted of AM & PM full worship, eight Sunday School classes and the Tuesday Night Bible Study.
The mission extended a call to Brother Bill Hounshell to come as a church start consultant for three months. They had no sponsoring church, or furniture other than the pews and pulpit, no equipment, no supplies and no pay package. All they had was God’s approval and that was enough to begin.
December 4th, 1994 began their service with 76 people in Sunday school, 84 in worship, and an offering of $2,600.00. During the month of December two donations were given totaling $20,000, to be used over a one-year period for the pastor’s pay package. Then Pisgah Heights Baptist Church, in a business meeting, voted to become their sponsoring church. In voting to do so they committed $10,000 during the 1995 year. There was a time when the mission did not know if they had the money to begin the work, the Lord provided $30,000!!! When they called Pastor Hounshell as Church Consultant they had only a commitment of one month salary and he committed for 3 months. The Lord took care of the pastoral salary because of the faithfulness of His people.
In January of 1995 the Home Mission Board and State Convention voted to accept them as a new work and began to assist the mission with monthly contributions. In February Pastor Bill had his leave of absence rescinded and was called back to his home church as their pastor. When the mission found out about that decision, they immediately extended a call for him to come as Pastor and no longer serve as church consultant. In February the Pastor was called to make a difficult decision and on March 5, 1995 brother Bill Hounshell became our first Pastor, as he accepted the call. He remained as a consultant to Hillcrest Baptist Church for the next several months and then moved to Loveland September 23, 1995.
The church had been involved in several projects in the city of Loveland as the Lord was leading the congregation to be seed planters for the kingdom work. They were involved in their first Loveland Family Fest in 1995. They gave away over 1,700 cups of ice cream, 800 balloons, 300 magnets and painted over 500 kids’ faces! They registered over 200 families for prizes and 70 of those requested more information about the church. That was the beginning of truly becoming a part of the community. Since then they have become the centerpiece of the Family Fest, plus many other activities in the community.
The Easter Presentation was moved to the local school because it grew too big to present at the church. In 1997 the first live nativity scene was held across from the City Building. In the last two years 2500 people visited the site. Since then many have made the traditional journey to the nativity, with Joseph and Mary and the donkey coming through town, on the first night of the nativity scene. This has become a yearly family event for our city and has been a great outreach tool for the Lord.
The mission had many volunteers that helped keep them organized. In March, 1996 they called a part time secretary, Audrey Martin. Since then they have had several volunteer secretaries and other part time individuals. The mission called its first part time youth pastor in January of 1997, Bro. David Walters was used by God to help our youth group. Since the calling of the first part-time staff member, they have had 3 other paid youth pastors and 1 music minister.
In August of 1997 the facility was sold out from under them when another group came with a cash offer for the buildings. The mission was given a 90 day notice to move and they began to pray for God’s wisdom. In the contract they had a 30-day clause that allowed them an opportunity to raise the money and match the offer. If they could do that, they had the option to buy. They could not find a local bank that would loan them the $225,000 that was needed to purchase the building. With only a few days left on the option, the Home Mission Board came to them and said they believed that God was in this work and agreed to loan the money if they could come up with $25,000 in cash. The church knew that this would be a challenge but God had demonstrated his faithfulness to handle challenges.
September 14, 1997 was called Harvest Sunday. A one time offering would be taken to see God provide the needed $25,000. Alternate plans included moving into a local school until they could buy property.
When the community became aware of what was happening local businesses began sending in donations. Sacrifices were being made, and everyone knew the Lord was up to something. On the morning the offering was counted, the congregation had raised $38,144.05!
We had enough money to put down on the buildings and to make the monthly payments, just $18.00 more than the lease payment! The mission closed on the property and constituted as a church in October of 1997. God surely has provided!
The church started an AWANA program in 1996 with an ending average of 50. The total Wednesday evening average was now 225 which included adult and youth ministries.
God so blessed the work at 420 W. Loveland Avenue that only He could receive the glory. They averaged 143 in Sunday School in 1999 compared to 76 in 1995. Since then the Sunday School has continued to grow until 2001 when the attendance began to plateau due to the size limits of the building. The average would grow but at a very slow rate because they lacked the room to create new Sunday School classes. The church used closets, the sanctuary, even rented trailers to try to help the Sunday school grow. It was obvious something had to be done.
The congregation began to experience the same thing with worship, they knocked down walls and did whatever it took to allow growth. On Easter Sunday 2002, at the high school, they had an attendance of 404. The church was unable to go to double worship because of parking limitations. They were using 7 nearby parking lots. They faced a major dilemma.
The church began to pray, asking God to show them the next direction. They went to several vacant lots around Loveland and had prayer meetings seeking God’s guidance. There was a piece of property on Loveland Madeira Road that all had felt God wanted them to have since 1995. It was sold to another group in 2000 so they felt this property was no longer to be considered, although some continued to pray for it.
In April of 2002 the property was again available. The pastor made some calls and soon the church was able to purchase it for $325,000. They refinanced the existing loan which included the old building and the new property. For the first time the church had a future plan for a new facility.
They immediately began the long process of hiring an architect and started the journey of designing a new building. After several changes and many hours of meetings and prayer, the committee came up with a design the church approved. They now took on the task of financing and finding out when construction could begin.
In September 2002 the church voted to begin a pledge program called “Future with Hope”. Most of the church had never been involved in a pledge campaign before. They formed several committees, hired a consultant firm called Genesis and took off like a “blaze of glory”. The Spirit in the church was unbelievable and the unity was evident.
November 24, 2002 they had their First Fruits Sunday in which they collected their first pledge offering and made pledges for the next 3 years. They had Thanksgiving service at the high school, along with the meal. When all the pledges and money were counted, the results were “God worthy”. The church pledged $668,280.75 over the next 3 years and the first offering was $141,184.75. Words could not describe the excitement and power that was felt that day.
They immediately began to seek financing so they could schedule the ground-breaking. On April 13, 2003 New Hope Baptist Church broke ground on the new property. It was an exciting day as all knew God was giving the church a place where they could continue to reach people for Him.
The next 16 months were the busiest months the church ever experienced. They began to clear the property by cutting down many trees and built a retaining wall on the back of the property. After moving tons of dirt and rocks, the first slabs of concrete were poured in August, 2003. The workers knew winter was approaching so they tried to step up the pace. The first steel beam was erected in September, 2003 and the building began to take shape.
Shortly afterward the people began to build walls. The snow fell and many mornings men and women had to shovel snow from the inside of the building because there was no roof. The cold and snowy weather did not stop the crews or the people from working hard. Our people had committed themselves to work every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening and all day on Saturday. There was a group of men who came in every day and worked on the building. They developed a very special friendship as they worked. When Phase I of the building was completed over 50% of the work had been done by our congregation. Their hard work and commitment was like nothing one could imagine. Contractors were getting saved, lives were being impacted before the building was complete. The church knew God was using what we began to call “Holy Ground”.
The church was able to acquire three separate loans as they financed the project. God began to give us wisdom on how to handle the financial commitment. We had financial institutions stop by without us going out and looking for them. God was showing us that the money would be available. At one time the church had $570,000.00 worth of church bonds to sell. Many wondered how this would happen. The congregation bought over $500,000.00 worth of bonds and again God’s people came through.
On June 26, 2004 the City of Loveland granted a 1 day temporary permit so that the Pastor’s daughter could have her wedding in the new facility. The church so much wanted to see this dream of their Pastor’s come true and because of their faithfulness, God granted it.
The church had their first service in the building on August 1, 2004. They had 352 in attendance with several decisions. They are presently occupying the 540 seat auditorium, complex of 4 offices, 13 Sunday School Classrooms, huge foyer, 4 restrooms, and a large sound room, all part of phase I.
The church completed phase II of the building in February 2005. This included an additional 7 Sunday School Class rooms and a large area for our youth to meet. Shortly after completion we began our work upstairs in the gym/fellowship hall. This was a large undertaking but our people worked hard to make this possible. In September of 2006 we were able to occupy a 70 X 100 gym, 17 X 25 stage, two additional restrooms and an elevator. The gym will seat 350 for dinner. We opened up our kitchen located upstairs and by next year open up the balcony that will seat an additional 210.
We host several community events in our church. We have the Live Nativity which is now the largest community event in Loveland. Christmas of 2006, we had 4,000 people go through our display. We gave away many witnessing brochures, cds, hundreds of home made cookies plus many gallons of coffee and hot chocolate. We are major participants of the Amazing race that saw over 1,500 people in 2009 come through our parking lot as part of their competition.
Our Easter Presentation in 2010 was the most amazing thing to happen in our church. We had two services for the first time in our history and had over 1,000 in attendance. We saw 4 saved.
We installed our new sign which weighs 8,000 lbs and built a playground on the side of the building. We have also opened a prayer garden with the three crosses and will soon install a prayer pond and fountain. We continue daily to see souls saved and lives changed because of this church on the hill.
Soon after Pastor Bill's retirement, New Hope extended a call to Pastor Darrell Hammons as their new Lead Pastor.