First Baptist Church Fort Ogden, originally tucked away a few curvy miles down Hull Avenue, now boasts a new building right on Highway 17 in Arcadia. On their Celebration Sunday, January 27th, every seat in the new sanctuary was filled including an overflow with a total of over 800 members and guests. With a history dating back to the late 1870’s, Pastor Wayne Earnest, a Florida native and pastor of FBC Fort Ogden for 17 years, says that it was Hurricane Charley that helped spark revival and growth in their small congregation.
FBC Fort Ogden saw an opportunity to share the love of God by repairing roofs, supplying goods, and praying for others. Wayne Briant, the Southwest Regional Catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention said, “The church has invested significantly in the community. Disaster relief and assisting those in need has helped to create an environment for the Gospel to flourish.”
Since this time, FBC Fort Ogden has been committed to serving their community, equipping people, and “strengthening families for life.” With a desire to move to a larger location, FBC Fort Ogden knew that it would take a miracle from God to orchestrate all of the fine details. Even after the church purchased 20 acres, they were still needing four additional pieces of land all acquired by different owners. When reflecting on the entire process, Earnest shared that “God opened every door, we just had to get out of God’s way. It’s pretty cool stuff.”
Since moving into their new building in January, FBC Fort Ogden has had over 500 people every Sunday. Because of this blessing and growth, they will be moving to two worship services beginning this Sunday (March 3rd).
Earnest shared that not only have they grown numerically, but they have also grown spiritually. “We have taken time to equip our people, this has helped our time of transition and growth,” Earnest said. It is evident to everyone that God is certainly moving at FBC Fort Ogden, “It is always amazing to see the hand of God evidenced in the life and ministry of a local church,” Briant said.
Pastor Wayne Earnest says that they are not slowing down anytime soon. FBC Fort Ogden has recently launched what he calls a “Vision 2020” campaign. “Our goal is to reach every single home in DeSoto County by 2020,” Earnest said. Though they realize the weight of this mission and the hard work ahead of them, Earnest says that God has provided laborers for His harvest. “Every step of the way, God has sent us the right person at the right time. We are excited.”
By Jessica Pigg, Contributor, FBC Writers’ Network, February 27, 2019