XENIA — Anyone who has not been through Xenia in the last five years may feel a bit lost when they get to the corner of West Second Street and Progress Drive. What was once Don’s Super Valu grocery is now Lighthouse Baptist Church. And while the basic shape of the building may resemble what it was like five years ago, that’s the only resemblance.
This weekend marks the first service to be held in a just-finished sanctuary and will lead to the grand opening on March 9 to celebrate “From Groceries to the Gospel”.
“This journey started in 2009,” Josh Bevan, pastor at Lighthouse Baptist, said. “There weren’t many of us — me, my wife, our two kids, our youth pastor and his wife. We started at what was then the Holiday Inn, now the Ramada. From there we moved out to the Fairgrounds for about a year.”
Bevan said they felt it was time to find a permanent home for his church.
“It was probably six months before,” he said. “We drove through the city to try to find a place. We saw the Boy Scouts were selling Christmas trees on the side of the property and we stopped. We got out and we prayed God to grant us a building.
“This was it.”
Since then, they’ve renovated the 25,000 square feet with almost all the work being done by parishioners and staff.
“We also bought the property behind and to the side,” Bevan said. “We are planning on relocating the main entrance of the building to face Progress.”
He added that future parking will be expanded and additional buildings will be constructed. Bevan said they are also planning to add a recreation field.
“In all, we have 14 acres here,” he said.
Bevan said the church has been redone to include a 650-seat sanctuary, new classrooms, and a kitchen that still has work to be done.
“With God’s blessings, it will all come together,” he said. “We are going by the passage ‘With God, all things are possible’.”
The pastor said he is happy to be in Xenia.
“We are the Lighthouse. We wanted to be a light,” he said. “I don’t know of a better location.
“We’re changing lives,” Bevan continued. “We’ve been averaging about 340 on Sundays and about 275 on Wednesdays. We have hit some big days where we were over 500, though.”
Service times are 9:30 a.m. Sunday School, 10:30 a.m. Morning Service, 6 p.m. Evening Service and the Wednesday service at 6:30 p.m.
On March 9, the “Grand Opening” event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 2040 W. Second St.
William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield