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Tuscaloosa college ministry explodes in numberscomment (0)

September 20, 2007

After a natural gas explosion rocked the Allan Watson College Ministry Building at Calvary Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, in July 2006, the status of the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association church’s Wednesday night college program, The Well, seemed unclear.

Discontinuing the ministry, however, was never an option, so a temporary worship area was established in the gym of the church’s Family Life Center. Attendance quickly climbed from an average of 160 students during the 2005–2006 school year to an average of 430 in 2006–2007. As the start of the 2007–2008 school year neared, Calvary Baptist’s College Ministry Leadership Team, under the direction of College Minister Ben Pilgreen, prepared to welcome about 600 students to the first meeting of The Well Aug. 22. Plans were made to move the ministry from the Family Life Center to the sanctuary to accommodate the anticipated overflow, and new lighting, sound and room-darkening shades were installed to create an environment of greater appeal to the college crowd.

Imagine the team’s surprise when more than 1,000 students showed up. “We were supposed to begin at 8 but did not get started until around 8:15 because of having to bring in more seats,” said Frank Jones, assistant minister of worship. “It was absolutely electric in that room.” Thanks to the enthusiastic response, a second weekly meeting of The Well on Thursday nights began Sept. 6 and apparently none too soon. The crowd at the second The Well of the year Aug. 29 was even bigger than the first, with more than 1,100 in attendance. “It’s incredible,” Pilgreen said. “I’ve never seen God move in the ways He’s moving among these students right now.”

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