So much has changed since I was last at Jacob’s Well Fellowship in 2014. They obtained a new facility in 2015, and it was nothing short of a miracle. Located right on Main Street in the village of Cambridge, this historic building was built in 1847. It was home of the United Presbyterian Church until 1970. It then became the First Baptist Church until 2014 at which time it went up for sale. After a potential buyer changed their mind, Pastor Tim Bohley was given the opportunity to buy it, but the price tag was simply out of their reach. But then, to their surprise, the high price tag was lowered to a mere $100! It was a tremendous blessing, but they still needed to come up with funds for necessary repairs. Around this time a parishioner, Marguerite Williams, passed away, leaving the church half a million dollars. God’s provision came through, enabling all of the necessary restoration and renovations to be made.
The sunshine permeated the room through the magnificent, stained glass windows. The pipe organ, which is still used periodically, is the original and is fully functional. The pews, which were almost replaced by modern chairs, stood proudly in the freshly painted and newly carpeted sanctuary. Pastor Tim Bohley, along with his wife Cindylee, have pastored the church since 1999, living testimonies of God’s faithfulness.
Pastor Tim shared several announcements including the upcoming community meal, indoor camp meeting and movie nights. Then, with the blowing of 2 shofars, the worship team began to lead us in uninhibited praise to God. Pastor Tim, a man who loves to worship, was singing up there with them. He called everyone up to the altar for prayer while the music quietly continued to play, and the majority went forward. He then shared with the people how thankful and honored he was to be their pastor. He spoke about how there was such a joy here … “not because of anything we have done, but it is a gift from God”. He prayed, “May the Spirit of God not only fall upon this place, but also in our hearts”. His message was on “The High Praises of God”. He asked that we not take notes so that we could really listen and focus on the message he was about to share (the message notes were available after service). I reverently listened and laid my pen down. He spoke about the “consumerism” that seems to have taken over the modern church. How so many seek a church for what it can offer them instead of seeking how they can serve the church.
“I cried to Him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue” (Psalm 66:17 ESV). What is high praise? It is not just a concept … it is love in action. It is individual and personal, coming from a life given completely to God. What does high praise look like? One laughs, one cries, one stands and bows, another lies prostate on the floor, one shouts and waves their arms, another stands quietly in God’s presence. How is high praise produced? By our experience with and before our Holy Father. We don’t produce it; it is a result of the love of God toward us. Pastor Tim’s message changed me and gave me a deeper understanding of what high praise really means. Then he offered free copies of the book “Deeper Worship in Heaven” by Dean Braxton, so I went up and got my copy.
After the service, some of the worship team members remained on the platform worshiping God. I asked several people, and it was confirmed that this is the norm here. It was clear that these worshipers understood HIGH PRAISE. While they worshiped, I spent time meeting and talking with several people. It was a blessing to spend some time talking to Associate Pastor Richard Setzer who showed me their offices located in the balcony overlooking the sanctuary. I met a woman, Polly Scully, who shared some of the church history with me. She had attended church in this building since she was 3 and accepted the Lord at around age 11. She has lived through the church, from Presbyterian to Baptist to evangelical. As I was leaving, Pastor Paul Stevens and his wife Dottie were in the fellowship hall. We ended up chatting for what seemed like hours. I loved hearing about Dottie’s ministry of sending hand written letters of encouragement to those God lays upon her heart (Encouraging Hearts Ministries). What a unique ministry to build others up, and what a blessing to know that this church fully supports her in this. She even has her own anointed office space!
One of the things Pastor Tim had mentioned during the service was that where there is high praise there are miracles. Jacob’s Well Fellowship is evidence of this. A seemingly modest congregation, but a powerhouse for God’s kingdom. God has blessed them with this facility in a prime location to reach the community of Cambridge. He has also enabled them to reach the world through their TV and radio broadcasts.
As I was writing this blog, the song “The Well” by Casting Crowns suddenly came to mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5unzXXC0k
And all who thirst will thirst no more,
And all who search will find what their souls long for,
The world will try, but it can never fill,
So leave it all behind, and come to the well.
Come to Jacob’s Well where the water of life is freely given.
Church Website – www.jacobswellfellowship.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo