Home Christian News God Is ‘Still Here’: After Texas Church Burns Down, Cross Remains

God Is ‘Still Here’: After Texas Church Burns Down, Cross Remains

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Photo credit: Lake Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department

On Friday, June 17, fire broke out at Balsora Baptist Church, a 100-year-old building in Bridgeport, Texas. By the time the flames were extinguished at the Texas church, only a cross remained standing among all the debris.

Pastor Sonny Smith says, “To me that was a sign from God saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’m still here, and I’m going to lead you forward.’”

Texas Church Had Been Under Construction

Balsora Baptist, which Smith describes as “a small country church,” was in the process of rebuilding its fellowship hall. On Friday, he says, construction workers returned from their lunch break to see the building on fire. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

At least a dozen local agencies assisted with the response. A few firefighters were treated at the scene after the church’s roof began to collapse while they were inside.

After the fire was out, Wise County Emergency Services Department No. 2 posted a photo on Facebook of the still-standing cross. “A devastating loss to our community, but a sight to behold,” the caption reads. “The fire took the structure, but not the cross. A symbol that the building was just that, a building. The Church is the congregation, and where 2 or more gather, there he shall be also.”

The department pointed to “extreme temperatures” in the north Texas region lately. “Churches also pose an inherent danger related to the great span of the sanctuaries and great halls, which makes them very prone to collapse,” it adds.

Balsora Baptist Church Gathered for Worship Sunday

Just two days after the fire, congregants gathered near the destroyed building to worship and seek “God’s direction” for the Texas church. On its Facebook page, the church shared images and videos from the service. “The Cross that held our prayer request in the sanctuary was still standing!” it writes. “We praise God that He still answers prayers. We look forward to all He’s going to do at Balsora Baptist!!!

Other local churches have offered Balsora meeting space for the summer, says Pastor Smith. But for now he plans to keep meeting outside near the burned-down building. The 75 or so congregants will “shed some tears together over what was, but also create some excitement for what God plans for us in the future,” he says.

The pastor emphasizes that the church is people, not a building. “I can tell you what’s inside of our church family. It’s faith,” says Smith. “God is good. In the good times and in the bad times, you can always depend on him.”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing. She loves the Word and words, is a binge reader and grammar nut, and is fanatic (as her family can attest) about Jeopardy! and pro football.