What do you do if your church is on fire — literally? How can you prepare for something like that? For Holly Springs Baptist Church in Inman, they were prepared through adequate insurance coverage but had not counted on the blessing of God as an apparent disaster turned into a time of spiritual refreshing.
On Monday, July 25, a thunderstorm passed through the Holly Springs community. About 9:00 that evening, a neighbor was passing by the church and noticed flames through a window in the lower floor beneath the sanctuary. He called the fire department, and in a matter of minutes firefighters were successfully extinguishing the fire.
The structures were saved, but there was severe damage. Fortunately, the church had adequate insurance and a family life center they were able to convert into a meeting place for almost a year.
Pastor Tim Clark stated, “I think this experience drew us closer together as a congregation. We all worked together to rebuild God’s place of worship in this community, including our new members. Meeting in the gym for nearly 12 months reminded us that the church is where the people of God are gathered for worship and scattered to witness. We saw attendance increase, along with a rise in professions of faith and baptisms.”
A steering committee was elected within two weeks of the fire, and one person was appointed to be the church’s representative while dealing with the contractor of the renovation project. As the group moved further into the renovation process, the church decided to renovate and update all their facilities, including a new floor for the gym.
According to committee chairman Travis Sloan, the total cost of the renovations was approximately $2.3 million, and included a fully remodeled sanctuary, lobby areas, a new full-size elevator, complete handicap accessibility through the buildings, upgraded HVAC, security, fire alarms, and Wi-Fi, along with new pew chairs, a new grand piano, sound system, lighting, and a new covered portico that is handicap-accessible.
The church had over $3 million in coverage and an addition $650,000 coverage on the contents. Additional renovations that were not covered by insurance were paid for by the church through existing funds and a short-term line of credit.
Clark and the committee were pleased with their insurance company, Guide One. He said, “They did a fantastic job guiding us through this process and meeting every need. I would strongly recommend that every church examine and provide adequately for insurance coverage. Our church leadership has made that a priority over the years, and, at our time of need, it was there.”
Matthew Quinton, marketing manager for Southern Mutual Church Insurance, said, “My suggestion is for churches to place their coverage with an insurance company that specializes in churches and to review their policy on a regular basis with their agent. Proper valuation of church property, particularly when it comes to stained glass, pews and musical instruments, is imperative to keep them from being underinsured.”
Clark pointed out that a “fresh wind of excitement has spread over the family of God here.”
Committee member Dennis Grable said, “Through this whole process, the church grew stronger and closer. The new facility truly is a gift from God. Something we thought was a disaster, God used to provide us with a tool to reach the community and present the Good News of Christ.”
Everything worked out much better than expected for Holly Springs — renovation of all their buildings, adequate insurance coverage, and a revival in the hearts of many members.