For Yves Bazile, pastor and church planter in France, ministry has been a time of gaining and losing, and repeating that cycle. His story is a story of an accomplished mission assignment, one that took nearly 12 years but bears the fruit of a church that brings light to a city 20 minutes from Paris.
Bazile began to get a heart geared towards France when he came to study at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary. He started to pray and the Lord opened up an opportunity for him and his wife to intern in France. After a year there, he saw how great the need is for a missionary church planting initiative. After completing the internship, they returned to the States to raise funds. A few months later, they were back on the field.
Their first assignment was to work in conjunction with a local church there to plant other churches; however, an opportunity to take over one of their “dying” churches opened. Bazile thought the best option would be to fuse the church planting work with the revitalization of that local church. There were three people left and the church was in debt.
In Paris, securing a place to worship can be very difficult. This church was not only about to lose all of its congregation, but also the church building.
“I thought…I will have a double assignment taking this church,” Bazile said. “Saving a church location and fulfilling the church planting assignment.”
With the challenge before them, they took over Argenteuil Church of God and the debt was completely paid off within a few years. The congregation grew, and they started to work towards buying the building because it was about to be put on the market. This doubled the speed of the challenge because Bazile had to act quickly to make sure they would not lose the location. They made an offer and the church was theirs. This felt like a major gain to the church body and to the Baziles.
It’s shortly after this major gain that they experienced a major loss. A fire destroyed the building and the congregation was left with nowhere to meet. For three years, they would go from place to place to place. God was faithful to provide a place to meet each time. Some weeks it would be a Saturday night before Bazile would get a phone call with someone agreeing to let them use a building. He’d text and email the congregation and they would worship the next day in a new location.
Bazile said they knew that the Lord was providing and that they needed to keep up the faith and keep going. Some days they wondered if they needed to let the endeavor go and start something else; they were faced with the reality that they may need to do something else. Rather than giving up, they kept on persisting and saw the Lord move each of their steps.
Eventually, the insurance was used to received to rebuild the church, but the cost was going to be 40 percent higher. In prayer, the Lord opened doors.
In 2017, they regained the use of the building and in November 2018, the deal was finally closed and fully purchased.
“Being able to purchase the building is a sign of God’s providence and provision for our ministry,” Bazile said. “[It] tells us that we need to keep up this work and expect even greater things from God.”
He said that the Lord made a statement even through the architecture and that they are thankful to meet in a building that looks like a church after being dispersed for years.
Today, the church has around 65 in attendance. This is more than the average church in France—most have around 20 members.
Through both the gains and the losses, Argenteuil Church of God gives thanks to God for seeing them through. In a spiritual climate that is not necessarily in favor of the church, Bazile says that they are working towards creating their own climate of life and rebirth through Christ.
“Where there is light, there cannot be darkness. We are a church that is striving to shine its light.” Bazile said. “Whether it’s a candle or 300W light bulb, it’s still light.”
The church is not done persisting and prevailing. Their current focus is on investing into the new generation. Bazile says that he does not want the church focusing on the past, but looking forward to allow the future generations to strive and succeed where past generations have failed.
The church is now in need of an extension to the building for office and storage space. To give, visit cogwm.org and refer to Project # 065-0193.
(Source: Church of God World Missions)