Buffalo Christian Center closing

From The Buffalo Christian Center (not affiliated with this website, by the way)…

Fif­teen months ago, we began look­ing at how we could lever­age our unique build­ing to bet­ter accom­plish our mis­sion: to serve local at-risk youth with min­istry and devel­op­ment programs.

Through this strate­gic process, we learned that the build­ing would need over $5 mil­lion in ren­o­va­tions.  We talked with key stake­hold­ers — includ­ing indus­try experts, com­mu­nity lead­ers, and top donors — about what this invest­ment would mean prac­ti­cally.  We also had a con­sult­ing group cre­ate a busi­ness plan that accounted for the large cap­i­tal expen­di­tures needed to ren­o­vate the building.

After a time of fast­ing and prayer, while review­ing all the facts, we came to the con­clu­sion that the best course of action was to sell the build­ing for two rea­sons.  First, the like­li­hood of procur­ing the $5 mil­lion was low.  Sec­ond, and more impor­tantly, the level of impact the min­istry would have on the com­mu­nity would not cor­re­late with the dol­lar amount needed to mod­ern­ize the building.

We then con­sid­ered which paths would allow us to best accom­plish our mis­sion once we moved on from 512 Pearl Street.  Some of the options we reviewed included relo­cat­ing, merg­ing, and dissolving.

Ulti­mately, we deter­mined that the best way to accom­plish our mis­sion was to spin off our three pri­mary pro­grams (Teen MOPS, Merge youth out­reach, and Bills Night Out) to rep­utable min­istries, and use the pro­ceeds from the building’s sale to open a foun­da­tion with the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion for Greater Buffalo.

We are deeply enthu­si­as­tic about the future of this foun­da­tion.  Mov­ing for­ward, every year we will grant thou­sands of dol­lars to orga­ni­za­tions in Buf­falo with sim­i­lar mis­sions — orga­ni­za­tions that are mak­ing a mea­sur­able impact among youth in the community.

The needs of Buffalo’s youth are vast, rang­ing from jobs train­ing to edu­ca­tional pro­gram­ming to many oth­ers.  In par­tic­u­lar, the oppor­tu­nity to pro­claim and demon­strate the gospel has never been bet­ter!  We are inspired by the prospect of fund­ing effec­tive min­istries and assist­ing new initiatives.

As we make this deci­sion, we are thank­ful for our rich his­tory as a Chris­t­ian orga­ni­za­tion. The BCC has been a bea­con of God’s love for the peo­ple of WNY for gen­er­a­tions.  The Cen­ter has been on the cor­ner of Pearl and Tup­per Streets in down­town Buf­falo since 1958, when our name was “Youth­Time Evan­ge­lism Fellowship.”

Over the years, the BCC has had a pos­i­tive influ­ence on many youth who have com­mit­ted their lives to Christ.  The BCC hosted Sat­ur­day night youth ral­lies, where local churches helped gather hun­dreds of youth at a time.  Founder Alan Forbes hosted “Good News at Noon,” a pop­u­lar radio broad­cast reach­ing thou­sands of Buf­falo lis­ten­ers.  The Cen­ter Fes­ti­val Choir, WNY’s largest non-denominational choir, was formed at the BCC.  The annual con­cert “Artist Series” brought pop­u­lar per­form­ers to the BCC’s Forbes The­atre.  The BCC’s Chris­t­ian Book­store offered books and mate­ri­als to city churches and com­mu­nity mem­bers. Upon learn­ing of the sale of the BCC, founder Alan Forbes said, “I am delighted that the Lord has so clearly directed the new mis­sion for the for­mer BCC build­ing and ministry.”

In recent years, our min­istries have focused on unchurched, inner-city youth, draw­ing over 40,000 vis­its on a yearly basis.  Our min­istries have included Fri­day night “Merge” for teens with youth dis­ci­ple­ship “cell groups,” Teen Moth­ers of Preschool­ers (MOPS), Night Out with the Buf­falo Bills (in part­ner­ship with Ath­letes in Action), Sum­mer Camps, Open Cen­ter Sat­ur­days, mis­sion teams, bas­ket­ball leagues, Strength­en­ing Urban Churches (SUCH), Fri­day Bible study lunches, and more.

While focus­ing on youth and shar­ing the mes­sage of sal­va­tion through Jesus Christ, the Buf­falo Chris­t­ian Cen­ter has had a broad impact in the city of Buf­falo and West­ern New York.  We are cer­tainly grate­ful that God has used us in such diverse capac­i­ties over the years.

Please join us as we take the first steps down this new path.  Your con­tin­ued involve­ment is impor­tant to us as we seek to reach Buffalo’s youth for Christ.  Please con­sider con­tin­u­ing your sup­port of the BCC’s pro­grams as they tran­si­tion to other orga­ni­za­tions.

We will name our new foun­da­tion ‘Youth­Time’ in order to rec­og­nize all the orga­ni­za­tion has accom­plished in its past, and in antic­i­pa­tion of the impact it will have on Buffalo’s youth in the future.  It is with thank­ful­ness, hope, and excite­ment that we look to this future. We appre­ci­ate your prayers as we move for­ward into a new chap­ter of serv­ing Christ in our city!

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