This Easter, over 200 people attended the first official service of the relaunched Station Church, pastored by Joel and Brittany Bolduc in Hornell, New York.
The Bolducs came to Hornell in 2016 to pastor New Life Church. The congregation of 35 dwindled to 12 — half of them from his family. However, God gave Joel and Brittany peace about allowing the church to die.
Early in their pastorate at New Life, Joel refueled by watching Rod Loy’s messages online. At the time, he didn’t know that Loy, pastor of First Assembly North Little Rock and AG executive presbyter, would play an important role in his church planting journey.
The Arkansas church is providing oversight to the New York congregation due to a series of divine meetings.
One Tuesday evening, a woman came to the Bolducs’ home and handed them a gift of $2,500. A week later a friend gave them an additional $1,500. The two gifts equaled the exact amount the couple needed to attend General Council that year, where Joel met Loy in person at an event for young pastors. This meeting opened the door for the Bolducs to be mentored and supported during a time when they had felt detached and alone. First Assembly North Little Rock has experience assisting churches in far-flung places.
Station Church functions as a campus of First NLR, receiving monthly funds for outreach and leadership team professional development through meetings and shared sermons. However, Station Church remains a New York Ministry Network congregation and is not a parent-affiliated church.
“It’s a unique partnership that brings great joy for both parties,” Loy says. “Investing in the next generation is a core value for me. Partnering with smaller churches is something that really resonates with our board and leadership team. We feel it’s part of our kingdom assignment and responsibility.”
By 2017, about 35 individuals agreed to become church launch team members. Joel realized he needed more help, and he spent the summer praying over a list of names.
“One of the hardest things before the rest of our lead team arrived is we felt isolated and didn’t have anyone to share that burden with,” Brittany says.
Two couples from the prayer list, TJ and Jackie Rosa and Jeff and Amanda Fanton, joined the team at Station Church in 2018. TJ and Jackie Rosa serve on the lead team, Jeff and Amanda Fanton serve as children’s pastors.
TJ acknowledges that his relationship with Joel had been rocky for a season earlier in their lives as they had both dealt poorly with hurts in ministry. However, God helped them to experience renewal in their friendship to the point that they could come together to bring healing and restoration to people who had also experienced hurts within the context of a church setting.
“Prior to coming to Station Church, I didn’t want to preach anymore,” TJ says. “But after I came, God released me from the anxiety I had about being good enough.”
While preparing for the opening of Station Church on April 21, the Bolducs gained valuable insight and inspiration by attending a Launch training in Washington, D.C., through the Church Multiplication Network.
“We have watched people step into their God-given potential and come alive,” Joel says.