In the quaint village of Belfountain in Caledon, Ontario, a unique journey of church growth and revitalization is unfolding at Belfountain Village Church. What started with a humble congregation of about eight people in 2015 has now blossomed into a vibrant community of over one hundred individuals. Pastor Fred Dyke shares the inspiring journey of growth and the essence of genuine community.
At the outset, Belfountain Village Church resisted the temptation to launch numerous programs. Instead, they embarked on an exploration of the New Testament church. Through a preaching series that focused on what the Bible says about the church, they laid a foundation as a community using the 3 P’s – pray, preach, and participate – principles they still emphasize today.
The early days were marked by a commitment to loving the existing members, a small but dedicated group of 8-10 individuals. The philosophy was simple: before attracting people from outside, they asked themselves what they wanted these newcomers to be attracted to. Rather than aiming to increase attendance, Pastor Fred and his wife Judee prioritized loving the people that were already there. Slowly but steadily, former members started to return and new faces joined the congregation. By the end of the first year, the church had grown to about twenty people.
It was a new beginning, not just for Belfountain Village Church, but for Fred and Judee Dyke, who came into vocational ministry unexpectedly. Fred had had a long career as a management consultant, but for some time, God had led him and his wife, Judee, to pray for an opportunity to serve Him together. Now, the couple lead the church together, with Pastor Fred preaching and Judee leading worship and organizing events. The couple sends out a weekly e-newsletter to maintain connections, summarizing the Sunday message, attaching sermon notes and videos, and providing event updates.
Over the years, with their continued focus on simplicity and sincerity, the growth continued and today, Belfountain Village Church is a caring community of just over a hundred people, and has a thriving Wednesday night dinner and Bible study with approximately twenty-five participants.
Pastor Fred emphasizes a commitment to preaching the Word of God and practicing the love that Jesus commanded both towards God and others. Rather than announcing services and events to attract new people to the church, they focused on setting an example of loving each other as God loves. Naturally, people invited their friends, and the word kept spreading.
The church’s sense of family is evident in their post-service fellowship, where nearly everyone stays after the service to connect. There is no “Greeting Committee”; everyone is a greeter. With Pastor Fred and Judee’s example of sincere love and service, along with a united and committed church board that shepherds and leads alongside, their church has become a community of small groups in many ways, even without a formal small groups program. The growth at Belfountain is not just numerical, but rooted in the biblical principles of truth and love.
One key aspect of their success is the emphasis on participation over entertainment. The occasional men’s breakfast and various organized activities throughout the year promote engagement and interaction among the congregation. The church’s Christmas dinner, which started in their humble church building, was later moved to accommodate a growing crowd, and is now a major community event, hosting 140 people.
In reflecting on the journey, Pastor Fred says that the new thing is not something he had to create, it was already in the Bible. The growth of the church is a testament to their commitment to discovering and sharing the timeless truths found in Scripture.