In March of 2006, Titusville First Baptist Church requested funds from the Release God's Power Grant Committee to be used to reestablish a viable youth outreach within the church. Volunteers from the church worked in partnership with Boy Scout Troop 412 and Eagle Scout Nicholas Borger to renovate an unused basement area in the church into a modern "Youth Room". The area became the hub for the church's own youth program and was also made available to other youth-based programs within the wider community such as the Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts.
As the initial project neared completion in the early summer of 2007, members of the church became interested in expanding the project to include a community-wide youth program and a youth-oriented worship service. After a period of prayer to seek God's direction, the church decided to develop the "Side Door CafÃ©", a place where teens and young adults could gather and share, not only entertainment and refreshments, but the Word of God. A second request was made to the Release God's Power Grant Committee on September 14, 2007 for funding to help with this expansion.
To accommodate the anticipated growth in attendance and to provide the youth group with an area that could be used for both recreation and worship, the church decided to renovate the large, unused Sunday School meeting area that adjoined the newly established "Youth Room". Since one of the main challenges encountered in the earlier remodeling project was mold growth caused by leaky basement walls and inadequate heating and ventilation, the church began this new renovation by installing a whole-house dehumidification system and interior walls and doors that would allow for more efficient heating and dehumidification of the area.
The exterior walls of the room, part of the original church built in1865 and comprised of stone, brick, and mortar, were stripped, cracks were repaired, and the entire surface was coated with a waterproofing sealant. The old wood frame basement windows were removed, and the window sills,
located well below ground level were raised to prevent water seepage. The walls were then insulated and drywall was installed. New glass block windows were installed to replace the old single pane wood frame windows and the entire room received new wall treatments made to resemble store fronts and streets scenes of the 1950's. Other improvements to the area included, new electrical wiring and room lighting, a sound system, and the installation of a performance stage with stage lighting.
In addition to developing the CafÃ© facility, the church recruited one of its own members, John Godlewski, to serve as its "Intern Youth Pastor". At the time he was asked to serve John was already enrolled in the Church Leadership Institute's "Youth Track". John graduated from the Youth Track in January 2009 and currently serves as the church's Intern Youth Pastor. John's wife, Krista, who holds a counseling degree from Edinboro University, works with her husband in the CafÃ© outreach and provides informal counseling for the youth while leading one of the small group Bible studies.
The outreach provided to the community by the Side Door CafÃ© has far exceeded all expectation of the church. The Wednesday Night Youth Group has grown from the average attendance of six students in March of 2008 to over twenty-five who now meet both Wednesdays and Fridays from afterschool until 8:00PM. Since many of the youth involved in the CafÃ© come directly from school and stay the entire evening, an afterschool snack and supper are served both evenings. Some of the food is supplied by church volunteers, but most has had to be purchased from restaurants in the local community.
To enhance the CafÃ© outreach, the church sponsored several outings for the youth during the summer of 2008, including a trip to "Creation 2008", a Christian youth festival near Altoona, PA, and two other "Christian Rock" events in our local area. While attending these events, several youth made, or reaffirmed, their commitment to Christ. In addition to these events, the church also gave scholarships to five youth allowing them to attend Camp Judson. During their time at camp, two of the students made first time commitments to Christ, while two others recommitted themselves to His service. All-in-all, six youth from the CafÃ© group made first time commitments to the Lord during 2008, while several others have strengthened their commitment and chose to follow the Lord with a greater intensity.
The Side Door CafÃ© also offers the church a new platform for outreach to the adult population of the local community. On Tuesday mornings a group of 12 -14 pastors and church members meet in the CafÃ© for fellowship and to pray for the needs of the community. This is followed by an interdenom-inational Bible study led by Pastor Brian Borger. A small group also meets in the CafÃ© on Sunday mornings and over 20 believers share in a time of prayer, Bible study, and intergenerational discussions on topics relevant to our daily Christian walk.
Plans are currently underway to expand the use of the Side Door CafÃ© by making it available to outside groups from the community. One group, Family Services of Crawford County, is currently using the CafÃ© for a new program, "Intensive Family Group Counseling", while another, the "READ" Program of Crawford County uses an adjacent area of the church for a community-wide "GED" preparation program. Local Cub Scout Packs have continued their connection with the church and recently used the facility to hold their annual "Blue and Gold Dinner". On Sunday, February 8
Repairs and Renovations $11,592.00
Equipment and Furnishings $ 3,630.00
Youth Director Salary $ 5,848.00
Staff Schooling & Training $ 3,400.00
Food & Refreshments $ 1,492.00
CafÃ© Supplies $ 770.00
Youth Outings & Events $ 793.00
Ads, Mailings & Brochures $ 210.00