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!