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24 Years Ago...

The vision to plant a church came about when Rev. Francis & Christine Tabla were asking God whether to return to Liberia following Rev. Tabla’s completion of graduate studies at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.  When it became clear that the family would not return immediately to Liberia due to civil war, God impressed upon them the need to reach Liberians in the United States of America with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Surveys were then conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, and Virginia respectively.  As the burden intensified, they began sharing the vision with churches (including First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, where the Tablas were members), and friends, including Pastor and Sister Augustus Marsh who resided in Minnesota, and Pastor and Sister Jerome Sackor, who reside in Philadelphia.





On January 21, 2000, at the invitation of Pastor Marsh, a travel was made to Minnesota for a week’s visit.  Survey and interviews were conducted with church and community leaders, including Mr. Harris Meh, who was then President of the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota. The survey in Minnesota showed the following:

  1. That there were approximately twenty thousand Liberian immigrants residing in Minnesota at the time, all of whom were somehow victimized by the terrible civil war in Liberia, which claimed almost three hundred thousand lives and devastated the land in all respects.

  2. That some of these Liberians continued to live with the trauma of having seen their loved ones brutalized, killed, or sexually molested in their presence.

  3. That most of them lost contact with surviving family members

  4. That most of them had not professed faith in Jesus Christ.

After many prayers, consideration, and consultation, it became clear that of the seven states surveyed, Minnesota was the place the Lord was leading to plant a church that would provide ministries such as:

1.      Evangelism and discipleship

2.      Counseling in all aspects

3.      Ministry to the elderly and adult literacy program

4.      Food and clothes closet (especially for newly arriving immigrants)

5.      Tutorial program to assist those with deficiency in English and math

6.      Mentoring program to help shield our youth from gangs

7.      Cultural diversity orientation to help reduce cultural conflicts.

8.      Family search network to help link family members.

Upon relocating to Minnesota in June of year 2000, churches were visited (including Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul), Liberian gatherings, etc., to share with them the vision to plant a church.  On September 9th, 2000, the first group of four people met at an apartment building in Brooklyn Park for Bible study and prayer.  Following two subsequent meetings (averaging seven), the group decided to be called Liberian Community Church.


A significant progress in the church plant came about when Pilgrim Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Robert L. Stephens (who was excited about reaching the Liberian community), embraced this little group, and allowed them to use their edifice to hold prayer and praise services on Sunday evenings. This began on October 8th, 2000 and averaged eleven in attendance in two months. On October 29th, the church had a pre-lunching service with the hope of gathering more Liberians together to further share the vision.  This service was attended by about a hundred people.  


In December of 2000, the Lord provided a space (with a seating capacity of fifty people) for the infant church at the North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, MN.  The group moved there and began Sunday morning worship service on December 17th, 2000.  In January 2001, the Sunday school ministry began.  By March, the membership grew to 21, and averaged thirty in worship attendance.  The Lord’s Supper began to be administered on March 4th, 2001.



With the increased financial responsibilities upon the infant church to pay for the use of the college’s facilities, Dr. Robert Stephens introduced the church to the Black Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of St. Paul.  They immediately raised financial support of $2,500.00 (Two Thousand Five Hundred dollars) for the work. Substantial financial support came from First Baptist Church (under the leadership of Dr. James Flamming); Lee Hilbert Family Fund & Community Foundation, all of Richmond; Virginia, and Gracie and Ernest Davenport of Columbia Heights, MN. 


The infant church continued to forge ahead. In May of 2001 with some financial help from First Baptist Church of Richmond, the church obtained an additional classroom to provide space for New Members class and children’s church.  The children’s church began on June 3rd, 2001.  The church averaged 42 in worship attendance the same month.  This led the church to begin negotiating with the college for a larger room. In July 2001, negotiations were done, and the church moved into another room with a seating capacity of 80.  By this time, the Praise and Worship Team began.

In the third quarter of 2001, the church met in a called session and decided to revisit its name.  The body discussed and agreed that it was about time to change the name “Liberian Community Church.”  The body came up with the name Ebenezer, which from the Hebrew language means “this far has the Lord helped us” (I Samuel 7:12).  The body felt that this name is more inclusive of others who may not necessarily be Liberians, and constantly reminds them about the good hands of God in their lives. The following nations have been represented in the membership of Ebenezer: Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and United States of America.


Earlier in 2002 when efforts in having an affiliation with the American Baptist Convention failed, the church began efforts to have a partnership with the North American Mission Board.  Rev. Wayne Bandy, Director of Mission of the Twin Cities Metro Baptist Association, Rev. Steve Blanchard & Rev. Billy Burford of First Baptist Church Richmond, VA, Rev. Steve Melvin, Director of Church Planting, Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention and Rev. Stan Weese, Pastor of North Center Baptist Church, Brooklyn Park, MN worked along to ensure that the partnership became a reality. Ebenezercontinues to support Corporative, Associational, and indigenous missions, and in turn receives different forms of support from all these bodies. Ebenezer was also officially received into the membership of the Baptist General Association of Virginia in 2008, which partnership is very vibrant.  


These partnerships significantly enhanced the work and growth of the church.  The church outgrew the seating capacity of eighty, and obtained a permission in September of 2002, to begin using the Audio-Visual Room in the Science Building at the Hennepin Community College that could take 125 people.  Ebenezer also outgrew that space and obtained permission to begin worshipping at the Park Center High School Auditorium (with seating capacity of 600) on June 27th, 2004. 


Four times since her founding, Ebenezer moved from one place to another due to her rapid growth. It is worth noting that with the responsibilities God has placed upon Ebenezer, the church saw it expedient to start saving some money to purchase a property of her own in 2002.  In late 2003, the church identified 4.3 acres of land on sale for $745,000 (seven hundred and forty-five thousand dollars), at the corners of West Broadway, 92nd and 93rd Avenues in Brooklyn Park.  Ebenezer’s offer and purchase agreement were miraculously accepted while working with realtors Bob & Sharon Schmidt, and the church vigorously stepped up her fundraising efforts.  Members’ pledges to the first phase of the project (acquisition) of the land came up to $218,000 (two hundred and eighteen thousand dollars). With God’s favor upon Ebenezer, a generous gift of $50,000.00 (fifty thousand dollars) from First Baptist Church of Richmond, VA and an arranged second mortgage by First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA, gifts from the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention, friends, well-wishers and the faith, determination, and sacrificial giving of members of Ebenezer, the closing was done on the land on November 1st, 2004, at the Riverview Community Bank in Elk River.  Ebenezer formally dedicated the land to God on Sunday, September 11th, 2005.  Significant gifts also followed from the First Baptist Church of Burleson, TX, Baptist General Convention of Texas, Virginia Baptist Mission Board, and friends and well-wishers, including Laura Hedrick of Richmond, VA, Bob, and Sharon Schmidt, of Champlin, MN, and Kathryn Tanner of Braselton, Georgia. 


In June of 2006, we did the first groundbreaking to build, but we were met with unforeseen circumstances that hindered us. We retreated, regrouped, and worked towards paying off the mortgage on the land. In September of 2013, we burnt the mortgage note for the land that was paid off! On June 7th, 2015, we did the second groundbreaking for the construction of the first phase of our building project. On May 22, 2016, we dedicated and moved into the first phase, which was 14,000 square feet, and cost over 3 million dollars to construct.

We were very excited and extremely grateful to God because the building gave us some stability and helped us effectively carry out some of our mission. We moved into the first phase with the plans to break ground and get the second phase construction on the go in 2019, to dedicate the second phase in September of 2020. After the groundbreaking in 2019, we again ran into some problems with obtaining the construction loan. The problems became compounded with the onslaught of the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Notwithstanding at the peak of the virus, God miraculously provided the loan on May 22, 2020, from Bremer Bank, and construction got on the go with Terra Construction on August 10, 2020. On September 5, 2021, we are gathered to celebrate the faithfulness of God for making His-story possible in our community at home and abroad, with the dedication of the 34,000 square feet building, with total cost on the north side of Ten Million United States dollars.  


As you read through the history of Ebenezer, it is indubitable that God has helped Ebenezer this far.  At the age of 23, Ebenezer has several ministries, including children, deacon, marriage enrichment, men, music, praise dance, prayer line, prayer warriors, senior adults, Sunday school, trustees, usher, women, young adults, and youth. The membership of Ebenezer has now exceeded 800, excluding a children’s church with about one hundred children. Ebenezer is grateful to God for calling her to partner with him; for the bodies and individuals He has raised up to partner with Ebenezer, and for bringing Ebenezer through 23 years of faithful ministry.  When the church thinks of the favor of the Lord and all He has done for, with, and through all our partners, friends, well-wishers, and members, the big testimony has always been Ebenezer! This far has the Lord helped us! Ebenezer embraces the future with great faith, trusting that the Lord will give her the privilege to lead more people to the kingdom of God!


Ebenezer Community Church of Bloomington, MN, Rev. Daniel & Mother Cynthia Goba, Pastor

Ebenezer Community Church, St. Paul, MN, Rev. Richard Johnson, Church Planter

Ebenezer Community Church of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Rev. Darlington & Mother Isatu Morrison, Pastor

Ebenezer Community Church of Duazon, Margibi County, Liberia, Rev. Chris & Mother Joy Roberts, Pastor

Ebenezer Community Church of Graceland, Margibi County, Liberia, Rev. Henry & Mother Abigail Tabla, Pator

       Ebenezer Community Church plant in 

       Kakata, Margibi County, Liberia (Rev. 

       Henry Tabla & Rev. Chris Roberts)



Ebenezer has shared partnerships with the following bodies over the years:



Anointed For Christ Ministries, Elyria, OH

Baptist General Association of Virginia

Bethlehem Worship Center

First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia

First Baptist Church, Burleson, Texas

Hope in Christ Assembly, Madison, WI

Liberian Ministers Association, Minnesota

Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention

New Grace Church International, Arlington, TX

North Center Baptist Church, Brooklyn Park, MN

Over Brook Assemblies of God Church, Philadelphia, PA


Partnership continues:



Gates Agape Ministries

Grace Baptist Church, Barnersville, Liberia

Grace Gospel Ministries, Paynesville, Liberia

Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary

Liberty Christian Center, Johnsonville, Liberia

Zion A.G. Church, Coffee Farm, Caldwell, Liberia        

9200 West Broadway Avenue Brooklyn Park Minnesota, 55445

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