"Without a vision, the people parish" is a call to men who dare to dream and see Godly visions of the future. Rev. B. D. Drake was such a man. His ministry set in motion a church that would stand the test of time and weather many storms. The strength of a church isn't necessarily measured by sheer numbers, but should be judged by its staying power. He brought stability to this city, and developed a rock that people could anchor their lives to. His decision to reach this city was not in vain. To God be the glory for what has come from the heart of this visionary. He planted a church and God gave the increase.
We now celebrate fifty years in the city of Bradenton. Rev. B. D. Drake moved his heart, his home and his family to the city of Bradenton to begin a work for the Lord in 1960. Just one month after beginning this work it became obvious that God's will was being accomplished. "We are enjoying God's presence in each service." said, Sis. Connie Drake, a reporter for The Apostolic Digest, "We feel that God is certainly in this new work."What an awesome testimony of God's faithfulness. The Lord said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
At the age of 20 Rev. Drake attended his first church service in Hamilton, Ohio. He was soon filled with the Holy Ghost and Baptized in Jesus' name. Approximately 10 years later he felt his call into ministry. Then in 1951, while on vacation in the state of Florida, he felt his call to this beautiful mission field. Who knew that simply visiting relatives would alter the destiny of this family? While passing through the city of Bradenton, he felt the call to plant a church. The cry of this un-churched city would reach the heart of this young man called into ministry. Although he didn't move instantly, God had instilled the vision in the heart of this soon to be church planter to leave his home in Ohio and do a work for Him in Florida. Leaving a young growing church wasn't easy, but God drew the Drakes from Ohio to be home missionaries in the Florida District. Relocating first to Tampa, Florida, where they assisted, Rev. Brimmage for approximately three years. During this time the Lord also helped to get this pioneering family established in the Florida District. Of course there final destination would be Bradenton.
Upon receiving permission from the Florida District Board to establish a church in Bradenton, Florida, for the name of Jesus, Rev. Drake moved his family to Bradenton to establish this work. A two story home was purchased and used for a church and a home. The Drakes lived upstairs and the church services were held downstairs. What a sacrifice to be made for this arrangement to be successful, however, because of his willingness to sacrifice there was immediate success. In just three short years they were able to secure property and begin construction on three acres. Soon after the project was completed in September, 1963, they relocated to the new building. There was no doubt about God's approval on this relatively new work. Sis. Drake said, "Not once did we feel out of the will of God, nor did we every think about leaving the beautiful city God placed us in." God sent them to establish a church, and establish a church they did. Now what you see today in the city of Bradenton is the result of a great foundation. Again, the faithfulness of God coupled with the faithfulness of a servant produces the miraculous. God has certainly done his part to match the sacrifice of the Drakes.
Under the leadership of Rev. Drake, many were baptized in the precious name of Jesus, and many were filled with the Holy Ghost. His vision has opened the door for many souls to come into the kingdom. Several churches were established in neighboring cities by men who sat under Rev. Drake's leadership. Eternity alone can testify of the impact made by Rev. B.D. Drake in the state of Florida, and around the world.
Rev. Drake left a legacy and a beautiful heritage for those who followed. The first convert in this city was Rev. Ben H. Eason. Rev. Drake had such confidence in this young man, he entrusted Rev. Eason with his daughter, Connie, in marriage and the people he led and loved, as he assisted him for 32 years. Rev. Ben and Connie Eason went on to pastor the assembly for almost 10 years. Titus, chapter 1, says that the Bishop should be a lover of hospitality and of good men. Those words can be ascribed to Bishop Eason and his servant's heart most assuredly.
1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Hard work and faithfulness to this city were qualities that both Reverend Drake, and His Son-in-law, Reverend Ben H. Eason possessed. Many sacrifices were made throughout the years to remain faithful to the church and God's calling. These two men will forever be interwoven in the lives of the people who came to the knowledge of the mighty God in Christ in the city of Bradenton through their ministry.
The mark of true leadership is the ability to communicate vision. That those you lead will grasp the vision, visualize it, become a part of it, and contribute to it becoming a reality. Rev. Drake was that leader in Rev. Dale G. Eason's life. The mantle has passed from his grandfather and now Rev. Dale G. Eason, 42 years later, passionately communicates the vision that God has given him for the city of Bradenton. God's endorsement on this young man has been evident since his installation 10 years ago. The first service following, 8 souls were filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and revival breaking out with over 65 souls added to the church in the first six months alone. It was Pastor Dale's unquenchable enthusiasm and confidence in God's sovereignty that led the Pentecostals of Bradenton into a Life Covenant Sanctuary.
The legacy continues and three generations stand and boldly proclaim the faithfulness of God to each generation. Look what the Lord has done in this beautiful city. Luke 18:27 ...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
...To Be Continued