Romar Beach Church building up for sale

Romar Beach Baptist Church’s beachfront building is up for sale, though acting pastor Chris Fowler says he hopes it will never come to that.

The church, which lost its original building to Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and dedicated its new building in 2008, is facing financial difficulties that at presstime remained unresolved.

“We’re in the horns of a dilemma,” said Fowler, who has been on staff at the church since 2012.

When the church started rebuilding after the hurricane, the congregation of around 50 local members picked up an “unfathomable” mortgage, Fowler said.

The post-hurricane structure is a five-story worship and conference center anchored to bedrock to withstand a category 5 storm.

Through the years, the church “broke even,” he said, but now they are facing accusations of uncleared debt.

“At this point we’re kind of in limbo,” Fowler said. “We’re trying to find out what the resolution of these things are, and if they come out in our favor, we hope to keep worshipping here.”

Vacationers’ church

The church, which currently has three staff members, sees somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 guests — mostly vacationers — come through its doors for worship services each year.

The church witnesses between 200 and 300 professions of faith from church visitors.

In typical years, they also host between 4,000 and 5,000 in the two floors of their building built as a retreat center space, though the pandemic has cut back that number this year.

“This year we’ve lost 13 groups since Easter,” Fowler said. “That’s the primary income of the church.”

Right now, the church building is zoned for sale as a worship facility and is listed at $6.5 million.

Fowler said he’s not sure what the options are for commercial sale.

“We know that there are restrictions,” he said.

Church members are praying for God’s will to be done for the church, he added, whether that be to stay where they are or continue worshipping somewhere else.

“We love where we are … but we want what He wants for Romar,” Fowler said. “The most important thing is making disciples. We just want to make the right decisions.”