To God be the Glory
A Short History of Bald Mountain Baptist Church
The church was organized in the old Lawrence schoolhouse on March 5, 1910. The old schoolhouse was located near the current church building. A large congregation, interested in forming a new church, met for worship in the schoolhouse. Rev. Roby Burkett led the congregation in prayer; and Rev. P.H. Haire read from the second chapter of Ephesians and preached the sermon, taking as his text Matthew 16:18,And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
A business meeting following the sermon resulted in the organization of Bald Mountain Missionary Baptist Church with twenty-four charter members joining that day. Brother Haire called for letters of all present who wished to go into an organization of said place, order and faith.
During the initial business meeting, the charter members elected J.W. Duncan as the church’s first Clerk. Brethren C.E. Trivette and C.E. Houck were set apart as deacons. The congregation voted to ordain the deacons at the April meeting.
At the time of organization the Pastors were Rev. T.M. Hays and Rev. Roby Burkett. Rev. T.M. Hays served as the first Pastor beginning his service in 1910 after the organization. He was followed by the other organizing pastor Rev. Roby Burkett, who served for one year in 1913. Since that time Bald Mountain Baptist Church has been blessed with several men of God.
The first baptism was held on the first Sunday in May 1910. The minutes record that they “met at the water.” Tradition has it that there used to be a creek nearby and men of the church would use an old door to dam up the creek so it would be deep enough to immerse people in baptism. The creek has now been routed under the parking lot.
The first church was built near the Lawrence schoolhouse. F.P. Trivette and Wm. E. Carlton were appointed to the Building Committee. The cost of the building site was $15, which was donated by the members and was paid to Henry Alexander Lawrence. The total cost of the church was $730.
The church was dedicated on August 31, 1912. Preachers who participated were Rev. W.R. Bradshaw, who preached the Sabbath Sermon, and Rev. C.M. Cope, who preached the Dedication Sermon.
Even before the first church building was constructed, the church body faced several challenges from wayward members. In 1911, several people were excluded from the church for various activities that were unacceptable. Three men were excluded for card playing, one for profanity, one for bastardry, one for disorderly conduct, and two for “goin’ Methodist.” In 1919, a committee was appointed to see certain delinquent members who had gone astray and prevail with them to come back to the church.
Revivals during this time typically lasted for two weeks and held services twice daily at 11:00 am and again at 7:00 pm. The children who attended the Lawrence School right next to the church left their school work and attended the revival services.
In 1946, an attempt was made to put a basement under the church. The church fell, and the plan was abandoned. Several members were under it when it fell, among which were Coy Howell, Paul Lawrence and Dean Lawrence. They were digging out the dirt when the supports for the basement gave way, and the building came crashing down. The men were each lying in a place where the 2 x 12 joist beams of the flooring came down next to them man, missing each by a few inches. When they were freed from the wreckage and all were discovered to be unharmed, the crowd of people, who had gathered to assist with the rescue, cheered and praised God for the miracle. During the collapse, the church bell tower fell off the building, and the church bell went rolling down the road. It, too, was undamaged by the collapse, and it is still being used today.
Shortly after the collapse, on May 4, 1946, the church voted to construct a new building instead of attempting to repair the old one. A new church building constructed of wood and cinderblocks replaced the original structure in 1948. It has been remodeled, bricked, expanded and improved over the years. This structure is currently being used for Sunday School classrooms and Children’s Church.
The church continued to grow and in 1989 the church body wanted to make sure that the church structure would continue to foster the spiritual development of its members as well as provide space for new church attendees to worship and learn. The church decided to construct a new building to provide more Sunday School rooms, additional choir space, a fellowship hall, and a bapistry. The first service in the new building was held on May 20, 1990. Rev. Jack Pugh was serving as Pastor at this time in the church’s history and he led the congregation in worship on that special Sunday. The official dedication service was held on August 19, 1990.
Continued church growth necessitated a decision in 1998 to build a new church sanctuary to seat approximately five hundred people. The construction included a new fellowship hall, choir room, nursery, classrooms, administrative offices, and library. The first service in the new sanctuary was held December 24, 2000, on Christmas Eve Sunday. Our current Pastor Rev. Lawrence Goodman presided over the service. A dedication service was held the next spring on May 6, 2001.
New ministries developed during the course of the church’s history have allowed church members to serve the community both near and far in furthering God’s Kingdom. In 1911, the first collection for Home Missions was taken. In 1950, a donation was made to the addition being constructed on Baptist Hospital in the amount of $54. The visitation program was established in 1968. In 1979 the Women’s Missionary Union was organized. The Youth Council was formed in 1984. The library became a resource for church members in 1987. In 1989 a clown ministry was initiated. Children’s Church was begun in 1990. In 1995 the church provided and served the first Feast in the Fields. The Cowboy Church Ministry was started in 2008. Through the years, groups of members have traveled throughout the nation and the world on missionary trips serving the least among us and lighting the world with God’s love.
Bald Mountain Baptist Church continues to serve its members with preaching, teaching, discipleship, and fellowship. The membership has steadily expanded from the initial 24 members. There were 51 members in 1915, 169 members in 1969, 582 members in 2000, and there are 857 members today. The church still seeks to grow in this community by seeking out the lost and telling them the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To God be the Glory.