By T. Adrienne Terrell, Columnist
Greetings from The Springs! Sunday, November 10, Union Springs Baptist Church celebrated our 138th Church Anniversary. From the beginnings of the first church, which was built in 1875, to now, we have come a long way!
According to church history, USBC had several pastors. They are, in order, Rev. B. Jones, Rev. J. W. Bennett, Rev. Cockrun, Rev. Dorner, Rev. R. Baccus, Rev. T. Brown, Rev. Henry Barnes, Rev. S. A. Williams, Rev. G. W. Hooks, Rev. Mathis, Rev. B. F. Lett, Rev. Michael M. Moore, Rev. D. E. Perry, Rev. Bobby Hughley and Rev. Robert L. Terrell, Jr. That is quite a list. The legacy that was started in 1875 had led us to where we are today, and I believe that the best is still yet to come!
Pastor Robert Terrell preached his first sermon to The Springs during the Black History Month celebration held on Sunday, February 23, 2003. In April of that same year, he was asked by the church to teach Bible Study each Wednesday night. On Saturday, May 16, 2003, Pastor Terrell was called to pastor Union Springs Baptist Church during a business meeting and he accepted the call. All of that led up to one of the greatest days in the history of The Springs.
On Sunday, June 29, 2003 Pastor Terrell was installed at USBC. The church is presently in its third physical building since 1875, and under the direction of Pastor Robert Terrell, there has been a significant period of growth. Several ministries have been established including Senior Adult, Couples, Singles, Youth, and Men and Women’s Prison Ministries to name a few.
Other programs implemented are New Member Classes, Intercessory Prayer, Community Outreach, Praise Dance and Springs Investors Group. These are just a few of the numerous programs and committees put in place by Pastor Terrell. As a result, membership has grown from 58 members on the roll to a roster of 525+ as of October 2013. And we are still GROWING! All of the praise, glory and honor for what is happening at Union Springs Baptist Church belong to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Rev. Terrell’s sermon for the morning was duly fitting for the occasion. He stated that it is quite an accomplishment for a church to stay together for 138 years. The Bible says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that is built upon the rock. (I know that The Springs is on solid rock!) The text for the morning came from Matthew 16: 13-19 and it starts as Jesus asks His disciples what the people were saying about Him. The people really didn’t know who He was because some thought that He was John the Baptist, Elijah or even Jeremiah. Our message from verses 13 -15 brings light to the phrase, ‘It is not what they call you but what you answer to.”
How many times have we stated that it doesn’t matter what people say about us? Yet, how are we going to draw others to Christ if they don’t think that we are in Christ? I know that I just answered a question with a question; however, in this case, it really does matter about the viewpoint of others. If they can’t see Christ in you, how can you draw them? Following this, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was.
Peter answers, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This confession made by him is the basis of what the church is built upon. Because of verse 18, many say that the church is built on Peter. “And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Pastor Terrell further explained to us that the church was built on Peter’s confession that, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus gave the authority to one man -the pastor.
Rev. Terrell said thank God for good deacons and mothers, good choir members and a good ministerial staff, but the authority for the church goes to the pastor only. In verse 19, Jesus gave Peter (or the preacher) the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The keys represent authority and possession.
Therefore, when the enemy comes to bring us premature death, the preacher has the authority to lay hands on you and loosen the bonds. The pastor can bind a thing and loose it and send it back to the depths of h—. Pastor Terrell went on to say that all that you need to have a church is a preacher and two or three people. Jesus said that it is “My church.” He used Peter as His mouthpiece. Skipping over to St. Matthew 18:19, Jesus says, “Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
When two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus will be in the midst. The church even goes beyond what is housed in a building, too. We have this same power to join together in Christ. Whether it is a husband and wife praying together at home, two sisters praying at home, two brothers praying somewhere, two cousins, you get the point. Jesus will show up. It is not the building that makes the church. It is us united together about what Jesus can do in our lives. It is us agreeing with each other concerning what God can do and we praise Him. A group of people agreeing together in Christ…that is The Church! Glory Be To God!