Wears Chapel Baptist Church - 1/29/2012

Though the temperature was still below freezing it was a beautiful clear morning when we arrived at Wears Chapel, off Ryland Pike.  I had seen Brother Rolland many times at the MBA Pastors' conference and he is also the main cook when they have their semi-annual fish fry events. 
Shortly before 10:00 we entered the building with another nice couple who directed us to where we needed to go.  Everyone met in the Sanctuary for a short period of assembly before dismissing to their respective classes.  Our class, taught by Jim Payne, met in an open section right at the back of the sanctuary, though not really part of the main area.  Our lesson came out of Deuteronomy and the theme was Generous Giving which most everyone could benefit from.  He did a good job and knew the Scripture and pertinent history well.  We then moved about forty feet to a seat in the sanctuary.   In the pew back in front of us was the church's A/C system.  Not really, but it sure did make for a great picture!
As we waited for the service to start, I was admiring the beautiful stained glass windows in the church. Many friendly people made their way over to greet us during this time as well.  We might have dismissed from Sunday School a bit early because just as we got seated in the sanctuary I heard a bell going off.  It sounded just like one of those old timey bells shaped like the liberty bell and that is just what it was.  Brother Roland informed me that his wife was ringing the bell to signal the end of Sunday School. 
Our message for the morning came out of 1st Corinthians and was connected to the Lord's Supper which we later shared.  When the service was over Brother Rolland and his wife came over and we talked for awhile about many things one being that he was about to celebrate his 20th year there.  He invited us to lunch and as much as I hated to, we had to take a raincheck as the afternoon would be filled with much preparation for Monday's events. Both he and his wife seem to be such great folks and he had a pretty good sense of humor as well.  I hope we get another chance to take them up on the lunch in the future.   

The Fellowship of Faith Church - 1/15/2012

I really did not know what to expect when we pulled up to Fellowship of Faith this morning around 8:00.  Brother Ron Lynch had suggested several weeks ago that we check them out, so I went online to look at their website earlier in the week.  The church has recently moved into their current building off North Parkway, close to Lowe's, and is running two worship services and Bible studies.  We pulled up to what looked like the building entrance and parked. 

I got out and asked a nice lady if this was the closest entrance to where the "Faith Institute"" classes were being held.  She told me that Faith Institute was their equivalent to Sunday School and we were already parked in a close spot. 
I don't remember the last time I was in a church made up of all most exclusively of our black brothers and sisters but it was a treat.  We were greeted by everyone in our path and then escorted to our respective classes.  Denise was in an all ladies class taught by Juarine Stewart.  They were studying out of the book Brave:  Honest Questions Women Ask by Angela Thomas.  Denise said she felt very welcomed and that the class's discussion leader was very personable, thorough and grounded in Scripture.  Denise also said it was one of the best ladies' classes she'd attended.

I was in a men's class taught by Marc Seldon.  Every single person in my class spoke to me individually and shook my hand. I believe there were twelve in the class.  Brother Marc did a great job and was teaching out of a book called "Point Man" which focused on how a man should lead his family.  Several of the men there read Scripture and shared some comments as well. 

When classes were over it was only a short walk to the sanctuary which I thought looked very nice.   The music was good and there was a baby dedication as well.  When the pastor called all the family up for the dedication about twenty-five percent of the whole church came up. 
Pastor Troy did an excellent job preaching on the heart and that not having our hearts right with the Lord is the root of so many problems.  We read much Scripture together and Pastor Troy was definitely filled with passion and energy.  He invited congregational participation and he sure got it!  At some point during the sermon he mentioned the membership being around 1,200. 

We went to the the early service and it was pretty much packed out.  As we were driving away Denise said would look forward to a return visit here some day.

Hayes Chapel Baptist Church - 1/8/2012

We cut it close but we did make it to Hayes Chapel on time this past Sunday.  I had spoken to Pastor Eddie Clardy a few times on the phone concerning some Camp business but had never actually met him before. It was raining when we arrived but folks were very helpful with opening doors and pointing us in the right direction. 

Before Sunday School began there was an assembly time where everyone gathered, prayer concerns were shared and prayed over, and a gentleman did a short devotion.  I remember the days when this was a normal part of church but rarely see it anymore.  It seemed that because of the holiday schedule this was the first time they had met, other than worship, in several weeks.  The children and youth left after the assembly time, but the adults remained where they were for Sunday School.  We were given the lesson for the week, which was from Psalm 18 and entitled, His Way Is Perfect.  The three mainpoints discussed were Our God Delivers, Our God Delights, and Our God Directs.  He was a very sincere man and you could tell the lesson came from his heart. When SS was over the men remained to pray while the ladies made their way to the sanctuary.  After about ten minutes we rejoined them. 

Lots of friendly folks came up and shook our hands most of whom had the last name of Clardy or White.  We sang several traditional hymns, most of which I knew, while Brother Eddie played the bass guitar. The congregation sounded pretty good.  There was no watered down message here as the Pastor preached like those I can remember from my younger days. He was very passionate and to the point, yet he also used a few personal illustrations as well.  We pass by this church all the time in our travels yet had never noticed it sitting back off the road, before.  I look forward to another visit in the future.