History of Best Grove Missionary Baptist Church
The history of Best Grove Missionary Baptist Church has its beginning in the late 1800’s when a group of dedicated believers in Christ felt the need for a place to worship in the Best Grove community. Several meetings were held in the homes of Misters Dock Best, Hamp Davis, Luke Best and others. As a result of these meetings, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and a firm belief that with God all things are possible, Best Grove Missionary Baptist Church was founded. The date has been calculated to be around 1883.
With a small but active membership, the Reverend Gatley organized the first church. He served as pastor for an unknown amount of time, followed by the Reverend John Dew. Followed by Reverend R. C. Carroll, the church membership began to grow.
The Reverend A. A. Smith followed the Reverend Carroll. His years of service were spent trying to get men and women to understand that if the world is to be conquered for our Lord, it would not be by ministers, officers, the great, the might, but by every member doing his or her work willingly. Our original church was first remodeled and our first successful choir was organized under the leadership of the Reverend Smith. After Reverend Smith, the Reverend N. H. Hargett came and served us for four years.
After Reverend N.H. Hargett, the Reverend F. L. Bullock, who drew upon the power of Christ for everyday living and this carried the congregation through the months of the depression. He stressed work as well as belief. His interest in our church was outstanding. The meager salary paid him did not lessen his interest for the welfare of the membership. The Reverend A. Croom came next and served for a year. He was followed by the Reverend U. G. Moye in 1941, who stayed until 1946. Our membership increased and our church was remodeled again. We continued to move forward under the leadership of Reverend U. S. Brown who came in 1946 and served us until 1948.
In 1949, the Reverend J. S. Freeman was called to pastor the church. He served us for eight years. He was instrumental in organizing the Floral Club, the Pastor’s Aide Club, the Men’s Club and the Junior Usher Board. With his leadership, our pews and pulpit set were purchased in the original church. He proved to us that the joyful life is the life of sacrifice and service, and that the submissive mind really does work. He encouraged us to submit ourselves to the Lord and to one another in the spirit of Christ.
This exemplifies our next pastor the Reverend Dr. William C. Horton, who came to us in August of 1957. He was a young preacher when he was called to serve. He served us well for thirty-three years. Many innovations were recommended and adopted for the benefit of the church.
Some of the many accomplishments under his leadership were: Brick veneering the original church; remodeling of the interior of the church, purchasing of carpet, and organ and piano, restrooms installed, the installation of the heating and air condition systems, the purchase of a public address system, purchasing additional land, the organization of the Young Adult Choir, Choir # 3, Baptist Training Union, the Laymen’s League, the Trustee Board, the addition of service on the second Sunday and a new Education Building. On September 10, 1967, a cornerstone was laid and the Best Grove Masonic Lodge # 392 rededicated the church. Herbert Speight, the assistant Grand Lecturer of the State of North Carolina, presided. Bishop C. L. Barnes delivered the dedicatory sermon.
After several years of prayerful planning, the members of Best Grove Church voted to build a new sanctuary. The church began to take on new life and we were able to accomplish many of our desires. In September of 1987, ground was broken and the new church was built and completed in May of 1988. The new edifice, which includes a balcony, will seat approximately 650 people, with a choir loft to hold approximately 90 people. The new edifice also include a baptismal pool, an upper room, bridal room, choir room, usher’s room and nursery. There is also a magnificent Roger Organ, equipped with chimes and a harp. The first service was held on May 22, 1988. Dedication services were celebrated the week of June 6, 1988.
Rev. Dr. Horton was the Moderator of the Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association from 1987 to 1996. We thank God for his powerful leadership. On October 28, 1990 at 3:00 p.m., a retirement and service of recognition was held in his honor. The church going once again to God in prayer in search of a new leader. For several months our church continued its growth under the leadership of two of our Associate Ministers, who served as Interim Pastors. They were the Reverend Michael Johnson and Reverend Earl Moore, Jr. We thank God for their loyal and profound concern for the church.
The Holy Spirit directed the pulpit committee to Fayetteville, NC. Reverend Ivan T. Davis accepted the call to Best Grove and came to serve on June 2, 1991. Installation services were held for Reverend Davis on August 11, 1991 as the 12th pastor of our flock. “Eyes hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” During the seven years of his pastorate, the church experienced momentous growth. Some of the many accomplishments under his leadership were:
Institution of a tape ministry, purchasing of additional land, purchasing of tape recorders for sick and shut-in members, purchasing a bus and van, purchasing a computer, beginning a radio ministry, construction of additional parking spaces, Burning of Church mortgage, construction of a utility building, installation of wooden rails (leading to the pulpit), setting office hours for the pastor, restoration of the clothes closet ministry, beginning a Sweethearts Fellowship, organizing the Voices of Faith Choir, organizing the Fishers of Men Breakfast, organizing Women of Witness, beginning 8:00 AM worship service on fifth Sundays, the Come as UR Hour of Power, the Outreach Ministry, the Single, Separated, Divorced, Widowed and Couples Ministry.
Reverend Davis was not just our pastor; he was our shepherd, our counselor and a missionary. During his tenure it was evident that he had a God given purpose and would strive to accomplish the purpose as long as he remained with us. He was determined not only to “rightly divide the word,” but also would lead us to the desired goal of being a church that truly served the people. On Sunday, February 14, 1999, Reverend Ivan T. Davis preached his last spiritual sermon at our church. Best Grove was once again planning for the future.
The Reverend Joe A. Jackson was elected as our Interim Pastor on Saturday, September 25, 1999. In June of 2000, he was elected as Pastor and assumed his duties as the 13th Pastor of Best Grove Church on August 1, 2000. His Installation Service was held on Sunday, January 14, 2001, with Reverend Dr. William C. Horton of Morehead City, North Carolina as the Installation Speaker. Pastor Jackson embodies the passage of scripture chosen for his portrait from 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NIV) “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” To accomplish this calling, Pastor Jackson believes in Christian Education and making disciples for Christ through conversion and edification of the congregation. He sets the example on how to meet the challenges facing our congregation today by meeting the needs of the total person through Christ-centered living, maintaining a strong biblical foundation and an ever present focus on ministry.
Under Pastor Jackson’s leadership, the Children’s Church is held each first, second and fourth Sundays. He has instituted a weekly Sunday School Teachers meeting, as well as a New Member Orientation. He begin a Tutoring Ministry for our youth and church involvement in Pastoral Care at Wayne Memorial Hospital. He has instituted an annual Youth Lock-In at the Family Y. Under his leadership eight ministers have preached their initial sermon. They are Reverend Eszrah Lofton, Reverend Darrel Hughes, Reverend Ralph Johnson, Reverend Rhonda W. Coley, Reverend Paul L. Battle, Reverend Hattie J. Sherrod, Reverend Eunice I. Williams, and Minister Sheila Gregory. All the Associates Ministers perform faithfully with the pastor. With their spiritual education and dedication to God, our ministers have been blessed by God to serve in key positions within our local and state affiliates and organizations.
Also under Pastor Jackson’s leadership a church secretary was hired. Pastor Jackson’s involvement is indicative of his obedience to the Lord’s command, loving the Lord with ones total being, including our neighbor. As he follows God, he leads by example. He initiated a computer Ministry and a computer classroom with fifteen computers to provide our congregation and community the chance to learn and stay abreast of technological changes, coordinated accredited computer college courses, in cooperation with Wayne Community College, taught here at Best Grove. Added to our Partners-In-Education was Tommy’s Road Elementary School along with Goldsboro High School. He routinely visits the schools reflecting pastoral involvement while strengthening community ties. Tuesday morning Bible Study was added to offer flexibility and meet the needs of the congregation.
Ministerial Classes were created to increase knowledge and understanding of biblical principals, church administration, homiletics, evangelism, ethics and other information in preparation for kingdom work; introduced 8:00 Sunday morning Prayer and Praise with the Ministers. Pastor Jackson served as President of the NC General Baptist State Convention Minister’s Council, Recording Secretary, Southeastern Region Moderator’s Division of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., 1st and 2nd Vice-Moderator of the Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association and was selected as Moderator for October 2015 – 2019 term and Instructor for the Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Academy. He is also a member of Clergy Living In Faith and Fellowship (C.L.I.F.F.). In June 2005, a new roof was placed on the church. A new steeple was added to the Sanctuary. This project was completed September, 2005.
On Saturday, August 25, 2007, ground breaking was held for the addition of a Fellowship Hall and other renovations to the Church. The new addition and modification to our present facilities was in completed in June 2008 to meet the growing demand of our congregation and community spiritually. The total cost was $1.6 million dollars and the final payment was made on March 14, 2015. The Church has been blessed with favor and influence from God due to the examples of Christlikeness. We purchased 9.5 acres of land with a vision for future growth as our need requires.
Saturday, February 4, 2017, Best Grove held a celebration service for Mother Nancy B. Ward who celebrated her 100th birthday February 2, 2017. Mother Ward is believed to be Best Grove’s oldest member of record. Mother Ward has been a member of the Best Grove Missionary Baptist Church since 1932. Mother Ward was also provided with a reserved parking spot at Best Grove in recognition of her 100th birthday.
We will continue to look forward to tremendous spiritual growth and we pray that Pastor Jackson have many years of successful ministry.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)