Why I love small country churches // My spiritual heritage

design copyOn our dining room table sits my 3rd Great-Grandfather’s Remington typewriter. Our family tells stories of how on Saturday nights he would go into the back room and type away for his Sunday message.  Every time I walk by it I’m reminded of my family’s genealogy and its impact on where I am today.

It starts in a beautiful small Baptist church.

It’s honor to be able to work at LifeChurch.tv where a true move of God is taking place, but regardless of where I serve, I stand where I am today because of my family, their love for God, and their willingness to follow God into the unknown.

–In 1686, Reverend Pierre Roberts (my 10th Great-Grandfather) came to America from Switzerland where he was an ordained minister. He was one of the first, if not the first, Huguenot Pastor in America, but definitely the first in South Carolina. He was the founder and the first Rector of the French congregation at French Santee in St. James Parish.

–Eventually my family came to Florida as some of the first white settlers in Columbia County in North Central Florida. My 5th Great-Grandfather was the second white child born in the county. We have records of our family and their struggles to survive, but through it all God had a plan.

–One day a gentlemen by the name of Kinsey Chambers came to what was known as the Alligator Community (Columba County.) He was one of the first Southern Baptist minsters to share the message of Christ to my families’ community. I wouldn’t doubt he ran into my family at least at some point or another, if he didn’t, his love for planting churches did.

Chambers served as president of the Florida Baptist Convention in 1867. He baptized over 500 people in Florida, and helped start numbers of churches including a church by the name of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lake City located just down the road from my childhood home in Columbia County.

C.R. Roberts, my 3rd great-grandfather was born December 7th 1893 and was licensed to preach by First Baptist Church in Mulberry on December 3, 1924, and ordained by the Bethlehem Baptist Church on January 28th, 1927, the church Kinsey Chambers planted.

My Grandfather wen369fd283-c3e4-46ba-a70b-29de08a008a1t on to pastor Bethlehem Baptist Church along with many other churches in the area and, from what I understand, even help plant Pine Grove Baptist Church in Lake City where he pastored the church for 17 years.

My Grandmother and Great-Grandmother called Bethlehem Baptist Church their church home and I had the great honor of attending many times as a kid. Their Pastor, Lowell O’Steen, still pastors the church where he loved my grandmothers dearly and pastored them greatly.

As I walked those halls as a kid and visited the cemetery where many of my relatives are laid to rest, I never knew so much of my family’s history was tied to this little country church in the heart of North Central Florida. Nether did I know it would have such an impact on my future as well.

My 3rd Great-Grandfather was setting a legacy that would carry over to his daughter’s great grandchildren.

It’s because of him and an entire group of men, many of them pastors and members of small country churches, I stand where I am today. It’s because of their willingness to go out into the unknown and trust God.

I strive to do the same.

This is why I love small country churches… they are the backbone of my spiritual heritage and their place in American church history can never be overlooked.

Next time you drive by a small country church, maybe with only a few cars in the parking lot, take time and pray for them. There is a pastor there faithfully loving his flock and I promise you God is up to something big.

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