The Swords Creek Community Baptist Church, as it is known today, is a unique church which God has blessed greatly and continues to do so today. This truth is apparent when you trace the different directions it has taken in its more than 100 years of existence.
The first church was founded in 1880. The people worshiped in a one-room log schoolhouse, and at that time it was known as a Community Church. The first church building was erected a short time later on land donated by Alta Mansfield and Vicky Smith Martin. The church did not have a regular pastor, but was placed on the Honaker Charge of the Methodist Church and preachers came by appointment. The church building was badly damaged by a storm in 1950 and was later torn down. The church body worshiped at the Swords Creek Elementary School during that time, and in 1956 a new brick church was built. The new building had three Sunday School rooms, a sanctuary, and was heated by a pot-bellied stove. Reverend F.M. Barton came as pastor and remained until 1966. In 1967, the Honaker charge closed the circuit to the Swords Creek Church, but the congregation wanted to remain a local church; so they affiliated with the Pilgrim Holiness Church. The church building was purchased from the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church for $6,700.00. Some time later the Pilgrim Holiness merged with the Wesleyan Methodist. The denomination resulting was known as the Wesleyan Church, and the Swords Creek Church changed its name to the Swords Creek Wesleyan Church.
In March 1967, Reverend E.C. Price came as pastor. The church grew to 70 members and offerings were $200.00 weekly. Reverend Price stayed until 1972.
In 1973 Reverend Robert Emmons came as pastor. Reverend Emmons stayed until 1974, when the ill health of his father forced him to return to Florida. The church grew both spiritually and economically during his stay.
Reverend Calvin Bradley, who had been a missionary in Africa for 20 years, came to pastor the church in 1974. He stayed until 1976.
In 1976 Reverend Bob Emmons returned as pastor. Because the church had increased to 200 members, a building program started in 1978. “Bro. Bob” , who was a wonderful pastor as well as an excellent carpenter, led the men in a building program during which the sanctuary was remodeled, a foyer added, and additional Sunday School rooms were built. Much of that remodeling is part of the existing church today.
During Reverend Emmons pastorate, the church body withdrew from the Wesleyan Church and once more, almost 100 years later, became a Community Church. In 1979 Reverend Bob Emmons felt compelled by God to become a Southern Baptist Minister, and was ordained in 1979. In early 1980 he laid the groundwork for a church constitution and began his dream and God’s plans for a building program. He did not live to fulfill his dream because he suffered a heart attack May 1980 and went to be with the Lord in July 1980.
Reverend Michael McFarlen became pastor August 1980, and he, along with the people, continued with the building program and the church constitution was completed. The church building was dedicated August 1981 with 360 people in attendance. The building consisted of 12 new Sunday School rooms, a sanctuary with a seating capacity of 450, a baptismal, several church offices and a large fellowship hall. The building has a total square footage of 10,000 square feet. During Reverend McFarlen’s pastorate, the church added several salaried people and also 216 additional people were baptized. Pastor Mike left the church in 1985. Reverend Stafford Compton was called to the church as Interim Pastor. He is fondly remembered as a man who is dedicated to God’s service and was always available whenever there was a need. He served until Reverend Mike Simmons came as pastor in March 1986. Under Brother Mike’s pastorate the membership increased. He led the people to pay off the church debt of $132,000.00 in a 3-year period of time. During Bro. Mike’s pastoral ministry, Reverend Lawrence Harrison blessed our church with his preaching, help and wisdom.
Reverend James Bryson came as Associate Pastor and Youth Director in October 1988. Under his leadership, the youth group grew in number, and many came to know Christ as their Savior. Brother Jimmy assumed the job as Interim Pastor when Mike Simmons left the church in September 1991. Bro. Jimmy left in June 1992 to enter a full-time pastoral ministry in Georgia.
The church purchased the Mabel Messick property in November of 1991 and paid it off one month later. Mabel, who was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, members of the church, was known as “The Historian of Swords Creek.” She loved the church deeply, and would be pleased to know the church owned the property.
In January 1992, Reverend Ben McCann came as Pastor. Bill Kagey came as Associate Pastor and Youth Director in February 1993. Both Bro. Ben and Bro. Bill left the church in March 1994.
On February 12, 1995, the church called Reverend Leslie R. Ritchie to be the pastor. Bro. Les was a very compassionate pastor, loved our people and loved the Lord. During his pastorate, we purchased a new outdoor sign, landscaped around the church, and purchased new tile and carpet for the church. On August 20, 1995, Brother R.J. Rose was called as the Youth Minister. Bro. R.J. left the church in June 2002 and Bro. Les left to open a church in February 2004. Once again Bro. Stafford Compton came in April 2004 as our Interim Pastor as we searched for a new pastor
In February 2005, the congregation welcomed Chris Musick as pastor, followed by Youth Pastor Jacob Musick in that same year. In March 2006, Aaron Feeser was welcomed as Associate Pastor and Minister of Visitation and Outreach. In 2006 the church purchased 58 acres of adjoining land from Mrs. Charlotte Hughes. With a growing congregation, we began to look at plans for a building program. On April 11, 2006, Pastor Chris and Danny Price met with John Templeton of Foxhollow Goodson to discuss the possibility of his firm doing a Master Plan for our church. On May 17, 2006, after a presentation by John Templeton, the church approved Foxhollow Goodson for preparing a master plan. On July 9, 2006, John Templeton met with committees and various groups in the church to collect data, make observations, and listen to comments for use in the preparation of the master plan. A three-phase master plan was submitted to the church January 24, 2007. After much prayer, the church voted to accept the Master Plan and to proceed with Phase I, the Christian Life Center.
A First Fruits Offering was taken March 2007, and a total of $74,955.00 was received. On Wed., May 30, 2007, the pastor and representatives met with Chris Dale of C.L. Dale Construction. An agreement was reached and excavation began June 5, 2007. The groundbreaking for the new Christian Life Center was held June 17, 2007. At this writing the excavation is completed and permits are being worked out in hopes that building can begin soon with the construction being done by D/M Construction (our own Wayne Davis and Earl Miller.)
During the excavation for the new Christian Life Center, God revealed to us another great ministry that has come to be called our Mountain Ministry. On top of the mountain overlooking the church was a beautiful, flat piece of land. Through the hard work and vision of some of our members, this area has been turned into a picnic area, a camping area, a place for volleyball and other outdoor activities, a walking trail, a hiking trail…and most of all, a place for some great outdoor worship services.
In 2005, we began having hymns on Powerpoint, a sermon notes page in the church bulletin, and the sermon points on Powerpoint. On February 26, 2006, we had the dedication for our new website, www.sccbaptistchurch.org.
In March 2006, church members Glen Honaker and James Staten began a church sponsored prison ministry at Appalachian Detention Center. During the first year 71 came to know Christ as their Savior and 52 were baptized! In 2007, the ministry expanded to Lebanon Community Corrections, Lebanon, VA. This ministry is still going strong today, and many souls are being saved. Praise God!
In April 2006, our church began a water ministry with the first event being the March of Dimes Walkathon in Lebanon. Bottles of water with the church logo and scripture from John 4:14 on them are given out at various events as a method of reaching the lost and proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ as the Living Water. Today the water ministry is still one of our great evangelistic programs.
In Nov. 2006, we purchased much needed new chairs for our Sunday School rooms and the choir.
During the 2005-2006 year Swords Creek Community Baptist led the Lebanon Baptist Association in the number of baptisms.
With a wonderful growth in the youth of our church, in Jan. 2007 we began a Junior Youth Program with Pete Melchor as Junior Youth Leader.
In 2007, our church purchased a new church bus with a seating of 24. We now have a growing bus/van ministry to reach the community. The bus is also used for youth trips, seenager trips, and many other fellowship outings.
One of our greatest evangelistic outreach programs each year is our Vacation Bible School. With everyone participating, and with classes for all ages, it gets better and better each year. This year, 2008, we saw seventeen young people accept Christ as their Savior.
The year 2008 also saw a much-needed new metal roof put on the church.
In May, 2015 we updated and dedicated the new church website.
With a present membership of 569, the church continues to grow, both numerically and spiritually. The harvest is out there, and may we, as Pastor Chris says, “See and seize every opportunity to reach the lost.” May we also disciple our own sheep. Many changes have occurred in the church through the years, but one thing that has always remained steadfast is the love of its people for God and their passion for serving Him. It’s all about praising God and giving Him the glory. God is good…all the time!
May we continue to G-Glorify the Lord
R-Reach the Lost
O-Overcome the World
W-Worship in Spirit and Truth