Matthew 16:18 “...I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is the apple of God’s eye. God’s love for His Bride is manifested in all believers, throughout all the ages, and from all nations. God’s love is expressed mainly through the local church, where the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, is proclaimed. The proclamation of the gospel and the saving of sinners is where God receives most glory. The church is an assembly of sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus who strive to be as closely aligned to the Scriptures as possible—not perfectly—but striving toward that end. The church’s main responsibility is to proclaim the gospel of God’s glorious grace.
There was a group of people who assembled on August 15, 1849 in Orlinda, Tennessee in order to establish a church. Orlinda is a small, rural tobacco-farming community located in northern Tennessee. These individuals assembled with the sole purpose of worshipping God through His Word, as well as continuing the practice of multiplying Baptist churches. The assembly started out humbly with only fifteen charter members. The property was donated in order to build a 30 x 40 ft. meeting house that featured 12 ft. ceilings and three doors. The building was to be used and benefit the community both as a schoolhouse and as a place of worship. The main purpose of establishing Pleasant Hill was for the people of God to be “salt and light” with the gospel in Orlinda and the surrounding communities.
|Original minutes recorded at PHBC's first meeting|
Elders O.H. Morrow, B. Roberts, and W.I. Morton were the ones who helped constitute PHBC into a church. Elder Morrow served as the church’s first pastor, where he preached the Word of God when the church met for its monthly meetings. Elder Morrow paved the way for faithful gospel preaching throughout Pleasant Hill’s existence. Throughout the 167 years of PHBC’s existence, there have been 45 pastors who served the church. Although PHBC has never been large in number, there have always been people who were faithful to the Word of God and desired to see sinners saved through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.
|Elder O.H. Morrow|
Moreover, the church at PHBC has served as a location where the redeemed of the Lord could come, serve, and worship God, knowing that the Word of God would be proclaimed. We live in a time and day where the simplistic preaching of God’s Word doesn’t seem to be enough for families who are looking for a place to worship. However, this is not to be surprising, as Paul wrote Timothy and said, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but will having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim.4:3). The focus of any local Bible-believing church should be the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This must be the primary concern for the elders and the church, and that is what Pleasant Hill is striving for in 2016 and beyond.
The Lord has graced PHBC by saving people and sending others to join an assembly who desires to be a part of a biblically healthy church. This appetite has been revealed by the people’s hunger for the gospel being preached, a passion for discipling the saints, and evangelizing to sinners with the gospel of Jesus Christ. After 167 years, there have been several valleys and mountain top experiences within the body of Christ; however, God’s grace is not only enough to convert sinners into saints, but God’s grace is enough to sustain the saints through any storm as long as the gospel is being preached. How do I know? God says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor.12:9), but I also know this due to the fact that there has been a group of people called by God’s name who remained faithful to the same message and mission for 167 years.
As I am approaching my seventh year serving the Lord’s church at Pleasant Hill, my love for the Lord and His people have increased immensely. We have seen both good times and valleys, but it is all part of the journey God has called us to in order to make us more like Jesus Christ (Rom.8:29). We have been blessed with the resources to start a media ministry. The Lord has opened doors to spread the gospel in our community, nation, and even around the world. The people who make up Pleasant Hill Baptist have been concerned about one thing and one thing only, and that is the preaching of the gospel, whereby we see God glorified in redeeming lost sinners to Himself for His glory! I am thankful to be a part of a church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power unto salvation for whoever believes. I can say, along with the Apostle Paul, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph.3:21).
In conclusion, I want to thank all of those who have paved and are paving the way for PHBC to be where she is today. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your commitment. Thank you for loving the Bride of Christ. I am reminded that no matter how much I love the people who make up PHBC, God loves them more than I do. That gives me rest and assurance that no matter what, He will continue to build His church for His glory!