By Jean Clark
“All things old will be new again.” The biblical promise is certainly being fulfilled in the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission, which is a new church plant by the Lantana Road Baptist Church (LRBC) of Crossville. Adam Strayer, church start minister, and several members of LRBC had been in prayer and discussion since January, seeking a calling opportunity for a new church plant in Cumberland County. Some of the remaining members of the First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill contacted LRBC about that time seeking help in keeping their church alive.
Pleasant Hill First Baptist Church was founded by four Pleasant Hill couples in 1955. They were L.B. and Josephine Martin, Charles and Nell Hembree, Eston and Emily Wilbanks and Virgil and Lou Baisley. The first minister was Boyd Sutton, who became a missionary in Brazil after his pastorate.
Following Sutton, Tom Upshaw and Ken Clayton, seminary students at Carson-Newman College served the church on weekends. The First Baptist Church had an active ministry in the Pleasant Hill area, but in recent years suffered a decline in membership. Remodeling began in May to create a new Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission as a ministry of Lantana Baptist.
During this process, the remaining members of Pleasant Hill First Baptist have been attending Lantana Baptist Church. A Core Plant Team from LRBC of 14 people, 11 adults and three children under the leadership of Adam and Michelle Strayer are committed to worship at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission.
The church at the corner of Main St. and Browntown Rd. has received a complete makeover. A baptistery has been installed, ceilings and walls have been refurbished and new window trim, lighting, flooring, doors and entryway have been accomplished. Much of the work was done by members of LRBC. An accessible bathroom has been added to the first floor and the lower community level redone as well. Go to www.phillbaptist.com to see a slide show of the work in process or visit the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission Facebook page.
A Kickoff Celebration Block Party will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, from noon to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the church. Visitors are welcome to tour the church at that time. The first service will be Sunday, Nov. 24, at 10:30 a.m.
Strayer, the church start minister, has been preaching and ministering for more than six years at Lantana Road Baptist Church under the direction of Bro. Scott Johnson. He has been a resident of Cumberland County since 1991, attended Cumberland County High School and married Michelle in 2001. They have two daughters. He can be contacted for more information at 788-2844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other team members are Frank and Linda Lewis, evangelism directors; Tom and Jane Bearden, technical and music; Mark and Jane Roberts; David and Jane Smith; and Elaine Moore. The plant team is “prayed up and itching” to get out into the Pleasant Hill area to grow a new church family.