The Church History

"Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it, except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalm 127: 1) To God Be The Glory, Now and Forever! In the first paragraph of the Covenant of the Baptist Church, we find the following words: 
"Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ."
 On October 25, 1968, our founder, Reverend Fred B. Black, and a small group of followers met in the home of Deacon Romeo and Sister Annie Henry, for the purpose of organizing a church body, which would be willing servants of God, and united in its purpose to fulfill God' s mission for the church. 

Several names were suggested, but by unanimous vote, we became Black's Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, in honor of our founder and as an affirmation of our shared belief in his ability to lead God's people. During its 28 year history, God has richly blessed this church. 

Jeremiah 3:15 states, "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." First, God gave us Reverend Black, to whom had been given the vision, faith, courage, knowledge and patience necessary to establish a church which would positively impact a residential community , with only a remnant of God's people. 

Black's Chapel began as a single family dwelling and with God's guidance, carpenters turned it into a place of worship, complete with a steeple. The first worship service was held at 1801 Central Street on May 18, 1969, after several months of sharing the building now known as Evergreen Baptist Church, located on Rose Street. 

Those who were members there loved God, Pastor and Mrs. Black and each other. Those who visited there talked about the warmth and spirit that they experience there. It was not long thereafter that Black's Chapel became known as the little church with the big heart. 

During Pastor Black's brief tenure as Pastor, the church grew spiritually, numerically and materially. It was within this period that Reverend John W. Ross became a member of the Black's Chapel Church family. He was a gentle man, humble, soft-spoken and filled with love for God and for his fellowman. 

Since he had previously worked in the ministry with Pastor Black for many years, it was not long before he became Black's Chapel's Assistant Pastor.

 After the death of Pastor Black in 1972, Rev. Ross was elected Pastor and the church continued to receive God's blessings. During his ministry, additional members were added and the church underwent it's first expansion of the building.

During his 17 years as pastor, Rev. Ross constantly preached and taught by example, love for God and for each other. As a result of this teaching, our church motto, which is, "Love Ye One Another" was adopted from the words spoken by Jesus in John 15:12, which reads, "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you."

Also during his ministry, God brought forth laborers from this church, in the form of pastors, who got their start preaching here, evangelists, teachers, missionaries, and musicians.

In the late 1980's, Pastor Ross became ill and although he returned to his ministry several times, when it was made known to us that he would no longer be able to resume his duties as pastor, Black's Chapel began to fervently pray that God would send to us a pastor and leader of His choosing.

In December 1990, having done what God had assigned him to do, Pastor Ross was called from labor to reward.

As I'm sure you have noticed, I have not referred to either of our previous pastors as 'the late Reverend'. It is my belief that although they are no longer with us physically, their spirits and the rich legacy that they each left with us will forever keep them alive in out hearts and our minds.

It is fitting however, as we recall our history, that we take the time to remember those who started out with us or joined us along the way and have now been called home.

We remember them for their noble lives, lovable dispositions, spiritual fellowship, encouragement and for their faith in God and service rendered.

We thank God that after several months of prayer and visiting ministers, on June 25, 1990, we were led to elect Reverend John 0. McNeal as our pastor.

With him he has brought the ability to preach God's word, enthusiasm, vision, leader- ship and the same love for God that was evidenced by those preceding him. 

Yes, Black's Chapel has truly been blessed. Under the leadership of three men of God, we have witnessed the illustration given by Paul in I Corinthians 3:6-9. 

Pastor Black planted, Pastor Ross and Pastor McNeal watered, and surely, God has given the increase. 

Within the short span of time between Pastor McNeal's first Sunday as pastor (July 1,1990) and September 1, 1991, God led us through a most ambitious undertaking, which was the total renovation of our former location at 1801 Central Street. Although we were not able to use that facility during that period, the number of members continued to increase to such an extent that when we returned to what was a larger facility , the number of members had already begun to exceed the additional seating capacity, and, God continued to bless. 

On February 4, 1996, a new chapter began in the history of Black's Chapel Missionary Baptist Church; and with that new beginning will come many challenges. 

1. We are challenged to remember the commission given to every disciple in Matthew 28:18-20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and 10, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 
2. We are challenged to labour to be perfect. Matthew 5:48 instructs us, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' 
3. We are challenged in Galatians 6:9-10 to 'Be not weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. , 
4. We are challenged also to be humble. In James 4:6b, we are told, 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' And he also states in verse 10, 'Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.' We are also told in Proverbs 16:18, 'Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.'
5. We are challenged and instructed by our Lord in Revelations 2: lOb, to, 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.'
6. We are challenged in Ephesians 2:8-9 to remember, 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,' 1 
7. We are challenged in Romans 12:9-10 to, 'Lot (our) love be without dissimulation (completely sincere). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.' 
8. We are challenged in Colossians 3:2 to, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
As we undertake the challenges set before us, let us not only remember the history of this church specifically, let us remember the history of the church in general. It is when we fail to look back at its strengths as well as its weaknesses, that history is destined to repeat itself. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." 

With this in mind, let us not become complacent (self-satisfied) and lukewarm as did the church at ~laodicea recorded in Revelations 3:14-22.

"They said, we are rich; God said, they were poor. They said, we are wealthy; God said, they were wretched, They said, we do not need anything; God said, they needed everything. They said, we are busy in the church; God said, they were miserable. They said, we have a vision; God said, they were blind. They said, we are clothed in fine garments; God said, they were naked. They said, they were satisfied; God said, they made Him sick.
On the Day of Pentecost, the church became empowered by the Holy Spirit to evangelize the world. As evidenced by all that is going on around us, the church's role is vital and necessary. We must not become just a busy church, rather, let us become an effective church! The power of the Holy Spirit can and will bring about conviction of sin, repentance toward God, and faith in our I-Lord Jesus Christ. 

The real power of the church is not found in: 

1. Modem or elaborate buildings or unique methods of preaching and teaching. 
2. Its wealth or how that wealth is used. 
3. The church's prominence or popularity, nor the prominence or popularity of its members.
The true power of the Holy Spirit-led church is evident by how effectively it "wins souls for Christ." Although some are empowered for special service, every born again believer in Jesus Christ has the power to witness for Christ. When a church is not involved in winning souls, it grieves the Holy Spirit and lacks power and begins to lose its spiritual effectiveness and joy because it is not carrying Out the "great commission" that Jesus gave to every disciple. 

God speaks to his people through His word. But for those who have not embraced the truths found in the Holy Bible, perhaps God has spoken or is speaking to you in songs that have a biblical root, such as: 

1. Lead Me, Guide Me -Proverbs 3:5: 'In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. , 
2. Trust and Obey -Proverbs 3:4 and I Peter 4:17, respectively: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. ' 'For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begins at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?' 
3. We've Come This Far By Faith -Hebrews 11:1,6: 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. , 'But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. , 
4. God Never Fails -Deuteronomy 31 :6: 'Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; he will not fall thee, nor forsake thee.
Individually and collectively, remember the exhortation of Paul to the church at Corinth found in I Corinthians 1: 10, which says, 'Now I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all seek the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.'

 Sin is the enemy of the church! To war against anything else, is simply a divisive and diversionary trick of the devil to hinder the church from becoming the mighty army that God intends for it to be. II Timothy 2:3-4 tells us to, 'endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.' 

As we consider this church's past, its present status, and as we anticipate its future, let each of us ask ourselves the following question found in the chorus of the hymn, 'Satisfied with Jesus.'

I am satisfied, I am satisfied,
I am satisfied with Jesus. 
But the question comes to me, 
As I think of Calvary, 
Is my Master satisfied with me?
Evangelist Carolyn H. Martin, October 1996