China Grove First Baptist Church celebrates 125 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 12, 2013

China Grove First Baptist Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary starting at 10:30 a.m. Sunday with a special service led by the Rev. Chris O’Guin.
O’Guin, pastor of North Kannapolis Baptist Church, preached his first sermon at the China Grove church back in 1979.
The celebration will continue with an old-fashioned lunch at noon and a community singing at 1:30 p.m. Members of Oak Grove Baptist Church will kick off the concert, which will feature several area choirs.
Church historian Barbara Doby, who has attended the church for 58 years, said the church is one year older than China Grove itself, and was the first church organized within the corporate city limits.
Plans began in 1888 for the creation of China Grove First Baptist Church. A group of about eight people came together in a small school house, which later became the home of David Linn, to begin discussing locations for a place of worship in China Grove.
The church would only grow larger and larger throughout the years to follow. Historical records do not indicate any other moves or changes to the small, but ever-growing church until 1898 when J. N. Stallings stepped in to become the first pastor. He was with the church for five years, and was followed by several pastors who stayed about a year each.
Not until 1921 did the church adopt its first full time pastor, the Rev. L. L. Kirk. Soon after this success, the church began to expand.
In 1925, the abandoned Presbyterian church that stood on the church’s present lot was purchased. It was here that the Sunday School department began as well as two adult classes.
First Baptist Church features worship services, bible-centered teaching for all ages and a vibrant music program. A missions team was recently established to increase involvement locally and beyond.
The church also started two missions, has four previous members who are now ordained as pastors and sponsored a family from Latvia in 1949.
The Rev. Steve Wilson came in as pastor of the church in March 2001, making him the 26th person to lead the church. He intends for the church to continue work through missions and increase membership.
Intern Sydney Sides is a senior at West Rowan High School.