History

 

In the spring of 1950 Rev. Claude Campbell, pastor of Wingo Heights Baptist Church (present day Harvest Baptist Church) held a six-week open-air service in the yard of The Heatherly’s. They lived in a large white house about 1/3 mile beyond where the church is presently located on the left side of Rainbow Lake Rpadd (Walt Cantrell home place). For a month or two, Saturday night services were held in various homes among which were Adolphus and Marjorie Bradley and Roy and Juanita Greenway. There are various reports of many different places brush arbor meetings were held, such as on Midnight Road, Peachtree Road, and what is today River Oak Road.

On April 1, 1951, church services were held in a small building about three miles from where it is now located (at five forks). In this building a small group of men and women met and worshipped from October 1951 until April 1952. The building was rented from Mr. E. J. Nolen for several months at $10.00 per month. Then the Lord intervened and allowed them to remain in the building rent-free for the duration. Their desire to build a church led them to buy the Green Point School property on Rainbow Lake Road, which was vacant at the time. They could not afford to purchase the property, but they pinched pennies and raised the money to purchase an acre of land from Mr. Ralph Burns.

The first church conference recorded was February 10, 1952. Three deacons were elected to serve the church: Albert Jennings, W. Riley Suttles and Paul Crosby. In May 1952, Pastor Rev. Norman Crosby commuted in a pick-up truck about eight miles from Spartanburg. He was married with two daughters; had no salary and no income except the small offering these few poor people could give him. About 8 adults came regularly at this time, in addition to the children. Offerings averaged about $4.00 a week, the entire amount the pastor received. Rev. Crosby quit his job and began serving God full time. The belief in God and the joy they shared with one another through testifying and praising God created much speculation in the community.
The desire for a church building was born in the hearts of these few and a tent was erected on the lot bought from Ralph Burns on Rainbow Lake Road. They left the little building and began holding Sunday school and preaching each Sunday in the tent. The tent was blown over and torn three times by a windstorm. The last storm tore it into shreds so they met in open-air for services, weather permitting. The founders of Green Point Baptist Church envisioned a church two long windows at the front, with a steeple, bell, broad cement steps, and a big Sunday school annex at the back and about twice as long as the church was wide. Beautiful shrubbery and trees were part of the vision, as well as a paved parking lot. God has been gracious and blessed Green Point Baptist Church beyond that vision. The Green Point Baptist Church building was started in July 1952 and a year later was incomplete. The balance owed was $500.00. They wanted to pay this debt before continuing building on the church. God planted in their hearts to help with money and materials (blocks were donated). Rev. Crosby’s father had been a contractor so he knew carpentry. The men of the church performed lots of work. They came in the mornings and worked until noon, then went to the textile plants and worked their shifts. There were about ten or twelve adults at that time. It seemed the walls went up overnight.

The first baptismal was held in August, 1952, on Sunday afternoon about five miles away, near Fingerville, at the forks of the North and South Pacolet Rivers. The water was very muddy. Mrs. Lewis Swann was among the ones being baptized; she and the pastor were dressed in white. Mrs. Swann’s daughter, Mrs. Virginia Tinsley, kept a scrapbook, which stated “ God appeared to have strained the mud out of the water because the clothes were still white when they emerged from the water”. Others were baptized, but not named.

On November 16, 1952 a conference was called to vote to borrow $1000.00 for the completion of the church. The building progressed; the materials for the roof were finally bought and construction began. They moved into the church with sawdust floors (wood shavings), no doors and three or four oil heaters. There were benches, the tent pulpit, and the weather damaged piano. The church then began growing and as cold weather approached, they decided to borrow $1000.00 to add flooring. A local contractor, Mr. Jim Mason brought his men, laid the floor and charged nothing for their work. Soon gas tanks and heaters were installed. Services were held in the one-room auditorium for a while. With the pastors help two partitions were built at the back of the auditorium for two Sunday school rooms, one for the children and one for the primary and junior children. The intermediate girls met behind a curtain on one side of the auditorium. The intermediate boys met in the choir loft, the ladies class met on one side of the auditorium and the men at the back of the auditorium.

December 7, 1952, two additional deacons were elected: Willie Bridges and Leon Crosby. The first member to pass away was Mr. Lewis Swann who died January 19, 1953 and was laid to rest. This was the beginning of the cemetery. In February 1952, a prayer band was organized and cottage prayer meetings were started to evangelize the community on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen souls were saved as a result of this from February to April. The church held services each Saturday night conducted by students from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Blessings were received from these services as they learned many things about God’s word, and people enjoyed the fellowship of young men from Canada, Germany, Guatemala and parts of the United States. The children were taught songs and scripture truths in these classes. Green Point Baptist Church truly was a Missionary Baptist Church as they were seeking lost souls.

Horace Scruggs was elected deacon on March 29, 1953 replacing Albert Jennings. On April 12, 1953, a church constitution was written and adopted by the church. The church now had 62 members. The members of the “Better Church Sub Committee:” were: B.H. Searcy, W. H. Bridges, Riley Suttles, Jay Byars, Horace Scruggs, W. F. Tinsley, and J.L. Parris. The population of Spartanburg County in late 1950 was 150,349. The school known as Green Point School was consolidated with Boiling Springs School. On January 31, 1954, Rev. Norman M Crosby resigned as pastor. On February 7, 1954, Rev. Uril Stepp was voted in as pastor. His salary was $25.00 per week. Valley Falls Baptist Church ordained Rev. Stepp. Green Point Baptist Church became a member of the North Spartan Association (under probation for 1 year) on March 14, 1954. The church also voted to purchase its first bus at this time. On July 18, 1954 the church voted that the longest serving deacon would rotate off each year and a new deacon would be elected. Green Point Baptist Church licensed Mr. Horace Scruggs on August 15, 1954 to preach the gospel. On November 27, 1954 the church voted to build new Sunday school rooms. A cemetery committee was elected on June 29, 1958 that consisted of Morgan R. Couch, J. L. Parris, and Joshua Lindsey. In December 1958 the church voted to add a steeple to the church. A Building Committee was formed on May 9, 1962 for the building addition and to purchase more land. The Building Committee comprised of Joshua Lindsey, Junior Lindsey, J.L. Parris and Jack Stepp. Rev. Uril Stepp submitted his resignation effective January 1, 1964. He was called to Mount Page Baptist Church in Saluda, North Carolina. Rev. Cheatwood was voted in as interim pastor at a salary of $5.00 per service.

On February 5, 1964, Rev. Clarence Hall became the new pastor for Green Point. On May 2, 1965 a campaign for Sunday school room construction began. Donations were accepted from Rev. & Mrs. Hall, Grady Blackwell, Charlie Kimbrell, Ray Green, Charles Kimbrell, Annie Suttles, and Edna Black. Volunteers to help pay for the roof and ceiling materials were Ralph Doss, Jack Stepp, J.L. Parris, J.T. Lindsey, Jimmy Gosnell, Mollie Suttles, Ruth Kimbrell, and Mrs. Ola Swann. The first water cooler was purchased on August 8, 1965, to replace the spigot on the roadside where the water was obtained. The handle was on bottom and the water shot up in the air like a fountain. It was installed upside down to drink water from it without a cup. The most vivid item remembered by the children was a bush located nearby where parents obtained hickories to use as a means of correction. On August 29, 1967 the church voted to increase Rev. Hall’s salary from $52.50 per week to $80.00 per week. Baptist Training Union was dropped due to lack of attendance and choir practice assumed the time period in November 1968.
In June 1970 attendance had increased to 83 in Sunday school. On September 29, 1970, a sound system was installed in the church, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Boyd Horne in loving memory of their daughter, Miss Joyce Horne. Vacation Bible School was being held each year and the director was called the Vacation Bible School Principal. In September 1971, a deacon meeting was scheduled, but no one attended except Rev. Hall and Carl Emory. Carl and Rev. Hall decided to approach Mrs. Edith McDowell about purchasing some property. Carl Emory well remembered the day they went to visit Mrs. McDowell. It shocked them that Mrs. McDowell had finally decided to sell the land. They had made several attempts to purchase this land before. On September 14, 1971, Green Point Baptist Church purchased 3+ acres from Mrs. Edith McDowell for $2240.46 (a cost of $750.00 per acre). Mr. & Mrs. Charlie Kimbrell donated the first $100.00 toward the purchase.

The church was still using the baptismal pool at Fingerville Baptist Church as late as 1972. On May 27, 1973, the church voted to reduce the salary of Rev. Elford Arledge, assistant pastor, upon his request. He would be paid $12.50 per week rather than $25.00 per week, and the additional money would be used for building a new church. On July 29, 1973, Elford Glenn Arledge was ordained to preach the gospel. At the beginning of 1974, the church voted to increase Rev. Clarence Hall’s salary from $80.00 per week to $150.00 per week. As the church continued to prosper, the members visualized the growth of Green Point Baptist Church. On July 14, 1974. they decided to build the present sanctuary. Around September 1974, Rev. Clarence Hall and Charlie Kimbrell visited Mr. J. L Belue about purchasing some property. Mr. Belue was busy packing peaches as Rev. Hall and Mr. Kimbrell approached him, and Mr. Belue requested they come back later to discuss this, as he was busy at the time. They left and returned later with a request to purchase some land. Mr. Belue said he would not sell the land to the church but would donate the land. Mr. & Mrs. J.L. Belue donated 1.10 acres of land to Green Point Church. Rev. Hall was so excited, he dropped to his knees praying and praising God for this kind and generous deed. Mr. Belue asked Rev. Hall to survey off the amount of property needed for the church site and he would give it to Green Point Baptist Church. Rev. Hall made a statement to Mr. Belue that the property would now produce more than the peaches had ever produced. The following sunday Mr. Belue made another donation to the church and Rev. Hall was again praising God for his goodness.

Rev. Hall had a desire to go to the Holy Land. The church decided that this would be a wonderful experience for Pastor Hall and wanted to assist him. Rev. Hall would not have been able to accomplish this, but God continued to bless the church and Rev. Clarence Hall was sent to the holy land in October, 1974 all expenses paid by the church. In June 1975, the current constitution and by-laws were implemented and accepted by the church. In September 1974, the first officers were elected according to the constitution and by-laws. On April 13, 1975 the church gave the Building Committee authorization to secure a $65,000.00 loan for the construction of the new church and parking lot. The committee members were Rev. Clarence Hall, Charlie Kimbrell, Ralph Morgan, J. L. Parris, John Lawing, Tommy Brock, Carl Emory, Jack Stepp, and Willie Searcy with J. T. Lindsey serving as chairman. In November, 1975, the church moved into the new building. The total cost of the church building and parking lot was $110,000.00.God had brought Green Point Baptist Church from cottage prayer meetings to a beautiful new sanctuary. This was accomplished through much prayer and determination in the hearts of God’s people. The church was in a better position financially at this time because of sacrifice and love in the hearts of Christian men and women.

In December, 1975, the church voted to increase Rev. Hall’s salary from $150.00 per week to $200.00 per week. The first organ was purchased at a cost of $5,246.00 through pledges and the building fund. The first two people to be baptized in the new church were Nellie Kimbrell and Gene Weiss. This was a blessing since previously they had to use other church facilities and local rivers for baptizing. On April 18, 1976 we exceeded 208 in Sunday school. Carl Emory had boasted that if we had at least 200 in Sunday school he would sing a solo. Carl sang his solo on this date. Rev. Hall had been born just a few miles away. He was well known and loved throughout the community. As his health began to fail in early 1980, he resigned as pastor of Green Point Baptist Church and retired after 16 years of service to the pastorate. He had been such a blessing to the community.
On February 1, 1981, the church voted to accept Rev. James Quick as its new pastor. A house was located for rent in Rainbow Acres. He later moved to a house on River Oak Road. A Yamaha piano was purchased in August, 1981 for $2,742.00. We still use this piano today. Rev. James Quick led a campaign to pay the church debt off in 1982. We strived to be debt-free in 1983. This was accomplished and a celebration for the mortgage burning was held. God continued to bless the church and through prayer and determination, it was decided in February 1984 to borrow $85,000.00 to build a parsonage and renovate the fellowship building. The building committee members were: Bob Marx, Martha Blackwell, Cheryl Stepp, J. L. Parris, J. T. Lindsey Jr., and Donnie Fowler with Carl Emory serving as chairman. In May 1985, Rev. James Quick moved into the new parsonage.

The church voted to incorporate on January 13, 1985, to prevent lawsuits against individual members of the church. God was blessing the church, and we were able to hire a youth director for our children. This was Rev. Kenneth Kirkley. He was ordained to preach the gospel on September 7, 1986, by Green Point Baptist Church. Rev. Kirkley and his wife, Rhonda, were a blessing to our children and the church continued growing in numbers and blessings. Today, Rev. Kirkley serves as the North Spartan Director of Missions. We continued to rely on God and much prayer. The property adjacent to Green Point Church was for sale, and we were able to purchase 16 acres for $29,600.00. In October, 1987, Dr. James Quick resigned to accept a pastorate at First Baptist Church in Hallandale, Florida.

On March 20, 1988, Dr. Mark Cooksey accepted the pastorate of Green Point Baptist Church. The largest attendance in the history of the church was the week of August 6, 1989 when Billy Mayo Crusades came to Green Point for a youth revival. Many young people were saved during this revival. Crowds were around 300-400 people each night. Dr. Cooksey resigned as pastor of Green Point in March of 1992. Rev. Choice Watson was interim pastor until Rev. Curtis Cameron accepted the pastorate on December 30, 1992. Rev. Cameron stayed at Green Point only 8 months before he felt led by the Lord to return to Lancaster, South Carolina. He resigned in August 1993. Rev. B. F. Coyle from Gaffney, South Carolina was interim pastor after Rev. Cameron left from August 1993 until February 1994.

In March, 1994, Rev. David Lancaster became our pastor. He had never pastored a church before. God had worked in the heart of this young man and in the heart of Green Point and felt we could grow together in the Lord. The church has grown by 30 to 40 members per year since Rev. David Lancaster became pastor. The Green Point “Hallelujah Choir” lifts praises to Jesus Christ glorifying God each Sunday. The choir has expanded and we were able to extend the choir loft in 1997. Tim Hammett directs the Music Program with Lora Hammett as the pianist and Diane Pace as Organist. The choir sings at various revivals and El Bethel Camp Meeting. Mrs. Barbara Hayes has directed the “Children Choir” with Martha Blackwell and Betty Littrell assisting. They have opened the morning assembly for more than 25 years. Lora Hammett has played the piano for the children’s choir since she was 9 years old. Lora has served as church pianist since 1988, serving as assistant pianist since 1985 and organist in 1987.

Green Point Baptist Church has always been blessed with an abundance of children and the need for a Youth Director was evident. Rev. Kirkley had left a couple of years before to become pastor at Alverson Grove Baptist Church. As the church prayed that God would lead us to the right man, Wayne Wall was studying to be a pastor. On September 20, 1998, Mr. Wayne Wall became our youth director. Wayne Wall and his wife, Beth, worked diligently with our children. Wayne was later licensed and ordained by Green Point Baptist Church. As the church began to fill and more and more folks joined the church, it became apparent we would have to look to building a new facility. We upgraded the parsonage in 1999. We installed 40 additional parking spaces and were taking the fifth Sunday offering for the building fund in hopes of building a new sanctuary one day. This would be a major expense since the cost of building had increased tremendously. A projected cost for a new church could be $1,000,000.00. God had provided ways and means since 1952, and with His help and godly people, we knew we would meet the challenge as well if this was in God’s will. Rev. Wayne Wall accepted a position with Rainbow Baptist Church as pastor in January, 2000. We found ourselves again looking for a youth pastor.

On May 20, 2001, Mr. Earl Tanner, who was studying to become a pastor, was voted in as a youth director for Green Point. The church licensed Earl Tanner to become a pastor. As Earl and his wife, Brenda Tanner, lead our children and Rev. David Lancaster lead the church,the church celebrated its 50th Anniversary celebration, which was held August 4th, 2002.

In April of 2002, the Pastor and Deacons spent a day at Lake Greenwood to pray and decide what to do with the money the church then had in the building fund. After a day of discussion and prayer, the Pastor and Deacons felt Green Point’s greatest need was an educational building. The Sunday school classes were at capacity and with no room for growth. The Pastor and Deacons left the retreat believing the educational building was God’s will and presented this plan to the Church on May 5th, 2002. The church unanimously approved for the Pastor and Deacons to comprise the building committee and pursue these plans.

The building committee then presented their ideas to four construction contractors in with sealed bids being returned to the committee. On September 9th, 2002 the building committee presented a proposal from TN Construction to erect heated/AC corridor to attach to the current sanctuary creating an L-shaped building with 7 classrooms, 2 nurseries a 740 sq. ft. children’s church totaling 6,000 square feet. This building would also include 2 adult bathrooms, 2 small bathrooms and a concrete pad drive-under for picking up and dropping off members. This construction would be phase 1 of the project with plan for phase 2 being a new sanctuary creating a horse shoe shaped Church. Improvements or cosmetic changes to the current building and the addition of the educational building totaled $406,908. Final completion the project cost increased to $467,657. Numerous banks were contacted. The Church was very blessed that the lending rates were at a record low. The committee secured financing of $300,000 at prime minus ½ % not to exceed 6.5% with National Bank of South Carolina. Prime rate was at 4.5%. The church voted on October 13th, 2002 to borrow $300,000 and the remaining $167,657 would be paid from the building fund, pledges, drives, and from God’s people. The ground breaking ceremony was held, and the committee met once a week for the duration of the project. Additional members were added to the committee to select color schemes and decorate.

The entire building committee consisted of Rev. David Lancaster, Carl Emory, Steve Jenkins, Sharon Jenkins, Angie Parson, Louise Hardin, Alton Thompson, Carolyn Thompson, Leonard Kimbrell, Wayne Mayfield, Dennis Gosnell, Ronnie Williams and Tim Hammett. Even though we labored long hours, the Lord made it easy with very few obstacles. We truly believed the Lord intended for the church to construct this building. Mr. Thad Strickland, owner of TN Construction, partnered and was wonderful to work with us. We were truly blessed by having a great relationship with our Contractor and know the Lord was guiding us. In the summer of 2003, the church held an open house for the community and occupied the new building. The educational building has been a gift given to us by our wonderful Savior and Lord. It is a great blessing to see Sunday School rooms full, children in children’s church, babies and toddlers in the nursery and the building used to its capacity for vacation bible school.