“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” — Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
In 1771, as Benjamin Franklin was busy penning his autobiography, God breathed life into three Virginia Southern Baptist churches: Morgans Baptist Church in Bedford, Old Powhatan Baptist Church in Powhatan, and Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Jetersville. These congregations, who recently celebrated their 250th anniversaries, are continuing to preach the Gospel and serve their communities today.
Sandy Creek’s pastor, Tom Campbell, honored the church’s devoted forerunners in saying, “With its beginnings rooted deeply as the result of the preaching of the Great Awakening Revival, lives in Central Virginia are still being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ even to this day at Sandy Creek Baptist. We preach and believe in a Savior that died on the cross for the sins of all men just as much today as did our spiritual ancestors 250 years ago. We still tell the Story.”
Pastor Brad Russell of Old Powhatan Baptist Church (OPBC) shared, “God has preserved a faithful Gospel witness on this same property for 250 years! But it is not enough to rest on a legacy of faithfulness and perseverance. Now, more than ever, OPBC is reaching our community and the nations by being sent out to spread the Good News. For 250 years, the people of Old Powhatan have worked to make sure the Gospel reaches the next generation. As past generations have been faithful, it is our turn to be faithful to future generations here in Powhatan and to the ends of the earth.”
God’s faithfulness in preserving these churches is a stunning testimony of His goodness. It is evident that as the baton is passed from one generation to the next and the culture’s climate continues to change, the Gospel remains a steadfast anchor in life’s storms, as it is proclaimed each week.
When the Bible is faithfully preached, it also touches people outside of the church, transforming the community itself, as God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). In the case of Morgans Baptist Church, even government representatives have taken notice.
Edgar Tuck, the District 2 representative for the Bedford County Board of Supervisors, said he’s known this church’s ministry for his entire life: “The individuals that I know to have grown up under that ministry are contributing in various capacities in our community, continuing to share a biblical worldview and show the love of Christ to a hurting world. I give thanks to God for the ministry of Morgans Baptist Church.”
This is a beautiful reminder that God’s Word never returns void. Obedient Christians in 1771 planted seeds that continue to flourish in these three churches today, 250 years later. ■