Sherlynd Baptist Church, located in the Waynesboro (Sherando Lake), Virginia, area, has a saying about their church — “Where friends become family.” This is the testimony of numerous church members, including their pastor, Allen George. Allen grew up as the son of a pastor in West Virginia and came to Christ as a young adult after serving in the Air Force. While in the military, he had received extensive leadership training, but little did he know that God would use this when he was called into ministry.
A Call to Ministry
Having moved to the Waynesboro area for work, as a new Christian, God began to work in Allen’s heart compelling him to actively serve in a local church for the first time. He began by serving in student ministry, where he sensed a call to ministry from the Lord. The Lord opened the door to preach youth revivals, camps and, eventually, church revival meetings back in West Virginia. His home church in Waynesboro continued to give him chances to grow — eventually calling him as their youth pastor.
On Mother’s Day 2008, Pastor Allen preached at Sherlynd while they were without a pastor. He and his wife, Lisa, came as friends to help and now are part of the family. This is his first pastorate. In fact, when he came to be the pastor of Sherlynd, he had no formal ministry training, but years of being mentored by others.
A Trademark of Leadership
This pattern of mentoring and discipleship has become the trademark of Sherlynd Baptist under Pastor Allen’s leadership. The church began to grow soon after he arrived — first going to two Sunday morning worship services, then a needed building expansion and, eventually, a new modern worship center (with more plans for further expansion).
Discipleship continues through the Faith Bible Institute classes offered each week, teaching Bible content from Genesis to Revelation. This three-year discipleship program has 30 graduates and several people called into church leadership as a result. Also, all new members and new Christians are taken through Advancing the Call Class, which is a 25-week discipleship program grounding people in the faith and service in the local church.
Sherlynd joined SBC of Virginia in 2012, taking advantage of its many resources to strengthen and mobilize their church. As evidence, its involvement in missions and outreach has escalated. They have planted a church in an underserved community in the last several years. It has members planning to head to International Mission Board service as missionaries. They do periodic Sunday worship services at nearby Sherando Lake.
Sherlynd is a healthy rural church that exemplifies a welcoming family atmosphere. The congregation rejoices by clapping whenever the time for giving is announced. In fact, when the growth of the church led to the need for a new worship center, they paid off their $900,000 building expansion in only five years — this is amazing for a rural church, averaging less than 200 in attendance. The youth ministry has an active ministry to widows. The church has a ministry to Fishburne Military School and the local trailer park. Each fall, their School Outreach draws dozens from the surrounding area — providing backpacks full of school supplies, clothing, and shoes for children, and even clothing and supplies for their parents. One can see how such a loving congregation has grown by more than 300 percent in the last 10 years and regularly has the chance to baptize new believers.
God’s Amazing Grace
In August 2019, the church will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The church has much about which to rejoice, but, most importantly, by God’s amazing grace, Sherlynd Baptist Church truly lives up to its mission statement — “Where Friends Become Family.”
Resource: Does your church have a clear discipleship process? Perhaps you should consider LifeWay’s Leadership Pipeline or LifeWay’s Gospel Project (for all ages.)