As the result of a revival in 1819, Good Hope Baptist Church in Spotsylvania was planted. For its first 41 years, the members of Good Hope assembled for weekly worship in an area schoolhouse. During the era of the Civil War, local farmers stepped out in faith to build the current church facility believing that God had greater plans in store.
Although once a vibrant church, Good Hope was struggling with an uncertain future in 2016 when Senior Pastor Gene Lancour arrived. As a former businessman without prior senior pastor experience, Gene obeyed God and came to Good Hope at the age of 60. He really did not want to serve in a rural context. Yet, with tears in his eyes, Gene heard the Word of the Lord through specific passages of Scripture, prayer, and fasting, and God made it clear to him that Gene was being called to pastor this struggling church outside the city.
Gene shared, “Good Hope was a congregation hungry for truth, and a people without a vision.” The church had 25 people in Sunday worship, no missional vision and a tarnished reputation in the community. GHBC had seen four pastors come and leave over the course of 10 years. Lancour stated that he heard voices in the community stating, “that is the church that chases away their pastors.”
Dr. Grant Ethridge, Senior Pastor of Liberty Live Church in Hampton mentored Gene and taught him to pastor by setting the vision and expectations at the beginning. As Gene faithfully preached the Word and led the church through 40 days of prayer and fasting, God birthed a vision — “Good Hope: A place where Hope becomes Life.”
“The members of Good Hope have been through ups and downs, through good times and not so good times, through many members and few members. Today under the leadership of Pastor Gene Lancour the membership is rising. The fellowship is making an impact on the community because we care. The atmosphere of the church has changed. We thank God for Pastor Gene. He has made all the difference! God is at the center of the church now, and He is over all that we do. It is for His Glory that we serve the community.”~ Sharon and Dick Lafferty, members of Good Hope Baptist Church for forty years
Pastor Gene stated, “one of my favorite Bible Verses is Luke 1:37, ‘For with God nothing will be impossible.’”
Truly, at Good Hope Baptist Church, hope is certainly becoming life where God is doing the impossible. ■