Ministry History

From the Ridgeland Express newsletter, November 2002:

 

{Editor’s Note: On September 22, 2002, Ridgeland Drive Baptist Church held its first homecoming, officially called a Celebration of Blessings.  Ray Holliday prepared a church history for the occasion.  Since he had also agreed to read the history during the morning service, he wrote it as a piece to be delivered orally, not as a formal document to be relegated to the printed page.  Consequently, his history is not simply a factual record, but rather a moving and lyrical depiction of a people’s journey.   We print Ray’s history here so that you can always call to mind our first homecoming and our beginning as a church.}

 

In the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel, Moses recited the words of a song.  And in that song were the words, “Remember the days of old.”

 

As we now gather for our Fall Celebration of Blessings, it is a time for us to remember and reflect upon our own days of old, for us to consider how God has blessed us as a people.

A little over 3 years ago, a small group of people, a portion of those in our midst this morning, began a spiritual journey.  And, as it is with such a journey, those first steps in the spring of 1999 were steps of great faith.

 

This body of individuals came together for a sole desire: praise and worship to their God.  And so, a few early meetings were held at Providence Christian Academy.  But shortly thereafter, these worshipers, known simply as the Six Mile Baptist Group, moved to Six Mile Elementary School.

 

On April 28th, 1999, a Wednesday night, our first leaders and Sunday School teachers were chosen.  On the following Sunday, a science lab became a Sunday School room; a hallway became the choir room; a row of blue, yellow, and red cafeteria chairs became a pew.   A small stage became an altar.

 

At that first service, on May 2nd, with 93 people in attendance, Reverend Virgil Merck was called as Interim Pastor and serves this congregation even today as our Associate Pastor.

 

But, of course, the journey does not stop there.  It was really just beginning.  Just as the hand of God had steadied those first uncertain steps only a couple of months earlier, he now began to ready our path for even greater things.

 

For you see, God spoke to Furman Murphree and told him that he knew of a place down on Ridgeland Drive, a hilltop of tall oaks, that would be a wonderful place for a church.  And God spoke to Helen Murphree and told her that he knew of a place down on Ridgeland Drive, a hilltop of tall oaks, that would be a wonderful place for a church.  

 

And, after a few days, Furman and Helen confided in each other what God had whispered to their own heart that he knew of a place, a wonderful place for a church, a hilltop of tall oaks, down on Ridgeland Drive.  On May 5th, 1999, Furman and Helen formally donated 7 acres of land for this building—this church.

 

On May 23rd, the Six Mile Baptist Group decided that it was time for a new name.  And on July 21st, 1999, the 103 members now known as Ridgeland Drive Baptist Church received their charter.

 

A building committee was selected on July 25th and the land was cleared in early August.  On December 19th the church voted to move forward with a building plan.

 

Barely 3 months later, on the bright sun-filled afternoon of March 12th, 2000, a groundbreaking ceremony was held.  In fact, work had begun back in January, and the concrete foundation had already been poured. 

 

For the next several months work continued at the new church site. On December 24th, 2000, a special Christmas service was held in the almost-finished building. And on January 7th, 2001, the members of Ridgeland Drive Baptist Church folded tables and sat in blue, red, and yellow chairs for the last time; for on the following Sunday, services were held at a new church building, on a hilltop surrounded by tall oaks, down on Ridgeland Drive.

 

Kelly Builders were the contractors for the building.  But their work was lessened by countless hours of volunteer labor provided not only by church members, but also by many others in the community.  Those efforts and the donations of furniture, equipment, hymnals, and many other items resulted in the facility you see this morning.

 

Reverend Fred Sanford was called as the first full-time pastor of Ridgeland Drive Baptist Church on January 21st, 2001, and today leads our 160 members. 

 

In the past few months, several improvements have been made to our facilities.  A picnic shelter was constructed, the parking area was enlarged, and landscaping was added.

 

This brief record that I have shared with you this morning is far from complete, for the names of so many have gone unmentioned, and their selfless acts of hard work and sacrifice have gone unrecognized.  But the really important events of our church, of this journey, occurred not on dates of any particular significance.  They were not actions directed by man or committee.  Rather, they were moments spent in stillness and quiet.  They were moments when members of this church listened, and then followed, the spirit of God.

 

Our “days of old” fade past, but our journey goes on.  Our steps are sure.  Our faith endures.

 

May God bless Ridgeland Drive Baptist Church.

185 Ridgeland Drive
Six Mile, SC 29682
(864) 868-5050
info@ridgelanddrivebc.org