Serve as a shin­ing light

Pas­tor of Shiloh Bap­tist be­lieves youth are vi­tally im­por­tant to his min­istry

The Covington News - - Religion - By Colleen Capes Jack­son

Shiloh Bap­tist Church will cel­e­brate its 200th an­niver­sary at 10:30 a.m. Septem­ber 21 with din­ner on the church grounds im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the ser­vice. Their theme, “All for his Glory,” has been ev­i­dent over the years and will con­tinue to be car­ried out in their pro­grams. The church was organized in Jasper County in 1808, moved to Mor­gan County in 1855 and set­tled in its present lo­ca­tion at 9595 Ga. High­way 142 in New­born in 1883. In 1986, a light­ning bolt struck the church and de­stroyed the sanc­tu­ary. Only the an­nex and con­tents were sal­vaged. A new sanc­tu­ary was built and ded­i­cated in 1988.

SBC will hold re­vival ser­vices nightly at 7 p.m. Septem­ber 21 through Septem­ber 24 with the Rev. Milton Wood from the Stone Moun­tain Bap­tist As­so­ci­a­tion as the guest preacher.

As you drive onto the church prop­erty, you see friendly peo­ple and pro­grams pro­mot­ing church fam­ily life — min­istry build­ings, ball fields and buses. Even on a Wed­nes­day night, ap­prox­i­mately 100 chil­dren and 100 youth come with Bi­bles in hands to study God’s word.

“We don’t meet without a pur­pose or have an event without shar­ing the gospel,” ex­plained the Rev. Danny Sor­rells, se­nior pas­tor of Shiloh Bap­tist Church. “At the end of ev­ery ball game, every­one gath­ers for a de­vo­tional. At adult games, the teams join hands and pray to­gether. Ev­ery­thing has to be Christ-cen­tered.”

Sor­rells at­tended SBC as a teenager and an­nounced his call­ing into the min­istry at age 15. He re­turned to preach the home­com­ing ser­vice in 1994 and was called as pas­tor in 1998. He served two other pas­torates in Wal­ton County be­fore com­ing to Shiloh.

Dur­ing his min­istry, the church has pur­chased two buses, re­tired the church debt and ren­o­vated the kitchen. Sor­rells and wife Deborah have three chil­dren, Debbie, Dwayne and David.

Sor­rells started at­tend­ing church through the Bap­tist Taber­na­cle’s bus min­istry. He smiled as he re­lated the story of how a red and white bus and a piece of Bazooka bub­ble gum got him to church ev­ery week.

“Be­cause some­one cared to pick me up on the bus, I have al­ways driven the church bus on Wed­nes­day night up un­til this year,” he said.

Car­lie Cleve­land started rid­ing the SBC bus at age 7 and now serves in many ar­eas in­clud­ing nurs­ery and youth dra­mas.

“I started com­ing nine years ago,” said Cleve­land, now age 16. “The pas­tor drove the cheese wagon and picked me up ev­ery Wed­nes­day and Sun­day. The church has meant a lot to me and was my home grow­ing up. I en­joy it and have grown spir­i­tu­ally.”

Sor­rells said the main fo­cus at SBC is to lead peo­ple into a life-chang­ing re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus Christ — one that will carry them deeper into his bound­less love.

SBC is ac­tive in the mis­sion fields and has sent teams to Ja­maica and held Bi­ble schools and re­vivals in Vir­ginia. A day af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina hit, they sent teams and a loaded trans­fer truck with do­na­tions.

In 2006, SBC was rec­og­nized as the sec­ond fastest grow­ing church and Sun­day school among mid-sized Ge­or­gia Bap­tist churches — with more than 200 at­tend­ing Sun­day school.

“Some years we have bap­tized over 90 peo­ple,” said the pas­tor. “We even had peo­ple saved when we preach on tithing.”

Sor­rells meets with his part­ners in min­istry weekly to plan and pray. Through an­nual re­treats, they have ex­pe­ri­enced great times of find­ing God’s di­rec­tion for the church.

Stu­dent Pas­tor Paul Miller has a heart for teenagers and spoke of how God rad­i­cally changed his life when he was in mid­dle school. His de­sire is to see stu­dents ac­tively ex­pe­ri­ence God and share the love of Christ with their lost and un-churched peers. He de­signed a pro­gram called “Guys with Guts”— an out­door event where male youth en­gage in phys­i­cal en­durance ac­tiv­i­ties and have an in­tense week­end with the word of God.

The Rev. Ryan Wy­att is the chil­dren’s pas­tor and min­is­ter of recre­ation. His wife, Debbie, is the di­rec­tor of the Reach Sun­day school pro­gram and co­or­di­nates the youth girls pro­gram called Grits — God’s Right­eous­ness is the Stan­dard. Tony Comp­ton serves as the min­is­ter of mu­sic and has a 50-mem­ber choir.

“The vi­sion I have had in all three churches is to reach peo­ple through chil­dren and youth,” Sor­rells said. “God has called us to serve as a shin­ing light — ex­pos­ing the dan­gers of sin and to share the love of Christ and how he can change lives and give victory.”

SBC of­fers Sun­day Reach Bi­ble study at 9:45 a.m. Two morn­ing ser­vices are held at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. fol­lowed by an evening ser­vice at 6 p.m. and a mid­week ser­vice at 7 p.m.

For in­for­ma­tion on Oc­to­ber events in­clud­ing a con­cert with Ivan Parker, the fall fes­ti­val and kick­ball regis­tra­tion, call (706) 468-2606 or visit Shilohsbc@ bell­south.net.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Three men and a church: Shiloh Bap­tist Church As­so­ciate Pas­tor Min­is­ter to Stu­dents Paul Miller, left, Se­nior Pas­tor Danny Sor­rells and As­so­ciate Pas­tor Min­is­ter to Chil­dren and Recre­ation Ryan Wy­att gather at the home of Pas­tor Sor­rells dur­ing a staff meet­ing for their church which is lo­cated in New­born.

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