Church History The History of Greenbrier Baptist Church
The Beginning – Memories with Brother Pat Brock:
The morning of February 14, 1942, was bitterly cold. Sixteen hardy residents of East Limestone County huddled around a stove in the home of late Mr. and Mrs. Bob McCurley at Belle Mina Crossroads. Bro. Pat Brock had hitchhiked, “mostly hiked”, the eight miles from Decatur on that Sunday. “I had just graduated from Moody Bible Institute and committed to the Lord to do whatever He wanted”, said Bro Brock. That Valentine’s Day he wore an overcoat given to him by a relative but had nothing on his head. Rev Brock led an organizational meeting and preached.
Greenbrier Baptist Church was formerly begun with 24 charter members. Several months before the church’s organization, Bro. Brock said he was at work at J. C. Penney’s when Mr. Bob McCurley came in and told him there were sharecroppers in East Limestone County with no transportation and no place to go to church. Bro Brock said he told Bro. McCurley to talk to his wife and try to find a suitable room or building for services. Soon Mrs. McCurley wrote back on a piece of paper that their home was open and she invited Bro. Brock to come and preach. Bro. Brock said, “My brother-in-law, Lawrence Pruitt, and I gathered up some old Hymnals and boarded the old Southern Train. We got off at Belle Mina and walked to the McCurley’s.” Later the little group met in the barn on the Auburn Experiment Station and in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Lewis, who later donated land for a building. “We baptized 129 people in Limestone Creek during those first seven or eight months”, said Rev. Brock. After Bro. Brock left to start a new church in the Madison area, the church called Lawrence Pruitt as Pastor.
Historical Events of the Church:
Bro. Pruitt served as Pastor from November 5, 1944 to September 21, 1947. During this time many souls were saved, the membership more than doubled and the first building was built on land donated by Joe and Tassie Lewis of Greenbrier. The auditorium had a seating capacity of 125.
Rev. E.E. Matthews was called as Pastor in November 1947 and served until May 1964. The church grew tremendously under his leadership. Additional property was purchased, an educational building containing 10 Sunday school rooms was constructed and the Pastor’s home was remodeled. Rev. Matthews gained the confidence, love and respect of the people in the area.
Then Bro. Olen Gregg was called as Pastor in June 1964 and served until September 1977. Under his leadership the church was enlarged to seat 250, an addition was built on the educational department and the Parsonage was remodeled and enlarged. In 1972 Bro. Gregg led the church in the building of a completely new church complex. The “Word of Life” ministry was begun in July 1976 for the youth of the church using the old church auditorium.
The church will treasure the years of Bro. Gregg’s labors, aggressiveness and dynamic preaching, through which many were added to the church. Rev. K. C. Poole, D. A. Emerson and Bro. Charlie Tucker were called into the ministry during Bro. Gregg’s ministry here.
Along with Bro. Jr. Long, Rev. Johnny Cook was called as Pastor in November 1977 and served approximately four months.
On July 2, 1978, the church called Bro. Jimmy Gorham as Pastor and he served until August 1979.
Bro. Tim Rutherford was called as Pastor in February 1980 and served until July 27th of that year.
On September 14, 1980, Bro. Jimmy Wright was called as Pastor and served until August 1984. During his tenure a new sound system was installed, and the church became debt free. Bro. Wright loved to sing. His favorite song was, “He had to reach way down for me”.
Bro. Bill Boruff was called as Pastor on December 2, 1984 and served until December 1994. His old-fashioned preaching gave preeminence to the infallible Word of God and to Christ, the Word made flesh. There was substantial increase in the mission’s ministry, with a greater emphasis on planting local churches in needy areas here in America. Annual missions reached $20,000 with 37 mission projects around the world.
The church called Bro. Jack Zimmer as Pastor on February 5, 1995. The Pastor’s home was remodeled and several updates to the general church ground were completed. A wireless assisted hearing system was installed for the hearing impaired members and a closed circuit TV was installed for the nursery. Annual missions giving averaged over $27,000. The church’s spirit and fellowship were strengthened during Bro. Zimmer’s years as Pastor.
Bro. Ed Richards was called as Pastor in May 1999 and served until September lst of that year.
On December 12, 1999 the church called Jerry Knight as Pastor and he served until September 9, 2000.
Pastor Randle Coker became our Pastor on March 12, 2001. Each member has been challenged to do his part by reaching out for Christ one person this year as we remember our theme, “One Soul Set Free in 2003”.
Bro. Danny Keiser served as Pastor from 2003 to 2004.
Bro. Ricky Lowery became our Pastor in May 2005. Bro. Ricky is the grandson of one of the charter members and founders of Greenbrier Church, Sis Lydia Sturdivant Ennis, and is the son of her daughter, and charter member, Helen Ennis Lowery.
The church facilities of Greenbrier Baptist Church, along with its additional buildings, is built on 5 acres. The church building contains 11,000 square feet. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 500 and the educational department has 20 Sunday school rooms. The church is carpeted throughout, air conditioned, centrally heated and has a fellowship/dining area and kitchen. The Lord has truly been good to GBC. We praise Him for all His blessings. The church purchased a bus in 2008 that is used to reach the community for Christ and is used for Vacation Bible School and Senior Saints trips.