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Gordo church tears down walls to meet needscomment (0)

April 15, 2010

By Jeremy Henderson

Since churches aren’t exactly in the habit of signing on to building projects that cut the size of their fellowship halls in half, it’s an understandable question: Where are the members of New Harmony Baptist Church, Gordo, going to eat now?

Terry Billings, interim pastor of the Pickens Baptist Association church, has a quick answer. It’s something about not living on bread alone.  

“People say, ‘Well where are you going to eat?’” said Billings, who recently oversaw a multicongregational effort to convert his church’s fellowship hall building into a facility housing Sunday School classrooms and a nursery and incorporating air conditioning and other things it’s never had. “Hey we’re going to eat in those rooms. You know what I mean?”

The members of Billings’ finally growing congregation know exactly what he means. They’ve been waiting on it. Three months ago — and for many months prior — the status quo at New Harmony Baptist was less than ideal for growth: no classrooms, no Wednesday night programs. That was before Billings and his distaste for the status quo lit a fire under the tiny church and rallied neighboring congregations — black, white, Missionary Baptists, Methodists — to its cause.

Billings accepted the call to preach just a year ago, came in January and was voted interim pastor in February.

Gary Farley, director of missions for Pickens Association, isn’t surprised by how far Billings and his church have come in such a short time.

“[Billings] helps folks and folks want to help him. He’s just one of those neat people you run into every once in a while,” Farley said. “This is a church that was very weak and in need of help and Terry connected with them. … He’s got no other agenda than the will of God.”

And that’s something other churches could connect with.

“We just sort of let the walls down, and we almost built this thing (the renovated fellowship hall) in one week,” Billings said of the churches’ joint effort to get New Harmony built up for all the new people coming in.

“There’s just been an explosion of God here through prayer,” he said. “He’s just been bringing people into the fold. We’ve gone from maybe 30 (people) on Sundays to 65, 70, even 85 a couple of days.”

To thank everyone for their assistance with the building project, the church decided to feed them, literally.

“God gave us a pretty day so we just went outside and anybody that wanted food, even if you were just driving by, we would feed you,” Billings said. “We just wanted to give back for what God’s already done for us.”

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