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Clay Association moderator works to involve everyonecomment (0)

December 23, 2010

By Anna Swindle

If you mention the name L.C. Harris to anyone in the Clay Association, they’ll know who you’re talking about,” said Nelson Morrow, secretary/treasurer of Clay Baptist Association. “L.C. was one of the founding members of the Clay County Baptist Association, and he knows everything about the association.”

And Harris — moderator of the association and pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Lineville — works hard to make sure all members feel valuable.

“One thing I’ve learned is that we need to involve everybody — both young and old,” said Harris, who has been a part of Clay Association for more than 60 years. “There’s sometimes a tendency to put old people on the shelf, but to watch the glow in their eyes when they know they’re wanted and needed, that’s so important.”

Mount Olive Baptist is practicing what its preacher is preaching, ensuring that each member — many of whom are senior citizens — is an active, contributing part of the small congregation.

“It’s a close-knit fellowship, where we love one another, pray for one another, support one another and, most importantly, love the Lord,” Harris said. “With so few of us, it’s like a family.”

In keeping with the “family” comparison, Mount Olive has chosen to structure its Sunday School classes a bit differently. Instead of a designated teacher leading the class, the session is conducted in an open forum style, meaning class members are encouraged and expected to be active contributors to the discussion. In this way, Harris said, every member feels heard.

“We share with one another, because that’s what we ought to do,” he said. “The older people have so many life experiences to share. If you want a blessing, get a group of senior citizens to share what the Lord has done in their lives.”

In addition to looking after his church family’s needs, Harris is devoted to helping his neighbors.

Harris works in the Baptist Center Thrift Store. The store takes donations and then either sells or gives away the items, depending on people’s ability to pay.

“It’s not to make money; it’s to help people,” Morrow said. “We help people in the community, but we’ve also sent clothes to Honduras, and the association sent $3,200 to the Haitian relief fund.”

This charitable spirit is a distinct characteristic of the churches that belong to Clay Association, Harris said.

“It all starts here,” he said. “We may be small but we’re big in heart. If something in the area needs to be done, just let it be known and it will happen. These are the easiest folks in the world to work with.”

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