Sunday, March 15, 2009

A New Pastor

In June, 2008 Pastor Kevin McKoy became the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Lithia Springs following eighteen months as Associate Pastor to Students where he provided spiritual and administrative leadership for grades 6 through college.

From the biography Pastor McKoy presented to the church:

Kevin was born on December12,1972 in Newnan, Georgia. He graduated from Newnan High School in 1991 and was accepted into North Georgia College in Dahlonega, Georgia. He graduated from North Georgia College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Finance in 1995. During his college years, Kevin was involved in the Corps of Cadets ROTC program at North Georgia. It was during this time that he enlisted into the United States Army to the Artillery Branch. Upon completion of his degree requirements, Kevin was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Chaplain’s Corps. He attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed his Master of Divinity degree in 2001.

Prior to coming to First Baptist, Kevin served as the Associate Pastor and Minister of Youth and Education at Unity Baptist Church, LaGrange, Georgia for five years. He also served as Pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Hinesville, Georgia for three years. Kevin served as an Army Chaplain in the United States Army and the Georgia Army National Guard from 1996 until 2005 when he out-processed at the rank of Captain. While attending college in north Georgia, Kevin also served as Youth Minister at Northlake Baptist Church and at Dahlonega Baptist Church.

It was at North Georgia College where Kevin met his wife, Christy. They were married in Christy’s hometown of Claxton, Georgia on March 14, 1998. The McKoys have two beautiful children, Ryley and Camryn.

Pastor McKoy advises:
I was called to full-time ministry during my junior year of college. Since NGC was a military college, the Lord led me to combine ministry and military by pursuing the Army Chaplain’s program. I was licensed from my home church, Elim Baptist Church in Newnan, Georgia, in September of 1994. Since that time I have served the Lord at both a church and military level. Upon accepting my first pastorate at Westside Baptist Church in Hinesville, Georgia, I was ordained into the gospel ministry in January of 1998.”

The biography concludes:
Kevin has a passionate call to ministry on his life. He believes that God still desires to reach people with His message of hope and joy. Kevin and Christy have expressed their heartfelt desire to continue to be faithful in whatever God has planned for them.

Isaiah 40:31 – Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

God Gave Mr. Chandler a Vision

While a group of folks can be credited with organizing FBCLS in 1946, one man, Loy T. Chandler, Sr., received a vision from God of a beautiful church in Lithia Springs. God inspired Mr. Chandler and he in turn carried the message to his friends and family.

During a Homecoming service in 1980 Mrs. Chandler spoke about the day Mr. Chandler received his vision from God. The following is the text of her speech:

Mrs. Leavell asked me to say a few words about what I could remember about the beginning of our church. So I began to think back and, oh I had so many wonderful thoughts, I didn’t know exactly where to start. So I decided to start at the very beginning—this is not in the minutes.

This church is Mr. Chandler’s dream—vision. We came in from church, Union Grove. I got dinner on the table and went to call Mr. Chandler to the table, and he was sitting in his chair, and not paying any attention to me at all.

In a few minutes he got up and said, “Let the children go ahead and eat. I want you and me to go over to Mrs. Copeland’s and call Cora, Ed, Ike, and Vassie. The Lord spoke to me in my dream and showed me the most beautiful church.” And everyone I called to meet with us after we had a prayer meeting agreed we did need a church, so everyone was of one mind and one accord, and a mind to work and work we did.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about leaving Union Grove Church. I had so many irons in the fire. At that time I was B.Y.P.U. Director, President of Women’s Missionary Society, and taught the young people and Intermediates together—it was a one-room church at that time.
So Mr. Chandler said, “I understand how you feel and you do what the Lord wants you to do.” I don’t think I have ever prayed as hard and sincere in my life, and I assure you, the Lord answers prayer in His own way. I was sitting at my desk reading and praying, and a white church appeared to me so bright, I couldn’t look at it, I had to close my eyes. I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for showing me the way.’ I had no trouble asking for my letter.

I went to Mr. Chandler and told him I was ready to go to work with him. We went to the Home Mission Board and spent the day with Mr. Steel. He said, “It is a wonderful thing you are doing, but unless you are able to take criticism and hard blows, you better not start.” Before we left, he said, “I know you are sincere and I will help you with anything I can.”

Mr. Chandler said the first church,
the one that burned, was just like the one in his dream.
But with all the hard work and sacrifice, it would not have been what it is today except God gave us three fine men of God. Our preachers, Brother Patterson, who really led us in a wonderful way, I don’t know what we would have done without him. Then Dr. Beaver, he wasn’t a “Dr.” then, he was just Marion and we loved him so much and still do. And Brother Whitmire, who is now leading us in a marvelous way and our church is still growing under his leadership. We praise the Lord for sending him to us. I think I can speak for all, that we all love you, and wish many happy years with us.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

An Important Letter

The following letter was written on THIS date sixty-three years ago. The letter was addressed to Mr. Ed Ralls, a founding member of FBCLS. The letter was written by Glenn Florence, a Senator in the Georgia General Assembly. In the letter Mr. Florence agrees to donate a plot of land in downtown Lithia Springs for the church.

Mr. Florence is pictured to the left. The text of his letter is provided below:

Punta Gorda, Florida
March 1, 1946

Mr. E. Ralls,

Dear friend and brother. I read your letter this p.m. and knowing the need of a Baptist church and Sunday School in Lithia , I feel I owe my Lord a debt I can never repay and am not trying to repay.

But wanting to try to help in any way I can, I will be glad to donate a church site if the place can be used. First, how much frontage would you want? Second, I would rather not have it on highway between stores and Mr. Alley’s place. Third, have you looked at place next to school house, as you could utilize part of school grounds for large Sunday crowds. How soon do you plan on starting a building?

I have some lots on the left side of road to Sweetwater Creek. You might get Mr. Walt Mozeley to show you the places and write me the amount of frontage needed and the depth and place, and I am sure we can get together.

Thanking you for the change to do something, I remain

Your brother-in-Christ

Glenn Florence