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.