Belmont Baptist Church History

On September 9, 1961, The Belmont Baptist “Mission” held its first service in The Belmont Civic Building on Panola Road in Lithonia, GA.  The Church was started as a Mission Work from the Glenwood Baptist Church in Atlanta.J.C. Smith was the founding Pastor of the new “mission” work. On February 4, 1963, the Mission purchased 4½ acres of land on Miller Road for the construction of a new building.  Pastor Smith held the groundbreaking ceremony on that property on March 3, 1963. A concrete block building with an auditorium and 8 classrooms were built. On October 6, 1963, The Belmont Baptist “Mission” became The Belmont Baptist “Church.  Due to the rural area and low attendance, the Church was closed.  On October 21, 1964, Rev. Jack Harvey reopened the church and was elected as the Church’s second pastor.  At that time, he invited the 14 years old Nolan Jackson to serve as the Church Pianist.  There were few to fill leadership positions, so the young Nolan Jackson was elected Sunday School Superintendent.  The Church once again experienced growth and they built 4 additional classrooms.  In February 1969, a new sanctuary was completed.

Former Pastors

Rev. James Smith                9/9/61 – 8/31/64
Rev. Jack E. Harvey            10/21/64 – 10/2/67
Rev. Donald Brownlee       10/22/67 – 9/30/73
Rev. Henry Foster                10/3/73 – 9/29/75
Rev. Raymond Seay             12/21/75 – 8/29/76
Rev. Dale Dixon                     5/4/77 – 7/25/77
Rev. Nolan L. Jackson         5/4/77 – 7/25/77
Rev. Nolan L. Jackson         8/1/77 –

In 1970-1977Nolan Jacksonserved at The Beulah Baptist Church in Bennett, NC,as Assistant Pastor, Music and Youth Director.  During thisseven-year interval, Belmont had gone through difficult times.  Once again, the enemy had tried to close the doors of Belmont for a second time.  Four deacons and their wives refused to surrender to discouragement and low attendance.   These eight were all that remained of a once thriving congregation of three hundred.  In July of 1977, they asked Pastor Jackson to supply in the pulpit until they could get further direction from the Lord.  They were unable to pay him a salary, (took an offering once a month), so he continued to work at the Atlanta Journal inserting papers on weekends and teaching school at Dunwoody High Schoolas aMathematics teacher.  He was 27 years old.  On the firstSunday as the seventhPastor of Belmont, he preached from 1 Samuel 7:12 on Ebenezer. “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between MizpehandShen, and called the name of itEbenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”  God had given the Children of Israel a great victory over the Philistines in an impossible battle.  Samuel wanted the Israelites to always remember the victory God had given them, so he took a large stone, placed it beside the road between two often traveled towns, MizpehandShen.   He only wrote one word on the stone, EBENEZER, which means, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”   This one-wordinscribed on the stone was to be a daily reminder of God’s awesome power and victory.

That Sunday was the beginning of what has become our annual Ebenezer Celebration to remind us of what God has done and from where He has brought us. The Sunday School attendance on that Sunday showed 33 in attendance.  God continued to work mightily.  In November of 1978, the church had grown to the place that they asked Pastor Jackson to go full time.nThe indebtedness was paid off and the pastor made a commitment never to lead the Church to never borrow money, but to trust God to provide our financial needs wherever he led us to go as a Church.  For nearly fifty years we have lived by that commitment, “Where God guides, He provides.” In August of 1988, God once again led this fellowship in a major step of faith to relocate his facilities for Belmont to Conyers/Covington.  We vacated the Miller Road Facility on December 31, 1989.

We began our journey to our current locations by the first meeting in the Conyers Middle School for nine months followed by The Renaissance Center for 8 weeks. Then, we rented a storefront in the Salem Gate Shopping Center.

We had groundbreaking at our new property at 3275 Iris Dr. S.E., Conyers with those who had made the journey with us from Decatur to Conyers/Covington. Construction soon began. However, on the first Saturday in June of 1991, a lightning storm went through Conyers/Covington and struck our unfinished building, burning it to the ground. It was about 75% complete. We soon began re-construction of our facility. However, we were misled by the architect as to the cost to complete the building and we were out of money. Construction came to a stop because of our commitment to not borrow money. Remember, where God leads, He provides. Through, what some thought the tragedy of the fire, God provided an additional $100,000 from our insurance which enabled us to almost rebuild the building. The Building Inspector agreed, if we would complete 2 bathrooms, he would sign off on the Occupancy Permit. We were once again out of money. One dear lady, Mrs. Earlene Smith, came forward at the end of a service and told Pastor, “Since I don’t have any money to give, the only thing of value that I have is my grandmother’s antique glass rolling pin, but I want to give it to Jesus.” Our people were so moved by her generosity, that funds began to pour in, and we were able to complete what the Inspector required for occupancy. Folks sacrificed by giving cash, 2 cars, jewelry, savings, little kids took on extra jobs — sold their toys at garage sales. It was incredible! On the first Sunday of June 1992, exactly one year after the fire, we were able to occupy this building without any interior doors, light fixtures, carpet, or pews. Since that time, we have witnessed the Lord finish our building as the funds were given. Throughout our journey, God taught us, “The things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the vision will be fulfilled.” Truly, we can say, “Hitherto has the Lord helped us.”Several years later, God again provided miraculously the funds to purchase the 3½ acres adjoining our property where the Bethany House sits. Through our journey together, we have carried our Ebenezer Stone with us. It now resides in the retention pond as you exit the property. Belmont can truly say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

Our current faith challenge is to trust God to provide the remaining funds to complete our new Family Life Center. It will contain a gym, additional Sunday School rooms, a kitchen/cafeteria, and a new home for our food bank. Please join with us as we believe God to once again show Himself strong by providing the funds to complete this much-needed expansion.