MURPHY — It would surprise some people how Peachtree
Church is part of a worldwide
After all, the church’s modern building with a steep-sloped
roof sits alongside Highway 141 several miles out of Murphy, in the community
of Peachtree, surrounded by the mountains and rolling hills of Cherokee
This is the far west of our state. From Peachtree Memorial,
it’s three times as far to Raleigh
as it is to Atlanta, Ga.,
or Knoxville, Tenn.
But with missions eyes, Peachtree Memorial’s 500 members can
see far beyond the local mountains to places like eastern North
Carolina, New York City,
China and Argentina.
It is a vision for missions and a sensitivity to missions,
that drive the church’s giving, not just tradition, says Pastor Chester Jones.
However, missions does have a long tradition in Cherokee
County, he pointed out.
He recalled how Baptist ministers Evan Jones and Hymphrey
Posey ministered to the Cherokees in the early 1800s through a mission school.
Jones translated the New Testament into the Cherokee language.
“We’re a missions-oriented group of believers. Our people
have been faithful. We have believed that we can do more together than any of
us can do individually. We feel like we cover a broader spectrum of
dollars through the Cooperative Program than any other source or means,” Jones
“Consistently, this has been a missions-minded church for
many, many years and our goal for the past 10 years has been to give through
the Cooperative Program 10 percent of our offering plate dollar and we’ve done
that almost every year. Two years we gave 12 percent,” he added.
One recent year the members felt they had to address a local
situation that called for money, but the next year they moved back to 10
percent of their budget for the Cooperative Program.
“We do believe in the Cooperative Program,” Jones said.
Through their Cooperative Program giving, the church
supports a wide range of ministries across North Carolina, that includes
starting 125 new churches in 2010; the Baptist Children’s Homes of North
Carolina; Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute; a youth program that reached more
than 7,000 young people this year; evangelism and church growth ministry,
prayer ministry, women’s ministry, partnership missions and many kinds of
pastor and church staff support; plus helping send missionaries across North
America and around the world, and furthering education at six Southern Baptist
seminaries including Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.