Seven years ago, Larry and Kathy Martin joined 30 other Baptists in Sanford, North Carolina to plant Shepherd’s Flock Baptist Church. Growing to 120 members today, the church broke ground June 23 on its first building.
BR photo by K. Allan Blume
Gary Bullard, Woodrow Thomas and Bill Wilson start the plow as members pull the rope together.
Gathering under an unusually large pecan tree on a hot Saturday afternoon, almost 100 people met for the combined celebration of the church’s annual Vacation Bible School kickoff and a groundbreaking service for the 6,000 square feet, brick facade building on 10 acres of land. The new building will seat 208 for worship services and provide classroom space.
Pastor Larry Martin said the church met in two different locations since its launch and baptized 65 new believers.
Some came through outreach like the meal ministry that provides 300 meals weekly for needy families in the community.
He pointed to one man in the crowd who accepted a bottle of water that church members handed out in a K-Mart parking lot last year. Now the man is an active member.
The church also has a radio ministry two evenings weekly and rebroadcasts Sunday services on Charter Cable 16 and Sanford television channel 46.1.
“About four years ago, a generous couple who lives in the community sold us the land for $46,000 with the stipulation that a church facility will be built on it,” Martin said.
“It’s valued at $120,000.”
The church paid off the land and raised $300,000 for the new building – about half of the anticipated construction costs.
“The Lord’s been in it every step of the way,” Martin added.
BR photo by K. Allan Blume
Pastor Larry Martin addresses members and guests June 23 at the groundbreaking ceremony for Shepherd’s Flock Baptist Church in Sanford.
“We’ve had a lot of struggles, but this day makes it worth every bit of it. We just want to win some people to Jesus and we want to minister to people who are suffering and need help. That’s what we’re about.”
Martin explained to the crowd that most groundbreaking services involve the pastor and a few leaders who use a shovel to turn over a small amount of dirt.
“But, this will involve everybody – two rows of people pulling two ropes connected to a plow, guided by three men,” he said.
“The main thing we want to do here is give God the glory, because what you see being done, He’s done it.”
Eric Davidson, director of missions for the Sandy Creek Baptist Association, said the Shepherd’s Flock groundbreaking is part of the association’s 17-year strategy.
“Our goal is to plant 42 churches by 2035,” he said. “In the first 17 years of Sandy Creek Association, 42 churches were planted, so we’re encouraging our churches to plant 2 or 3 churches every year for the next 17 years.”
Founded in 1758, Sandy Creek is the oldest Baptist association in the Southern Baptist Convention. It once engulfed more than six states and extended its boundaries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Today it covers Lee and Chatham counties.
“This area of Lee County is a very established community with a lot of history. Many people who grew up here still live in the community,” said Davidson.
“This is predominantly a rural, agricultural-driven people.
“Growth is coming to the community especially along the U.S. Highway 1 corridor. Shepherd’s Flock wants to reach people that other churches are not reaching.”
The church plans to move into the new building before Christmas.