Brimpton Baptist Church has never had an official biography, it’s model of ministry has never been analysed and copied as a demonstration of church growth, it cannot boast any famous men. Yet, it has a richer reward than these things that many count as marks of success. Brimpton Baptist Church, just like tens of thousands of other unknown fellowships down through the ages, has been made up of men and women who faithfully, quietly and consistently loved, praised and served the Lord. I think especially of Richard and Lily Strutt and David Lodge. All have been used of the Lord to help me in my walk with Him.
This morning I found some papers that were given to me by Lily Strutt. One slip of paper gives an account of what Brimpton Baptist Church was like when the Strutt’s first arrived at Brimpton. I do not have exact dates at the moment, but I believe the slip was written in the 70’s or early 80’s and records a time in the 50’s. I thought I would share it as some will find it of interest. This is a scan of the A5 paper, but I will type out as much as I can understand:
21 Years Ago
About 13 in congregation
Miss May Timms Organist
Miss Daisy Timms Treasurer
Mr Jack Timms – pulpit supplies (very satisfactory)
Mr Jack Timms Secretary
Pastor L Wyeth – monthly communion
Mr Williams Caretaker
No debts Good contributions to B.M.S.
Interior decorations – gift gtom B.B.A – church of the year
Exterior decorations – Every few years
Schoolroom – used once for social gathering
Baptistry – not used for 50 years
Dying congregation! 1 young girl and next us in our fifties
What was our future?
Mrs. L Strutt became organist
Mr. Strutt became sectretary and booked speakers. Very good preaching.
It does not perhaps tell much, but it gives some idea of what the church was like. Apparently the congregation were quite elderly and the congregation faced eventual closure, it was a mission’s minded church, to some degree the building upkeep necessitated outside help, and when the energetic, young Strutt’s arrived (in their 50’s), the church enjoyed something of a renewal.
The doors were kept open until 1984 when Pastor Tom Dotson, a missionary from Georgia, USA, my pastor, arrived and under his ministry the church thrived. For many years there was a Christian school, a Bible camp was started and still runs, many were led to the Lord, many grew in their relationship with the Lord, unknown numbers heard the Gospel and I was called to preach.
It’s a snapshot of our church’s history. But one that probably reflects many churches at one stage or another. If you are reading this and know of or are a part of a small, dying congregation then do not give up hope. If you are a part of a thriving congregation then do not be fooled into thinking that somehow you would never become a small, dying congregation with a handful of elderly members. Most of all, we must remember that we are God’s church, we must be faithful to Him, work as hard and as smart as we can, and ultimately rely on God to work.