History Of Shady Grove Baptist Church

Our Story

On February 15, 1867, a group of fourteen black men and women set out from Washington Baptist Church (Pelzer, South Carolina; Ware Place Community), one and one-half miles east of said church, in a Brush Arbor, with the Rev. Peter Shorter as pastor, and founded the Shady Grove Baptist Church. The group worshipped in the Brush Arbor eight years. The membership, along with the Rev. J.O. Allen, built a white-framed church, which served as the place of worship from 1875 until 1961.

During the middle 1950's a group of members began to discuss the building of a new church. It took many years of planning before a final decision was made. In 1961, the new church was erected and served as the place of worship until December 2000. A Fellowship Hall was added to the church in 1976. On the fourth Sunday in August 1968, under the leadership of Rev. S.M. Glover, the mortgage on the church was burned during Homecoming Services.

Since 1867, there have been fifteen pastors to serve Shady Grove and twenty-eight deacons to serve in the Deacon's Ministry. In 1947, Rev. L.B. Moon began pastorship, serving eight years and ending his tenure in 1955. The year 1978 marked the end of an era. Rev. S.M. Glover, after twenty-three years of untiring service, retired and was named Pastor Emeritus until his death. In April 1979, Rev. S.A. Mattison began pastorship of Shay Grove. Under Pastor Mattison's leadership, Shady Grove became "The Church of Christian Service" and with God's blessing the first, third, and fifth Sundays were added as Sundays of worship and a full-time program was initiated. After serving eight years, Rev. Mattison ended his tenure in May 1987.

Following are some of the spiritual and material blessings Shady Grove enjoyed after God moved us to a full-time program. Materially, we installed a public address system, purchased a new piano and tone cabinet for the organ. Additionally, we acquired two vans, an offset printing machine and copier. Our building was improved by renovation of the pastor's study and all rest rooms, installation of new carpeting in the Sunday School department, cushioning of the church pews and development of the Fellowship Hall for use as convertible classrooms. In 1988, we installed an updated public address system to meet our growing needs and paved the church parking areas.

Our spiritual blessings have been numerous. Seven men out of Shady Grove (James Burts, David Sullivan, Larry Chapman, Robert Daniels, Steven Miller, Milferd Brock, Sr., and Emanuel Duncan) have been called and licensed into the ministry. Another faithful member, Willie T. Thurman, was also called into the ministry. Rev. Milferd Brock, Sr. served as an associate minister and Youth Minister of Shady Grove until moving to another community where he gained a new church family. Also serving as associate ministers until moving to another church family were Rev. Robert Daniels and Rev. Sis. Queen Daniels.

Administratively, Shady Grove has been blessed with a staff of personnel to carry out its God-ordained mission. During the 1980's the staff consisted of: Chairman of Deacon's Ministry, Minister of Education, Minister of Missions, Minister of Music, Minister of Outreach, Minister of Support, and Business Manager. In 1986, we were blessed to employ our first full-time church secretary.

Educationally, Shady Grove has been blessed through the years with an outstanding Sunday School program, Annual Vacation Bible School, Church Library, a Training Department, and a consistent Bible Study program each Wednesday evening.

In February 1988, Rev. Dr. Kaiser Jones began his pastorship of Shady Grove, serving two years and ending his tenure in February 1990. During two experiences of pastoral absence, we were blessed to have our associate minister, Rev. Larry Chapman, to "stand in the gap" as Interim Pastor (beginning May 1987 - February 1988 and again February 1990 - December 1990). Rev. Chapman proved to be God-sent.

On December 16, 1990, Rev. Michael A. Glenn was called as the thirteenth pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Rev. Glenn, we became "The Church With A Larger Vision". Rev. Glenn initiated the concept: "Lead by Example" in teaching, loving, and giving. This was the concept that also motivated us to rapidly defray our indebtedness - with a future building program in mind. We paid off our indebtedness in seven years and held a Mortgage Burning Service on Sunday, January 30, 1994. Also under the leadership of Rev. Glenn, God blessed us to install new carpet, a new ceiling, and beautiful new chandeliers in the sanctuary, obtain a new church van, a state-of-the-art copier for our church office and resume a strong Newsletter Ministry - The GROVE. On April 28, 1996, Rev. Michael A. Glenn ended his tenure at Shady Grove upon being called to another pastorate.

In 1997 our two associate ministers, Rev. Milferd Brock, Sr. and Rev. Willie T. Thurman, were named Interim Pastor. Under their leadership, consistent in-service meetings for church leaders were initiated and the Church Organizational Chart was updated. Additionally, a technologically up-to-date Sound System was installed and new seating for the Sunday School Auditorium and choir lofts purchased. They exemplified an enthusiasm wrought of the Holy Spirit and God truly poured out His blessings on these two young men as they preached His Word.

On February 4, 1998, God blessed Shady Grove Baptist Church when Rev. James W. Nesbitt was called to be our fourteenth pastor. Pastor Nesbitt led Shady Grove to be "The Church With A Mind to Work" in word, deed, and works. During the first two years of Pastor Nesbitt's leadership, Shady Grove worked to grow spiritually through the establishment of new ministries: The Singles and Married Couples Ministries; an active Evangelism and Visitation Ministry; Sacred Dancers Ministry; and renewed emphasis on Youth and Seniors Ministries. A Pastoral Advisory Council, consisting of ministry heads and officers, was added to complete the "ministry picture". Pastor Nesbitt's commitment to spiritual growth led him to put into place a Tuesday morning Bible Study for seniors and others available during daytime hours. Two new deacons were trained and ordained and five new deaconesses trained and installed. Under Pastor Nesbitt's leadership, church attendance grew by over 60% and his spirit-led stewardship training resulted in the doubling of church finances within a one-year period.

During the second year of Pastor Nesbitt's leadership, he shared the vision that God had given him for Shady Grove and led us to embark on a financial campaign such that we had never seen before. The Lifestyle Capital Stewardship Campaign with the theme "Vision to Victory" was a working campaign and involved nearly half of the congregation in the process. This was a wonderful time in the life of Shady Grove resulting in a heightened sense of God's Will for His stewards. The basis was personal (individual) sacrifice in order to make more funds available for God's work. Members were trained and encouraged in many ways and made financial pledges covering a three-year period. Because of the success of the campaign (God blesses obedience and sacrifice!), the commitment of members, and consistent pastoral leadership, the first phase of the Vision, our new sanctuary and administrative offices, was completed. On December 10, 2000, we marched from the old to the new sanctuary, worshipping and praising God for his great goodness.

During the third and fourth years of Pastor Nesbitt's leadership, he continued to be led by God toward the next phase of the Vision. Foundations were laid and plans initiated. A state-of-the-art kitchen was installed to compliment our Fellowship Hall which was refreshed with new drapes, fresh paint, new carpet in the pulpit/stage area, and restoration of the hardwood floor. Spiritual growth continued to be emphasized and the ministries needed to insure growth put into place. A Ministry Development Coordinator was added to the church staff. In addition, a fully-equipped nursery was made available for parents with infants and Children's Church for ages eight and under was resumed, insuring a church experience for our children designed especially for them. Also during this time, we were blessed to have two associate ministers join Pastor Nesbitt's ministerial team: Minister Shirley Tarrant and Minister Betty Kelley

Upon celebrating our 136th Church Anniversary and Pastor Nesbitt's fifth year, the Shady Grove Baptist Church Family continued to witness God's blessings. We were in the final year of our Lifestyle Capital Stewardship Campaign and experienced a great finale; complete with a closing financial harvest and wonderful fellowship dinner. Growth was all around: God continued to send new members - some coming due to seeing the television ad featuring Pastor Nesbitt - some coming due to our outreach efforts in surrounding communities - some coming due to viewing our new webpage. One new deacon and four new deaconesses were added to those ministries and two additional ministries were initiated under the Deaconesses: (1) New Parents Ministry (2) Mother's Council. Additionally, a church Finance Ministry was initiated. We continued improvement to our physical structure by installing updated lighting in the Choir Room and added new trees/shrubs to the landscape. God's wonders never ceased to amaze us as we were able to purchase 3 acres of land in May 2002.

In February 2004, God blessed us to observe our 137th Church Anniversary. We celebrated six full years of spiritual leadership under Pastor James W. Nesbitt. During 2003, the Church Library was re-opened and relocated for effectiveness and use. Pastor Nesbitt lead Shady Grove into an alliance with six area churches as a partner in the Southside United Care Ministries, a benevolence ministry designed to combine resources in order to reach a larger population and minister to their needs. Minister Johnny Jones united with Shady Grove and joined the ministerial staff. Physically, we were able to renovate all of our older restrooms. More importantly, God was exalted through preaching of His Word and a dynamic, moving Music Ministry which grew with additions of Lead and Bass Guitarists and an additional Organist... all underscored by effectual teaching of the Word during two Bible Study sessions each week.

God blessed Shady Grove to witness another year in our history; we celebrated 138 years of Christian service. Always striving to be good stewards and having a mind to work; during 2004, the Grove Business Network (GBN) was established for the purpose of seeking out appropriate business investment opportunities designed to yield financial blessings for Kingdom building. We opened a Church Store in order to make available a variety of products, literature, materials and supplies for church members and ministries. An updated organ was acquired to enhance our musical worship and we were blessed to add Minister Mary Brown and Minister Dwain Cosby to the ministerial staff.

The Blessings continued as Shady Grove celebrated 139 years of Christian service. In 2005, a son of Shady Grove, Minister Emanuel Duncan, accepted God's call and was licensed into the Ministry and Minister Rudolph Kelley joined the ministerial staff. We received approval of 501 (C) (3) status from the IRS; clearing the way for us to apply for grant funding from private foundations, state and federal sources. As a result of the 501 (c) (3), our Ministry Development Coordinator was successful in gaining grant funding for the "Building Dreams Mentoring Program" and a Play & Learn Center. Pastor Nesbitt worked with our Christian Education Department to inaugurate the Wednesday night Bible Institute; consisting of three areas of study and inspiration: Old Testament Studies; Exploring Spiritual Gifts; Christian Applications for Married Couples.

As Shady Grove celebrated its 140th Church Anniversary, the manifestation of God's continued blessings was very evident. During 2006, video-taped Sunday worship services began airing on the Anderson Community Channel of Charter Cable Television. In addition, a Media Ministry was put into place in recognition of the great potential for media to be used to enhance worship and help meet the church's ministry objectives. Also, because of the growing number of individuals responsible for providing varying levels of care for loved ones, a very helpful and successful Care Giver's Support Group was established.

On April 15, 2007, Rev. James W. Nesbitt resigned as Pastor of Shady Grove. In the interim, our spiritual leaders engaged Minister Tiko Thurman to preach the Word each Sunday for Shady Grove. The Lord truly used this young Minister to bring forth a Word for the membership each Sunday and this was all highlighted and underscored by Rev. Thurman's anointed singing.

As we gathered to celebrate 141 years as a Christian church, we rendered all honor and praises to God Almighty; for he makes all things possible and through faith and trust in His promises, we were confident of the victory through Christ Jesus! Certainly, this church family experienced more than its share of heartaches and trials as that old enemy, Satan, tried his best to conquer us through division and strife. The devil thought that divided..we would fall..but what he did not understand was that a strong core membership worshipped and believed in the GOD OF UNITY!

The first Sunday in May 2008; the Lord moved again and Rev. J. Walter Hills, II began his tenure as the fifteenth pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church. With Pastor Hills, Shady Grove became "A Reflection of God's Love". It was Pastor Hills' desire that each member aspire to become a tiny mirror of Christ's love; all joining together to make one giant reflection of God's love for all mankind. The Pastor's strong belief was that working together, we could reach the level of unity that would yield a strong spiritual climate allowing God to pour into us His love overflowing, and shining forth as a great reflection that would draw men, women, boys and girls into the body of faith.

God allowed us to journey through another year! 2009 was a year where we, as African-Americans, saw something most of us did not think we would in our lifetime: Inauguration of this country's first Black President - Barack Obama. Yet, the year proved most challenging, where we had to deal with a failing economy and loss of jobs among our membership as well as the nation. However, the Lord gave us "just" what we needed and was always on time. We were reminded that it is in harsh times when the measure of our faith shines through. With dwindling budgets, our Pastor, Deacons and Ministry Development Coordinator planned economically-feasible ministry programs and activities which allowed us to continue spiritual growth. The preached Word through Pastor Hills reached new and growing heights..fanning the flames of faith and hope among Shady Grove members and congregants.

In 2010, this church family paused to pay tribute to The Omnipotent God for blessing us to reach 143 years of Christian Service; with a Larger Vision, a Mind to Work, and a continuing Reflection of God's Love. As a church body, we continued to ascribe to Christian ministry and individual spiritual growth through planned programs, activities and participation in Prayer Circle, Sunday School, Mid-Week & Tuesday Morning Bible classes AND Sunday morning worship services. God continued to bless, as well as challenge, the membership of Shady Grove; but we never doubted His promises.

At the dawn of 2011, we paused to celebrate our 144th Church Anniversary. We continued to be confident that God our Father had a purpose and plan for Shady Grove Baptist Church. Pastor Hills revealed his vision on January 16, 2011 and under his leadership, this was to be a year where we emphasized becoming more consistent in four areas of attendance and participation: (1) Sunday Morning Prayer Circle; (2) Sunday School; (3) Bible Study and (4) Sunday morning worship service. We knew that God would bless us to do it and we gave Him the praise and glory.

The year was 2012 and we celebrated Shady Grove's 145th Anniversary. A look back over the prior year revealed how God continued to bless us as a church family. We experienced a rebirth of the Sacred Dance Ministry and the birth of a Young Girls Ministry; both addressing Christian development and education of our youth. Under Pastor Hill's vision, the concept of "Impact Teams" was launched. These teams consisted of four or five different ministries grouped together to explore new ideas for church programming and activities. The teams were also designed to broaden and strengthen relationships of church members by creating more fellowship opportunities, increasing involvement of an expanded base of members, and foster a spirit of working together. In addition, the church experienced growth in spiritual leaders through ordaining two new Deacons and three Deaconesses. December 23, 2012 Rev. J. Walter Hills, II ended his tenure with Shady Grove Baptist Church and preached his last sermon on December 30, 2012.

It is now 2013 and Shady Grove is celebrating Anniversary 146. While missing a current pastor, the church is NOT missing God's Word. Our Heavenly Father is supplying one of his able preachers each-and-every Sunday; and for that, this congregation gives thanks. As we wait for Gods leading; our hearts and minds are tuned into, and turned toward Heaven..seeing that we faithfully expect the blessing He will send. After 146 years of Christian service, we "don't feel no ways tired" because God has brought us much too far..HE has a pastor already identified for Shady Grove. We will pray for the collective discernment to recognize the one He sends.

In the year of our Lord, 2014 and on the 147th Church Anniversary, Shady Grove Baptist Church members find that we are in a good place. God Almighty is blessing us to witness anointed preaching each week from Reverend Herbert Edwards, Jr. (one of His very able servants) sent to us in March 2013 as Interim Pastor. We learned that during times of human uncertainty, GOD always knows what He is doing! It only took a very short while for genuine love to develop between Interim Pastor and members..we love Pastor Edwards & his family and he (along with his family) love us. Pastor Edwards is ministering through a theme of "Prayer, Faith and Radical Praise" and anyone present during Sunday morning worship can surely see how he leads the way in "radical praise". What a delight to experience our spiritual leader coming into worship, literally bouncing with holy excitement and joining in the praise service. Under his interim leadership, the Shady Grove Wellness Ministry was launched and members committed to following a lifestyle and diet conducive to wellness. We are positive that Pastor Edwards is exactly where God means him to be for this season in Shady Grove's life because we are growing spiritually, learning to trust and support one another, and becoming more confident in God's magnificent plan for our future.

Each year we continue to behold a treasure of God's providence and provision. As we engage in RADICAL PRAISE, truly the Almighty is with us. EVERY PRAISE IS TO OUR GOD!!

Shady Grove Baptist Church Former Pastor

Reverend Peter Shorter Reverend Sammie Watkins Reverend L.B. Moon Reverend Michael A. Glenn
Reverend J.O. Allen Reverend W.H. Miller Reverend S.M. Glover Reverend James W. Nesbitt
Reverend John Washington Reverend J.C. Cowans Reverend S.A Mattison Reverend J. Walter Hills, II
Reverend R.W. Kennedy Reverend W.D. Stewart Reverend Dr. Kaiser Jones