Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

April 13, 2010

Carter-Munsch Baptist Church

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Not many people have ever heard of Carter-Munsch Baptist Church.  The generations that worshipped there have mostly passed on or moved away.  The church does not exist today.  Yet, this church has had a very significant role in God’s Kingdom.  The members there in the 1950’s will be rewarded in heaven for their impact on a young minister.

In my blog of March 8, 2010 entitled My First Church, I introduced the first church I pastored.  Flag Branch Baptist Church had services only on the first and third Sundays of each month.  During the time at this church, I began to preach at Carter-Munsch Baptist Church on my free Sundays.  They asked me to  become their pastor, and I accepted.

The church got its name from the public school.  This had been a one-room school house and was abandoned as the area grew and a new school was built for a larger area.  The school had been named for two prominent men.  In the abandoned school house, a Baptist church was organized and gave itself the name of the school.  Although there were no stores in the area, it was soon known as the Carter-Munsch Church Community.  The church was the only public building.

All the roads were unpaved, and farms and ranches covered the landscape.  Everyone knew one another and most of the families had lived there for generations.  These folks  accepted a young man with very little experience.  They were kind, generous, and patient.  They were helpful and encouraging, and they gave me a discipline in developing ministry skills.

There are many memories about this church.  I recall the thrill when two young boys made a decision of salvation.  I went that Sunday afternoon to their home.  As I drove up and walked to the gate, the mother was in the yard.  “Don’t come in here, preacher, I know why you have come.  My boys don’t know what they are doing,” she shouted.

I felt the boys did understand the faith decision they had made.  And being an inexperienced preacher and a brash college student, I responded in a way unbecoming of a minister.  “Ma’am, I know they understand.  I think it is you who does not understand.  If you would come to church, or let me explain it to you . . . .”  And she cut me off and told me to leave.  I learned a lot through that experience.  My deep regret was that the boys were never allowed to come back to church, and I feared it was because of my attitude.

One unforgettable moment was during the winter.  The building became unusually warm.  Behind the pulpit was a large picture on the wall.  Unknown to us, wasps had made a home there!  As the building got hotter, the wasps came out.  I was the closest person, or course.  One or two of the wasps hit my neck and went down into my collar.  I hit at the back of my neck, not knowing what was there.  They stung me good.  I expressed some discomfort, but went right on preaching.  I think I gained some respect that day!

As the church began to grow, we needed space for Sunday School classes.  Although it was called a one-room school building, it did have two small rooms inside.  To meet the need for classes beyond those two rooms and one in the worship center, we put wire across the sanctuary in such a way that we could draw curtains and create four classes.  I used to say that if you didn’t like what your teacher was saying, just lean over against the curtain and listen to the teacher in the other class!

These were special days in my life.  I shall always be grateful for their investment in my life and ministry. With developing communities near by, the new paved roads, and the young adults moving into the city, the demise came to this wonderful church a few years ago.  But the faith and commitment of this congregation made the Kingdom on this earth stronger.  And only heaven will reveal how my life was influenced by them.

There are so many small congregations across our land that serve the Kingdom by their willingness to call young pastors.  It takes a special church for this ministry.  Yet, God has raised up many!  If your church is contributing in this way, thank you and may you be blessed!  God has something special for such churches and congregations!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel . . . .”   (Philippians 1:3,4)   “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Thessalonians 1:3)



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