Shelby Baptist Association welcomes 2 new congregations

Published 10:41 am Friday, December 21, 2018

By Michael Brooks / Special to the Reporter 

ALABASTER – The Shelby Baptist Association welcomed two new churches to its membership this fall, and the churches have the distinction of being the second and third ethnic congregations in the association.

The Vietnamese North Shelby Baptist Church and the Jesus the Good Shepherd Church, a Hispanic congregation, ended their watch care status and became full members of the Shelby family of churches by unanimous vote at the association’s quarterly executive committee meeting in Columbiana. Moderator Michael J. Brooks presided.

“This is a wonderful day for us, and we’re blessed to have these two great churches with us,” said Allan Murphy, retired pastor of North Shelby Baptist Church and chair of the association’s Credentials Committee.

Murphy explained that the Missions Development Council works to encourage new churches, and the Credentials Committee then proceeds to encourage the new congregations in their development.

“We talked with both groups,” Murphy said, “and both churches are theologically sound, committed to Baptist practice and cooperative in their approach. Both are trying to bring people to Christ and grow their congregations in God’s grace.”

Murphy said a Vietnamese family joined North Shelby when he was pastor. Later they brought friends to talk with him about sponsoring a Vietnamese congregation.

“We hosted them for about 10 years,” he said. “They went through three pastors during that time. One of the former pastors lived in Marietta, Ga. and drove to Birmingham every week. But pastor Jeremiah Doan lives in the city and is a full-time pastor. His wife is a nurse at Grandview Hospital not far from our church.”

The Vietnamese North Shelby Baptist Church is fulfilling a lend-lease agreement with the mother church, purchasing one of North Shelby’s original buildings, and will own it in about two years, Murphy said.

The Jesus the Good Shepherd Church is hosted by the First Baptist Church of Pelham. Juan Carlos Castillo is pastor.

“The Pelham mission is long-established, and legally recognized as a church, but was without a pastor for a season,” said Director Cary Hanks of the Central Alabama Baptist Hispanic Ministry Coalition.

“The church has been under the association’s watch care for some time. Pastor Juan came from Texas and has been a welcomed addition.”

Hanks said the new church is meeting in the choir room at First Baptist.

“They have Bible study, morning worship and a Friday night worship,” he said. “The church has a long-range plan of owning their own facilities. They’re self-supporting and providing ten percent of their receipts to the mother church.”

The two congregations joined the Crossway Christian Fellowship, currently meeting at the YMCA in Pelham, as ethnic congregations in the SBA. Crossway is about 75 percent African-American, according to Shelby Associational Missionary Dr. Hugh Richardson. Dr. Fred Muse is the pastor. He also serves as a chaplain at the Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

Richardson said he was delighted to welcome the two new churches.

“Each congregation is doctrinally strong, and their pastors have a strong commitment to evangelism and disciple-making,” he said. “I believe that God will use them to advance the kingdom in our greater Shelby County community.”