Searcy follows God’s call

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 1999

In just over two years, one church has grown from two people to 1,300 and it continues to burst at the seams.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church has grown so much that the pastor and congregation will break ground today at 10 a.m. on a new church, next door to the existing building. The new facility will seat 4,500 people.

The Rev. Stanley B. Searcy Sr. is founder and pastor of the church.

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&uot;Two years and seven months ago, the Lord laid on our heart to pastor a church,&uot; Searcy said. &uot;I didn’t want to. I’ve always been an evangelist, but God spoke to me and said to begin a church.&uot;

Searcy didn’t step into an established church. He began a new one.

Driving on Morgantown Road, Searcy was drawn to a small building with a much smaller &uot;for rent&uot; sign on it.

He contacted the owner, Katherine Seale.

&uot;She had already turned down three offers to rent the building,&uot; Searcy said. &uot;She asked me if I was a preacher,&uot; he said. After Searcy confirmed that he was, she asked him what kind of preacher he was.

&uot;I told her I was a Baptist preacher,&uot; he said.

At the end of the rapid fire interview, Searcy had a new home for his new church – New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

Renting the space was a step of faith for Searcy and his wife, Brenda. There was no established congregation and much work to be done to turn the building into a church.

&uot;In the first month, we had 100 members,&uot; Searcy said. &uot;In the second month, we had 200 members, and it continued like that for months.&uot;

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church continues to expand.

The congregation has purchased two Greyhound buses to transport church members to church services out of town.

&uot;We used to convoy to services. What a sight that was,&uot; Searcy said.

The church is also about to open a 24-hour day care center and a kitchen to feed to the poor and indigent, he said.

&uot;The majority of these ideas come from the church,&uot; Searcy said. &uot;The real story of this church is its people.&uot;

Many church members are also skilled craftsmen, completing most of the renovation work to the old church building themselves.

Searcy said the church owns its own bulldozer and has begun preparation of the construction site for the new church themselves.

&uot;This is one of the most unique church families I’ve ever seen,&uot; he said. &uot;Everyone works together and works well.&uot;