Faith and family: Work never done for Highland Baptist

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

By Morgan Mizell

The Natchez Democrat

When you are working for the Lord, your work is never done. That is the feeling Stephanie McCall has about the many yearly ministries Highland Baptist Church undertakes each year.

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The wife of Bruce McCall, Highland’s minister of music, Stephanie spends a great deal of her time serving in various capacities in the church.

“I am known for my role with Vacation Bible School,” McCall said. “Everyone in the church has a role, and we all work well together, and I think it has helped our members bond and our church to grow.”

The church, which began as Cloverdale Baptist Church, moved to its current location on Highland Boulevard in Natchez after the congregation outgrew its building and parking area.

“We are a mission-minded church, and we work,” McCall said. “If you are interested in a church where the truth is preached and you don’t mind working, you may want to come visit us.”

Several of the church outreach ministries have grown to numbers requiring them to be held outside or in other places aside from the church.

“We will host our tenth wildlife expo this year,” McCall said. “It will take place in the Vidalia Convention and Conference Center on the river front on the 8th of September.”

McCall said the expo has grown every year and last year’s attendance exceeded 1,200 participants. The event includes Christian speakers, wildlife vendors and a separate area for the kids.

“We are looking forward to this year’s expo because it is going to be bigger as it will be a celebration of our 10th year,” McCall said. “We have always had a positive feedback on the event and the parents enjoy the fact the kids have a place to enjoy themselves while the parents shop and listen to the speakers.”

Members of the church will begin preparing the stage and props for their outdoor Easter drama. McCall said volunteers work tirelessly to build sets for the event, and they have people who bring in bleacher seating and professional lighting.

“It is a powerful event,” McCall said. “It is all live and we even use live animals and real whips.”

She said they rehearse the entire month of March in order to give a wonderful performance each year. The event will take place the Friday and Saturday night before Easter Sunday at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Another theatrical-style event they have begun performing is “Heaven’s Gates and Hells Flames.” The church previously rotated this event with the Team Impact.

“We only wanted to do the play if no other church was doing it, and when we found out no one else was doing it, we wanted to make sure it was done,” McCall said. “ We had an amazing response from attendees and participants.”

The drama, which includes several skits about choices people make and their destinations during the final judgment, is a powerful piece that McCall says has brought the church members closer together.

“We would meet in a room each night before the performance to pray over the event,” McCall said. “Since the play ended, we have included this ‘war room prayer session’ prior to our weekly Sunday night service.”

Many of the church ministries involve the children. McCall teaches a Wednesday evening class for girls called Girls in Action, or GAs for short. They are involved with several events throughout the year, including collecting items that will be packed later in the year during ‘Operation Christmas Child.’ They are currently collecting coloring books for the gift boxes. They also have a boys group called the Royal Ambassadors and a younger group called Mission Friends.

The Children’s Outreach ministry recently visited the Magnolia House Assisted Living Home to visit with residents there. They gave out hugs and sang songs.

“Every person works,” McCall said. “It doesn’t matter how old they are, they can be of service and we try to promote that from the start.”

This evening the church sanctuary will be transformed, as the youth put on a Valentine’s Day special for members of the church. They totally redecorate according to the theme they decide upon each year and they have a wonderful meal provided for those in attendance.

“We do a lot all year long in service of the Lord,” McCall said. “We are called to be the light, and we are doing all we can to get out there and share His message with the world.”

McCall said everyone in the church contributes in some aspect and this is important to the success of each event they have.

“When you host big events, you have to have good people on your team and we do,” McCall said. “Once people commit you have to know they are going to do their part and you don’t have to worry about it any more.”

McCall said anyone who is looking for a church home is welcome to visit Highland during regular service times. Sunday school meets every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. and worship service begins at 11 a.m. Sunday evening prayer starts at 4:30 p.m. with the evening service starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday night Bible study and youth discipleship training at 6:30 p.m.