Many have said Sandy Run Baptist Church went “From The Wilderness To The Hilltop” and have told the story of the church in the book bearing that title (Gastonia, NC: E.P. Press, 1974). To say the story of Sandy Run is anything but a testimony to the faithfulness of God would be an understatement. The church has borne her share of struggles and celebrated her share of victories. In the next several paragraphs, we would like to share the brief story of Sandy Run Baptist Church with you. We believe that our story is a part of the greater and grander story of God. It is our prayer that as you read of God’s faithfulness to all generations through this story, you will hear God’s voice in your own life and respond to that voice through faith in Jesus Christ.
In 1772, the American Declaration of Independence from the tyrannical grip of the English was but a dream. Yet, the foundations of our nation were in place and the historical ball was rolling toward a revolution. And in a region of the soon-to-be-founded country that would come to be known as Cleveland County, North Carolina, there was another movement. A revolution of the heart and spirit, if you will.
The congregation gathered for worship close to the Sandy Run Creek and the first mention of gifts to the church were recorded in “shillings.” In those days, the only recognized church was the Church of England which led the Sandy Run congregation to use the title of “Meeting House” as a means of establishment. Within an area of nearly fifty miles it is believed that the Sandy Run congregation was the only organized group of Christian believers. The church became the place where the community turned for spiritual guidance as well as the expression of social concern and the law of the land often came from within the church. The church stood as a lighthouse; providing light to settlers in a new land as they made their way into the new world.
In the years of establishment in the community, the church was led by the Rev. Drewry Dobbins. Rev. Dobbins was known as a pioneer of the Baptist cause in the area and served as Pastor of Sandy Run for forty years. Through the decades, and even centuries, Sandy Run has been led by many devout men of God. These men have served the Lord with gladness as shepherd, preacher, pastor, minister, and leader to God’s people at Sandy Run. The Rev. W.G. Camp served his Lord and his people for well over twenty years, bringing the church into the mid 1900’s. Following Rev. Camp were the Revs. Ginn, Lankford, Hill, and Hendrick. Sandy Run was led into the twenty first century under the pastoral skill of the Rev. Andy Oliver. Each of these men have given of themselves in service to our Lord, and will be remembered for their efforts, gifts, and dedication. In June, 2012, the Rev. Andrew Rawls was called as Pastor of Sandy Run Baptist Church.
The story that is Sandy Run is a remarkable story. A much more detailed telling of the story can be found in the pages of the book “From The Wilderness To The Hilltop” (cited above). While the hand of God has been at work in the lives and ministries of Sandy Run for more than 240 years, the story is not finished. There are pages left to be filled. There are chapters left to be written. You are invited to join the story of God’s activity in Mooresboro through the ministries of Sandy Run Baptist Church.