After, the IPHC observed its denominational centennial in Falcon, NC, in 2011, a steady stream of local IPHC churches began celebrating their own centennials, 100 years of faithful ministry in their communities.
Two churches joined that group in recent weeks, Greenville First PHC in Greenville, NC, and Ebenezer PHC in West Columbia, SC. Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham was able to be present for both of those celebrations, and both not only celebrated the roots of their ministry but looked forward to increasing fruitfulness.
Ebenezer PHC spent a number of months preparing for their centennial. The church has focused its community ministry on the meaning of its name–Ebenezer means “stone of help.” A number of community leaders, including Mayor Cindy Campbell, joined the celebration. (Watch the service here.)
“As we conclude our first century of ministry,” Pastor Gene Henderson said in a message to the community, “I know our Forefathers would say that because of the members that make up the body, the church is in good hands.”
The church isn’t content to rest on previous ministry success, however. Bishop Beacham’s message encouraged the congregation to continue being a “light on a hill” in its community. Pastor Henderson and Ebenezer are taking that challenge to heart. They began revival services with Bishop Garry Bryant on the evening of their centennial celebration.
“We launch our next Century of ministry with Revival,” Pastor Henderson said. “We are stepping into our “Abrahamic Season,” a season of multiplication. This is not a prophecy to grow numerically, but rather a season of growing spiritually, sending and going.”
Greenville First PHC thought similarly about their centennial–as a launching pad for future ministry–with the tagline, “100 Years and Counting.” The nine charter members who gathered October 5, 1921, in the Baker home could not have envisioned the century of faithful ministry that grew out of that meeting. You can watch Greenville First’s celebration here.
Today, new pastors Michael and Leslie Bartlett hope to “carry on the rich heritage of Greenville First into this new season of connecting all generations to reach all generations for Christ.” The staff represents that intergenerational vision, with Pastor Bartlett joining seasoned ministers Raymond Potter (pastoral care) and Billy and Jessica Gore (worship pastors).
Bishop Beacham challenged Greenville First to remember their beginnings, particularly in the home ministry that sustained early IPHC congregations. Arise 2033, the church’s church planting initiative, hopes to see more ministry in homes, ministry that will grow into vibrant churches in our communities.