True Gospel Baptist Church
By: Chris Lee
Seeking God’s will for their lives and looking to him for leadership; a small group of people met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Lee in September of 1973 and formed True Gospel Baptist Church. The church was officially constituted on November 30, 1973.
Under our first Pastor, Rev. James M. Hughes and his wife, Mrs. Annie Ruth Hughes, the church began to grow and prosper. The members met in each other’s homes and in a Lithonia, Georgia funeral home until a more permanent facility was found. That meeting place was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Wimpey. Church service was held in the basement and Sunday School upstairs. The Ladies of the church met around Mrs. Wimpey’s dining room table, the children met in the living room, and the Men met in the basement.
A plot of land was found and purchased by the side of Pleasanthill Road in Conyers, Georgia. Numerous fund raising campaigns were began including selling bonds, yard sales, bake sales, and concession stands to aid in the construction of the church building. During this time, Preacher Hughes resigned as Pastor of the church. He felt that God was leading him to work elsewhere. Rev. Otto and Mrs. Alice Ellington, along with 3 of their 4 daughters (Debbie, Donna & Diane) came in and he was elected Pastor. Rev. Jimmy H. Lee was ordained and became the Assistant Pastor and Rev. Ronald A. Lee was ordained and became the Youth Pastor. They both served in these positions a couple of years.
The building was completed with the people of the church spending numerous weekend hours working on it. I myself remember, as a child, spending Saturdays scraping paint and cleaning windows. The big day finally arrived and we moved into the building. The church building, very basic, consisted of a sanctuary, 4 Sunday School class rooms, and 2 bathrooms but we were as proud of it as if it had been a mighty cathedral.
After 3 years of service, Preacher Ellington resigned and Rev. Winford and Mrs. Joyce Daniels, with children – Allen, Randall, Ilene, & Paul, came in to Pastor the church. The first Sunday he was here, he requested that a choir be started. From that first day until now, under the leadership of Rev. Jimmy Lee, the choir has blessed many people. The spirit-filled singing of the True Gospel Baptist Church choir has helped to encourage worship and praise in congregations both here at the home church and also at numerous other churches for revival and special singing services.
Preacher Daniels served as pastor for 3 years. Upon his resignation, Rev. Hubert D. Tripp, with his wife, Mrs. Ethel Tripp, and sons, Mike and Stacy, began to serve in the role of pastor and family at the church. Preacher Tripp served the church for 22 ½ years until he passed away in March of 2001. Under his leadership the church grew and numerous building projects were undertaken and completed. Some of these include a new wing with 4 Sunday School classrooms and a Fellowship Hall behind the church. Also, the church installed stain glass windows, the steeple, and the sign out in front during Preacher Tripp’s pastorate. In 1988, the sanctuary was remodeled with new carpeting, light fixtures, and furniture. True Gospel Baptist Church was truly the life of Preacher Tripp. He gave his all as pastor and is very much missed by those who were fortunate to be members during his tenure.
After the death of Preacher Tripp, Rev. Roy and Mrs. Sheila Hammond came to the church. He served as pastor for 8 years, during which time the church enjoyed much growth and prosperity. During his pastorate, a focus was placed on the youth of the church. Recognizing that tomorrow’s church is built on the young people of today, a Youth Group, under the leadership of Ryan and Alecia Cash was started. Numerous camps and retreats were undertaken to disciple and help the kids of the church grow and prosper spiritually and our children are an integral part of our church. An AWANA’s program was also started at the church and it has become an outreach ministry both to the church children and also to the children in our community. God has blessed this ministry with many of these kids accepting Christ as their personal savior.
After the resignation of Preacher Roy, Rev. Kevin Kuykendall and his wife Mrs. Mishelle Kuykendall, along with their 3 children, Cody, Courtney, and Canon, came to us as Pastor. The membership embraced Preacher Kevin’s vision for the church - “Reaching a New Generation the Old Fashioned Way”. He was instrumental in the successful growth of existing ministries at the church, including the growth of the Youth Group (The King’s Kid’s), growth of the AWANA’s outreach ministry, and also expanding the outreach of our church to include community visitation and communication (known here at the church as C4) and the birth of a Mission’s program. In 2012, the youth group was split into separate age groups – The King’s Kids for those 12 and under and B.A.S.I.C. (Becoming A Soldier In Christ) for the teens. Bro. Dale and Sis. Cheryl Mauldin lead the King’s Kids and Bro. Timmy and Sis. Danita Thomason lead B.A.S.I.C. In June 2013, Timmy and Danita stepped down as leaders. The torch was passed to Dale & Cheryl Mauldin and the 2 groups merged back together as the King’s Kid’s.
Through the years, the ladies of our church have participated in a Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). Over the past few years, the WMU had dwindled to only a few participants. Sister Mishelle Kuykendall, along with the current president, Sister Rachel King, breathed new life into this vital ministry of our church and they are currently working under the name SSC (Sisters Serving Christ) to aid members in our church along with helping to minister to those in our community.
In March of 2013, Brother Kevin informed the church that God was leading him to pursue other avenues of ministry. His last Sunday at True Gospel was April 4. Although the people hated to see the Kuykendalls go, the church accepted his resignation and began the search for a new pastor.
In August the church called Rev. Adam Southerland, a third generation pastor, to lead the church. He, his wife Kim, and their 2 little girls, Kate and Anna Claire, began ministering in the church on September 9, 2013. On March 27, 2016 Case Adam Southerland came along, rounding out their family and giving the church another little one to spoil. The Southerlands truly blessed the church. Not only did he preach, but Bro. Adam is also a gifted teacher. Mrs. Kim shared Adam’s heart for the people and worked side-by-side with him as they ministered to the congregation.
Brother Adam’s vision for the church involved “Growing in Grace”; both corporately and individually. His messages each week were geared toward growing; they showed the lost the need for Jesus as their Savior and they stimulated the Christian to grow spiritually in Christ. True Gospel Baptist Church saw much growth during Pastor Southerland’s tenure as Pastor. Many people, both young and old, came to know Jesus personally through the ministry of Brother Adam.
The members of True Gospel looked forward to many years of Pastoral leadership from Brother Adam, but that was not God’s plan. On March 3, 2019, after preaching a sermon on “Pulling up Stakes When Things are Going Good”, he had to tell the church that God was finished with him at True Gospel and his family would be leaving. Though hard to accept, the church had trusted that he was following God’s will for 5 ½ years, so they had to trust him in this, too. March 31st was the Southerland family’s last day with True Gospel.
Rev. Virgil Barnard, former Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church of Stone Mountain and more recently Covington, Georgia was elected to fill in as Interim until a new Pastor could be installed. Brother Virgil and his wife, Mrs. Dolores, were very special to True Gospel. They didn’t allow health problems and advanced age to deter them from the work that God had given them. The church was truly blessed to have this bible scholar and prophecy expert leading them and are grateful to Brother Virgil for his love and dedication to True Gospel along with his legacy of 50+ years of service to the family of God.
August 18, Dr. Joe Cox became our pastor. We excitedly welcomed he, his wife Melanie, and their family – Madison, Makenzie & Noah Pauley, Maze, Max, Mahlon, and Mariah to our church family! The Cox family works together ministering to the congregation. He preaches and teaches and Mrs. Melanie ministers to the ladies of the church as well as sings with their children. She's also a gifted musician - able to fill in for both the pianist and organist. Their children also have a heart to work in the church. Within a few months their son, Madison, began directing the youth choir and was.elected as the Assistant Minister of Music. Their daughter, Makenzie, and her husband, Noah, became commanders of the AWANA program along with Will and Brianna Thomas.
True Gospel Baptist Church is excited about our History and we look forward to what God has planned for our future.
Important happenings in True Gospel history:
Rev. Jimmy H. Lee and Rev. Ronald A. Lee – first persons ordained by the church
Bryan Swain – first person saved in the church (in the home of Billy & Jackie Fountain)
Jody Lee – first baby born in the church (born to Jimmy & Brenda Lee)
1st Wedding held in the church sanctuary – Ronnie McBee & Donna Ellington
1st Funeral held in the church sanctuary – Mrs. Teresa Patterson
Baptismal Pool was installed in 1978 – First persons baptized in it were, Paul Daniels, Lynn Johnson, Chris Lee, Belva & Sarah Salyers, and Randy Wimpey
Charter Members of True Gospel Baptist Church are:
Rev. & Mrs. James M. Hughes
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Covington
Mr. Ray Croy
Mr. & Mrs. Billy Fountain
Mrs. Venia Mae Hart
Mr. & Mrs. Dan Lee
Rev. & Mrs. Jimmy Lee
Miss Lou Ellen Lee
Mrs. Mae Ellen Lee
Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Lee
Mrs. Lucille Hart Mitchell
Mrs. A. M. Nelms
Mr. & Mrs. Joe Parr
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Patterson
Mr. & Mrs. Don Rice
Mrs. Irene Rutledge
Mr. & Mrs. John Shelton
Mr. & Mrs. L.C. Spivey
Mr. & Mrs. J.T. Swain
Mrs. Lucy Wilburn
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wimpey,
Eddie, John & Paul Wimpey
Men who have served as Pastor and their Wives:
Rev. James M. & Mrs. Annie Ruth Hughes
Rev. Otto & Mrs. Alice Ellington
Rev. Jimmy & Mrs. Brenda Lee (Assistant Pastor)
Rev. Winford & Mrs. Joyce Daniels
Rev. Hubert & Mrs. Ethel Tripp
Rev. Roy & Mrs. Sheila Hammond
Rev. Kevin & Mrs. Mishelle Kuykendall
Rev. Adam & Mrs. Kim Southerland
Rev. Virgil & Mrs. Dolores Barnard (Interim Pastor)
Dr. Joe & Mrs. Melanie Cox
Men who have served as Deacons in the church:
Mr. Mike Burns
Mr. Ryan Cash
Mr. Robert Covington (deceased)
Mr. Herbert Doster
Mr. Walt Elsner (deceased)
Mr. Dubb Fuller
Mr. Rick Hardy
Mr. Harold Johnson (deceased)
Mr. Dan Lee (deceased)
Mr. Dennis Lee
Mr. Malvin Lee (deceased)
Mr. J.C. Ledford (deceased)
Mr. Homer Milam
Mr. Bobby Moon
Mr. Jimmy Murray (deceased)
Mr. Joe Parr (deceased)
Mr. John Shelton (deceased)
Mr. Wallace Shockley
Mr. Grady Spivey (deceased)
Mr. L.C. Spivey
Mr. J.T. Swain
Mr. Richard Wimpey (deceased)
Mr. Randy Wimpey (deceased)
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