It was 1970 and I was a senior at West Forsyth High School. My family was very involved in a local Baptist church with my dad serving as a deacon and the superintendent of Sunday School. I was very involved as a teenager in the youth group. The church called a new pastor and shortly after this my parents started praying and talking about visiting other churches. This new pastor was NOT preaching from the Bible. To be honest, I didn’t really care. I was a senior in high school, my friends were at this church.. And to leave would be devastating.
My family started visiting many different churches in WS. Every Sunday it was a different church. We lived on Jonestown Rd. and would often drive past Calvary on our way home from other churches. We noticed that the parking lot would still be full of cars at 12:30pm and my dad would comment, “ Looks like that preacher preaches too long!” One Sunday morning during our search for a new church home we overslept. Dad infomed us to hurry, get dressed and we would go visit Calvary Baptist Church, that church on the corner of Peace Haven and Country Club Roads. I reminded him how he had said “ that preacher preaches too long”, and his response was “ we will just go this ONE Sunday.”
It is now 2019 – 49 years later, and my family is still loving and attending the church on the corner of Peace Haven and Country Club Roads, where “ the preacher preached TOO long.”
On that first Sunday we found a crowd of folks lined up on the sidewalk, waiting to enter the chapel/auditorium for worship, a line stretching out to Country Club Road. There were two worship services then, so we waited for the first service folks to exit for us to enter. Inside we found a Bible preaching church, the Spirit was alive and we truly felt the presence of the Lord in that place. My parents filled out a visitor’s card and later that week the pastor, Mark Corts came to visit our family. I remember my dad had prepared for the visit by writing out a long list of questions on a yellow legal pad. The first question on the list was, “How much money does Calvary give to missions?” My parents were tithers and strongly believed in the concept of missions, both home and foreign missions.
At that visit Mark Corts shared about Calvary’s commitment to Lottie Moon and to the Home Mission Board. Mark sat in our living room that night and answered all the questions on that legal pad. In addition to answering the many questions, Mark wanted to know about our family, about me and about what my plans were. On August 9th, 1970, a week before I left for Freshman Orientation, my family joined the church on the corner of Peace Haven and Country Club Roads, the church where the “preacher preached too long.” When we joined I still remember Mark knowing all our names and he remembered where I was going to college and shared with the congregation that I wanted to be a nurse.
I was sad to leave my “old” church, my friends, my comfortable place for over 10 years, but I trusted my parents and their decision for our family. Little did I know the impact that decision to join the church on the corner in 1970 would have on my life.
There are truly no words to describe the treasure of this Bible teaching, spirit filled church. We have been blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Word of God in such a practical way, so that the Bible can be applied to our daily life. Calvary has been a spiritual home where we have learned about God’s Word, and we have also learned about the value of serving and loving others in Jesus’ name. It is a place that empowers people to help and serve others. Our church is also where we have been equipped for marriage, parenting and life. Calvary is where we have been taught how to be a witness for Christ in our daily walk. We are so very grateful. There are no words to describe the impact of that decision on August 9, 1970. My dad left this earthly life “ early” at 53 years of age. Dad faithfully served and attended Calvary up until his death in 1980. My mom, now 93 years old, has also been a faithful member as well as my brother and his wife.
My husband, Doug joined the staff of Calvary in 1985 and had the opportunity to serve at Calvary for 31 years as Director of the Recreation Ministry. Doug has often said he would have “ worked for free.” He loved his job so much and the people he was able to minister to. All three of our grown children love Jesus and are serving Him. The impact of Calvary and the people of this great church on Doug and I and our children is immeasurable. I would love to thank individuals, but I am sure that I would leave someone out. The list would include Sunday School teachers, choir leaders, preschool and children’s ministry leaders, the youth department staff, VBS teachers, camp counselors and staff, World Changers leaders, sports programs and coaches through the CAC, Bible Drill leaders, the preaching and teaching every Sunday morning and Sunday night of Mark Corts and Gary Chapman and the entire pastoral staff. I can honestly say that our 3 children attended EVERY childrens’ camp, junior high camp, youth camp, World Changers trip, and Choir trip. I have no regrets for the financial sacrifice this often was. They were fed from God’s Word and shown God’s love over and over again. ( all the while having fun!
What a GIFT, A TREASURE!!
Doug and I have been majorly impacted with the ministry at Calvary. Through weekly Bible preaching and teaching, we have been and are taught about evangelism and discipleship. Our Sunday School ( Bible Fellowship) classes, CEI classes, marriage enrichment and family development have brought much growth in our Christian walk. We learned about sharing our faith through Share Life Evangelism. We have had the opportunity to go on mission trips. We have been loved, cared for and prayed for. As crises have come in our family we have always felt Calvary wrap their arms around us, pray for us and be there for us…..from the sudden death of my dad in 1980, a tornado hitting our home in 1989, the illness of our children, Doug’s brain injury in 2010..I could go on and on. Calvary’s people are faithful and loyal and loving.
To God be the Glory Great Things He has done.
I Corinthians 2:9 “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived-these things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
One of my favorite memories of Mark Corts is a saying he often used in the pulpit or in his writing to our church family.
” I will look for you this Lord’s Day with a Bible in your hand,a friend by your side and the love of Christ in your heart.”
That pretty much sums up Calvary Baptist Church.
Bible Preaching , evangelism and discipleship and showing the Love of Christ to each other and others.