Grist Creek Baptist Church – The Church Journey
2020 May 7
I had the privilege to visit Gist Creek Baptist Church which was organized in 1869. In 1889 there were 126 members. Pastor N. H. Haggard moderated the first recorded minutes in 1887 with G. W. Waters serving as clerk. Reverend C. Rule became pastor in 1888. Collection for the new pastor came to 35 cents. Reverend G. A. Atchley accepted the call to pastor Gists Creek in 1889. 
By 1891, the church building needed repair. The first building was on a hill above the Fate and Sally Robert Reed home, better known as the Andy DeLozier property. The old church building was made into a schoolhouse, the Reeds School. Later it was torn down and moved to the Dave Mize property. The former Gists Creek property was made into the Gists Creek Cemetery. 
When a new church was built, community folks worked free of charge. Reverend Jim Brown, building contractor, held the first revival in the new church. The first missionary “society” began the first Sunday in July 1891. From September 1891 to January 1892, the women, with help from the men, collected $4.24, an average of 85 cents per month, as their sacrificial gift to missions. 
In 1897 church was meeting in Ingles School House but by March, 1898, they voted to lock the old church doors, sell the house, and with money from the old building, to enclose the graveyard and use the remainder for building a new church house. Some of the accomplishments through the years were to dig a well, build an outdoor baptismal pool, enlarge the parking area, carpet the church, and others. In 1952, $1,750 was used to build Sunday School rooms and buy furniture. In 1954, the church bought a furnace, insulated the building and added new windows and the next year, brought pews and two chairs for the pulpit. 
Many improvements were made through the years including building additional Sunday School rooms. Gists Creek was blessed with many faithful pastors, each contributing to the physical and spiritual welfare of the church. 
Gists Creek Baptist Church is a beautiful red brick building standing on a hill on Gists Creek Road just a few miles off of the old Knoxville-Sevierville Pike. The views from this church presents tranquil country setting with rolling hills lined with tall mature trees surrounded by green open fields.
I found this newspaper clipping from Oct 16 1930, it reported that 35 converts of the revival closed Friday night at Grist Creek Baptist Church were baptized Sunday afternoon, the crowd being so large that the new members stood outside the church during the ceremony of extending the hand of fellowship. 
Sitting on the elevated entry of the church provided a scenic view that hasn’t changed much over the years. As I spent time in prayer and meditation my mind ponders back to that day in October 1930, where a crowd being so large the new members stood outside during the ceremony. I prayed for a new rival to emerge from this global pandemic. That people hearts would be renewed, and led back to Christian churches once they reopen to the public.
Over the years I have listened to many people say their Grandparents lived in a much different world. That was also true for my grandparents. They lived during the Great depression, and Word War II where rationing was the norm. The Great Depression was difficult, but not devastating for most. To make it through the challenges people relied on family. They all stuck together they learned how to deal with adversity during difficult times. More importantly they relied their faith in God to carry them through. Faith in God gives us hope in the midst of dark times, as we try to navigate the challenges in this world. It’s a good opportunity for our heart to grow in our Lord Jesus Christ.
My grandparents shared with me the importance of having a strong faith in Jesus Christ. Fast forward to our current times, we our living in the middle of fear and adversity caused by a global pandemic. One of the most important gifts we can pass on to our children and grand children is the Good News in Christ. Don’t underestimate the impact you have on young children. What a tragedy it would be if we don’t pass this gift along to future generations. During this pandemic we have a perfect window of opportunity to create heart connections with our families, as well as teaching the importance of faith to get you through difficult times.
(7 May 2020) – The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation.
If we look at the life of Jesus, we see that he prayed with others (Luke 9:28), for others (Matthew 19:13-14), and on his own (Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12). It was a significant part of how He approached each day and every decision, faithfully spending time in prayer.
Through prayer, God makes Himself available to us. Through prayer, we invite the God into our lives. Prayer changes things, but even more prayer changes us. Through prayer, we have the opportunity to reach our full potential in Christ.
With the National emergency for the COVID-19 virus many churches are remaining closed to the public. I spent time outside the church in meditation and prayer. The lack of pictures from inside the church leaves a void in the stories I share. I pray that churches are able to open up to the public soon.
Date Visited: 2020 April 17th.
Location: 1158 Gists Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN.
The solid red brick church sits at the top of a rolling hill overlooking the vast countryside. The front features a concrete stairway leading up to white wooden doors at the entrance to the sanctuary. Looking at the roofs peak you see a white wooden cupola tower extending into the blue sky The church has stained-glass windows going down the side of the building, which provides light to flow into the sanctuary during the day.
Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.
If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.
May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.
“So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” – (1 Corinthians 2:5)
May this find you well and happy, God Bless
- Newspapers. com, “35 Added to Church Boyd’s Creek” 1930, October 13, The Knoxville Journal. Knoxville Tn.
- Mary Jane Mcroskey, Jewel Clark, “History Sevier County” 2020, May 3, Retrieved from: http://history.seviercountytn.org/Churhis/GISTS%20CREEK%20BAPTIST.pdf (Information came from Mary Jane McCroskey, Jewel Clark, and her mother, Mrs. Lona Rule Clark, the oldest member at age 95 (1989).