H I S T O R Y O F C H U R C H
In the 1930ís, some residents of Hallís Ridge Road near
Princeton, WV, felt led of the Lord to establish a Sunday School in the
community. They met in a little schoolhouse on the ridge known as Johnston
School. With school consolidation, the Mercer County School Board agreed to
allow them to purchase the building on February 12, 1942. The Sunday School
expanded to include preaching services and various preachers from the area
filled the pulpit.
Jimmie Jones, a lay speaker from Goodview, VA, visited
and preached his first sermon on Motherís Day in 1953. He later started
holding services every other weekend. On December 8, 1953, with 17 members
attending, the church was organized. Mr. Jones continued to preach and was
extended a call to become the full-time pastor in September, 1954. On
November 14, 1954, with a total membership of 50, the roll for charter
members was closed. The Jones family moved to West Virginia on January 5,
1955, and ďPreacher JimmieĒ began his long and fruitful pastorate at Johnston
The church continued to grow as Preacher Jimmieís strong
evangelistic ministry resulted in many souls saved and a rapidly growing
membership. A small block stucco building had been built to replace the old
school building in 1953, but the growth required several building programs in
the next two decades. When membership reached 200 in 1959, the church added
more auditorium seating, Sunday School rooms and a baptistery. In 1963, with
membership now at 400, a 50` by 90` auditorium was added to the building.
With growth continuing to 600 members, the Lord provided for the church to
purchase about 43 acres across the road for $18,000 from Mrs. Willie Thayer
Swim in 1967. In 1973, a two-story educational/office building was built on
the new property, and in 1977, the present auditorium seating almost 500 was
added, along with a fellowship hall and kitchen on the lower level.
In the 1984-85 school year, the church began to
co-sponsor Mercer Christian Academy with Maranatha Baptist Church. Maranatha
had started the school four years earlier, and it had outgrown their
facilities. The partnership between the two churches continues to this day,
with the elementary campus at Maranatha and the middle school/high school
campus at Johnston Chapel. In 1986, a gymnasium was built by Johnston Chapel
to accommodate both school activities and church ministries.
In January of 1991, Preacher Jimmie retired after 37
years of faithful ministry. The church had called John King, who had grown
up in the church and had pastored for 17 years in North Carolina, Florida &
Indiana, as the new Senior Pastor in June of 1990. Jimmie and John served
together for six months in a transitional ministry, and John became the
Senior Pastor in January of 1991. He resigned in the spring of 2008 to
become the Dean of Graduate Studies and a faculty member at Appalachian Bible
College in Bradley, WV. In July of 2008, Bobby Sizemore, a retired pastor of
38 years at Elkview Baptist Church near Charleston, WV, became the Interim
Lord led Pastor John back to Johnston Chapel after 18 months of ministry with
Appalachian Bible College. He once again became the Pastor of Johnston
Chapel Baptist Church in January of 2010.
God has continued to keep His hand on Johnston Chapel,
and the church has continued to grow spiritually, numerically, in staff and
in ministries. We continue to see people saved and added to the church, with
membership reaching 981 in May of 2008 and attendance averaging 550-570.
The church has been blessed with the ministry of very
capable associate pastors since the early 1970ís, when the first Associate
Pastor was called. Pastoral staff has grown to the present level with the
addition of three more ministry positions since 1991. The present staff of
five pastors, three secretaries, and three maintenance personnel can be
viewed on the church web site
click here. In addition, scores of faithful people in the church have
given of themselves to lead or serve in a wide variety of ministries.
The growth of the church has witnessed the development
of new ministries to enable us to reach out to people at their point of need
and train them to become fully committed and devoted followers of Christ. In
1993, a second morning worship service was added, and in 2002 the second
morning service was changed to a contemporary worship style. Ministries such
as DivorceCare, DivorceCare for Kids, GriefShare, MOPS (Mothers of
Preschoolers), and Good $ense Budget Course have helped us to target needs
and reach out to people beyond our church. Aggressively partnering with
ministries like Bluefield Union Mission, Abel Crisis Pregnancy Center, Heaven
Sent Ministries, Tender Mercies Food Pantry and We Can Program has moved us
outside our walls to serve our community in Christís love.
Our passion for missions is seen in the 70+
families and agencies we support, sending out four missionary families from
our church, and regularly sending adult and student mission teams to serve
alongside our missionaries. Our vision for the future is seen in a
major building and renovation project completed in 2009, which included a
five-bay garage/storage building, a state-of-the-art children's ministry
room, a renovated student ministries room, and plans for a new
nursery/toddler suite and a new office suite.
The future of Johnston Chapel looks to be even brighter
than the wonderful testimony of Godís past blessings. We are committed to
looking ahead to even more effective ways of evangelism, worship, fellowship,
discipleship and ministry for His glory.