Clear Creek Baptist Association recognized two churches for 200-plus years of service at their annual meeting in October. Shiloh Baptist Church in Mounds and Jonesboro First Baptist Church are two of four “Illinois Bicentennial Churches” that have been existence since the time of Illinois’ statehood in 1818.
Shiloh was established in 1817, and FBC Jonesboro turns 200 at the end of this year. Clear Creek Director of Missions Tony Auxier noted in the association’s recent newsletter that 13 current Clear Creek churches were planted through the efforts of Shiloh and Jonesboro FBC.
The two congregations join First Baptist Church, Elizabethtown, and Bankston Fork Baptist Church in Harrisburg on the list of IBSA churches with at least 200 years in their communities.
The bicentennial churches hold a place in Illinois Baptist history, and in the “Pioneering Spirit” highlighting the IBSA Annual Meeting at FBC Maryville on Nov. 7-8.
Reflecting on the anniversaries, Illinois Baptist historian and former IBSA pastor Myron Dillow noted the qualities that prepare a church for fruitful ministry and a legacy of faithfulness. When churches survive 200 years, “you’ve had a credible witness in that community,” Dillow told the Illinois Baptist.
“When there is a warm, friendly congregation that worships and works together in reaching the community for Christ,” he said, “that fellowship grows in love and respect for one another (and) earns the respect of the people in the community.”
Dillow also noted biblically faithful churches develop a servant ministry, following Jesus’s example. Illinois Baptist pioneers like John Mason Peck exemplified this service-oriented ministry. Dillow is currently working on a biography of Peck and his wife, Sarah.
Early ministry pioneers in Illinois “never complained about the hardships,” Dillow said, “but were grateful for having the privilege of sharing the Good News to hungry souls waiting for the preacher to open the Book and share the words of life.”
For more Illinois Baptist history and information on the IBSA Annual Meeting’s “Pioneering Spirit” emphasis, go to IBSAannual meeting.org.