Reinvestment For New Beginnings

Reinvestment For New Beginnings

Reinvestment For New Beginnings

“I don’t want to see my church die.” These were the words of a faithful member who was added to the “cradle roll” of her lifelong church months before she was ever born. Her whole religious life was recorded in the history of this South Carolina Baptist church. Her parents were founding members of the church and placed her on the “cradle roll” before she was ever born. She was dedicated to the Lord as a baby, baptized as a young teen, married to her husband of many years, and gathered with family and friends to honor his home-going. Almost every meaningful event in her life happened within the walls of this old church. The thought of it closing was too great a burden to bear, but keeping the doors open was becoming more and more difficult with each passing month.

As I met with her and three other remaining members of the church, the number of tears shed were many times greater than the viable options for continuing the church’s legacy in the community. But within the heart of these remaining members was a burden for their community that compelled them to find an answer for the neighbors surrounding where we gathered. Who would tell them about Jesus if this church closed?

There is nothing that honors God when a church ceases to proclaim the hope of the gospel in their community. But each year, almost twenty South Carolina Baptist churches pronounce a final benediction never to gather again for worship. The history books are closed, the property is sold to another congregation or lies abandoned as a memorial to days of former glory.

What if there were a way to reinvest the remaining resources to start something new for future generations to discover the hope of Jesus? What if the buildings that were once built for worship and discipleship could be reinvested in a new ministry or mission?  

ReInvest: an existing congregation experiences new life through closing with dignity and investing its remaining resources in a life-giving congregation or mission.

“This community needs a church and I want to do whatever it takes to make sure this church is here for them.” When the matriarch of the church spoke those words, the conversation changed to hope and a vision to continue the mission in a new way.

The church was first organized when the suburban sprawl began, and young aspiring families moved out of the city and away from the farm to raise their families in the prosperity of the post-World War II era. New homes were built for middle class, Anglo families and the church quickly became the center of their community. But as common in many other suburban areas, the demographics started to change rapidly as minorities started occupying homes surrounding the church, school aged children started attending a new campus across town and new job opportunities developed in other areas. Members of the church soon began driving to church from miles away and lost their gospel influence in their original community.

Remaining 4 members of Sylvia Circle Baptist Church with replanter Trell Ross (center) and wife, Lauren.

But on this historic day, the remaining four Anglo members of Sylvia Circle Baptist Church in Rock Hill, chose to reinvest their resources so that a new mission or church could begin. They asked questions about finding an urban church planter that understood the needs of the community and could reach them with the gospel. They considered all the changes that would need to take place so that minority population surrounding the church could benefit from the building and land once purchased by former members. The conversation grew difficult, as if they were grieving, but not without hope for a better day.

Each of them loved gathering together on Sunday for their one Sunday school class and sitting under the teaching of their preacher of many years, but the need for a community church that reflected the demographics of the neighborhood was greater than their own needs. It was the embodiment of Jesus’ teaching, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). The resources of Sylvia Circle Baptist Church will yield a harvest of souls for future generations because of the faith and sacrifice of her four remaining members.

Through a partnership with Park Baptist Church, the South Carolina Baptist Convention and others, a new beginning is coming soon to Rock Hill, so that all in the community will know the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Click here to watch a video of the Sylvia Circle Baptist Reinvestment.

Churches at-risk of future decline or closure have options to continue their mission through an intentional process guided by your Director of Missions or the South Carolina Baptist Convention team. Some churches will benefit from revitalization, others through reSTARTing. But there are some of our churches across the state that could reinvest their resources and prepare the way for new beginnings. 

Your first step toward discovering which option is best for the church begins with completing a short, online questionnaire to initiate a conversation with your South Carolina Baptist Convention team. Click HERE to begin the questionnaire. Or you may email our team at

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