Editor’s Note: “A Church You Should Know” is an occasional feature spotlighting congregations in the Qcity area.
Greater Mt. Moriah Primitive Baptist Church
Address: 727 West Trade Street Charlotte, NC
Denomination: National Primitive Baptist
Pastor: Elder Sidney E. Phillips (Since 200)
- Church school, 9:45 a.m.
- Worship Service, 11 a.m.
- Wednesday Bible study, noon
- Seniors prayer & Bible study, Wednesday 7:30
Q. What makes this church unique?
The commitment of the people to this community. Mt. Moriah has been in downtown Charlotte for 118 years, and we are truly proud of that accomplishment. This church has a historical significance for the National Primitive Baptist Convention, as well as in Charlotte.
We have been active in the community, supporting civil rights and all types of social movements. We were recognized by the Charlotte Center City Partners with the Vision Award for being what they termed a “founders” or “settlers” church — one of 10 in the city — and we were proud of that accomplishment.
Q. What is a Primitive Baptist church?
Whereas most Baptist churches have two ordinances that they observe — sacraments such as the Holy Communion and baptism — Primitive Baptists have a third ordinance, the ordinance of foot washing, or the washing of the saints’ feet. We do that after every communion.
Our scriptural basis is found in John: Chapter 13, where Jesus , after he had finished with the bread and the wine, rose from the table and he began to wash the disciples’ feet. He said he was doing this as an example.
The term “primitive” tends to throw a lot of people. The only difference is the foot-washing ordinance. Aside from that, we worship the same, we sing the same hymns. The act of foot washing is one that a lot of people shy away from, but it’s a humbling experience, and it’s important to your faith, at least in my view, where you can be humble enough to wash your brother’s or sister’s feet. I think it gives us a unique experience.
There are probably about another 10 or 15 Primitive Baptist churches in the Charlotte metro area. We’re not alone.
Q. What is the church’s vision?
I believe God is leading us to become a more holistic ministry, versus the traditional church structure — deacon board, trustee board, missionary. We’re trying to include some other things to meet the needs of the whole person — mind, body and spirit. That entails a lot of things in terms of education, nutrition, physical fitness and finances. Some of these things we’re already putting in place.
We believe it to be our mission to extend the reach and influence of the kingdom of God to reach the lost and equip the saints through the worship experience, biblical preaching, teaching, evangelism and outreach.
Q. What are the church’s core beliefs?
Our core doctrine is that we accept the trinity – the Godhead father, son and Holy Ghost — the authority of the scriptures, the Old and the New Testament and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Our beliefs aren’t outside the orthodox. We preach Christ, him dead, buried and resurrected and His ability to redeem us and make us whole. We will not depart from that in this day and age.
Our beliefs fall in line with the general Baptist doctrine of predestination, that God has already ordained those who will be saved and that they will hear the gospel, they will respond to the gospel and they will be saved.
Q. What ministries and programs are offered?
We have the traditional missionary boards, youth auxiliary, brotherhood ministries, and we have established a couples’ ministry. We have 15 to 16 ministries and auxiliaries, ranging from youth activities to seniors.
We provide opportunities for our people to development their faith through a couple of ministries that deal directly with outreach. We provide food boxes for seniors and low-income individuals. We do that once a month for 75 to 100 families. We have ministries feeding the homeless. We feed 100 to 200 people, depending on the time of year. Because we are in the downtown area, the homeless know where to come and when to come.
We provide praise dancing for our youth. We try to give our members an opportunity to not only know God but to serve God through these ministries, no matter what age they are. We don’t have a recovery ministry, but we provide space for the uptown Narcotics Anonymous.
We are a polling place for the county. We are actively trying to expand our contact with the community and provide opportunities for our members to engage the community in evangelistic efforts. We’re doing quite a bit in terms of developing the ministry.
Q. What are the greatest strengths of the church?
Our faith and commitment to God, our church and this community. I’m particularly proud that we have several very strong families – not particularly wealthy families; just regular people — who are committed to this church. When people come in, they have a tendency to gravitate to one family or another, so we still have that family feel, that small-church feel. This church really looks after its members.
Q. How do you foster spiritual growth for individuals in the church?
I’m a pastor who likes to get involved with my people as much as I possibly can. I try to give them access to me so that I can know them. This church is one of the few churches where my phone number is right on the front of the bulletin. If my members need me for prayer or just to talk, I want to make sure they can get in touch with me. I see myself as being that voice in their lives to help guide them. Whether it’s via the Internet, they have my Web address. They have my cell phone number. I’m doing those things to make sure that they’re connected and I’m connected to them.
I encourage people to study the word of God. I encourage them to come to Bible study and worship and Sunday school. If you can increase your knowledge and understanding of God’s word, then that’s where your true growth will take place.
I have a philosophy that I preach from: I believe that everyone has the right to live the life that God has ordained for them. A lot of people don’t realize that we’re disenfranchised because we don’t have the information, so we live beneath what we can live. I do what I can to make sure I provide sound preaching and teaching from the bible as well as other avenues.
I’ve established an annual financial workshop, the health ministry, bringing in people to deal with nutrition. As a pastor, you have to look beyond the word sometime and bring in resources that are available to help your people grow.
It’s important for us to be engaged in the community and know what’s going on and be proactive in a lot of things, and that gives people an experience that helps them grow. You’re not just saved to sit; you’re saved to serve.
Editor’s Note: If you would like to see your church featured in this ongoing series, ask your senior pastor to answer the questions above and email the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.