Elim Baptist Church in Ludowici is growing and there’s a new pastor on board.
Greg Alan Bentley, a native of Augusta, has served as a pastor for 12 years. Before coming to Elim Baptist, he was the pastor at Southside Baptist Church in Augusta.
Elim Baptist is more than 150 years old. According to the church’s history, in 1830 an itinerant Methodist minister, the Rev. Edward Quarterman Andrews from Midway, came to the area to preach the gospel to a small group of people. The following week, a bush arbor was built to hold services, and for many years services were held at the bush arbor or under the trees.
Presently, Elim Baptist Church has services every Sunday with Sunday school at 9:45 a.m., morning worship at 11 a.m. and evening service at 6 p.m. On Wednesdays, Awana for children is at 6:30 p.m. and Bible study is at 7 p.m.
Elim Baptist has an average Sunday morning attendance of 150 and 105 Sunday school students. Increasing Sunday school attendance is one of Bentley’s goals for 2011.
Some of the church’s ministries include a youth ministry for middle and high school students, a preschool/nursery ministry, a prayer ministry, a mission, a deacon’s ministry, a music ministry, a library and a senior’s ministry.
“Our seniors do a birthday party at the Coastal Manor Nursing Home every third Tuesday of the month,” Bentley said. “(And) we are currently looking for a new worship leader.”
“My vision for the church is to reach the people in this area, for the church to become what God wants us to be, to become stronger in the community and stronger in serving Christ. My goals for 2011 are to increase church involvement in community events and increase church involvement in local and world missions,” the pastor said.
Bentley has traveled to Moldova three times. “I did medical ministry, preaching and evangelism twice. The other time I encouraged the pastors and assisted in equipping them to do the ministry,” he said.
“The late Geoff Edney influenced my life and ministry. He was a lay leader from Bristol who loved the Lord. My mom and dad, J.C. and Anne Bentley, raised me in a Christian home,” Bentley said. “Pastors and ministers should stay in the word, stay faithful to God, love the Lord and love the people.”
The pastor describes Elim’s parishioners as very loving people who want to see God’s work through them and in the church. “They are open-minded and willing to do whatever they feel God is leading them to do,” he said.
Bentley loves to play golf and enjoys the outdoors. “I used to be a hunter and do a lot of fishing,” he said.
Bentley and his wife Mickey have been married 30 years and have two children. His wife is employed with the Richmond County Board of Education.