WARNER ROBINS -- Warner Robins only African Methodist Episcopal church has been at 304 Green St. since 1992 in a facility dating back to the 1960s.
Church documents show the fellowship came about following a challenge given in Macon by Bishop John Hurst Adams in 1989 that someone should establish an AME church in Warner Robins.
The challenge was taken up by the Rev. Bertram Smith and family. A church was organized and began meeting in 1990 at other facilities until the move to Green Street. It was named Adams-Smith Tabetrnacle AME Church in honor of the two men and has been served by five successive pastors.
In 2010, the Rev. Teddy Madison was appointed to lead the church. Madisons arrival brought new organization and vision.
With the founding pastors departure, there was a decline in membership, Madison said. We came two years ago and reorganized the ministry and set up a five-point emphasis to guide us. We had a commitment in our hearts to stay and see the church grow spiritually and numerically. There were around 10 attending then, and they had weathered some storms. Weve seen growth, but were still a small church. Even so, were here to enrich our community.
Madison said the church emphasizes worshiping the Lord in all they do, fellowship for encouragement in Christ, ministry through giving back to the community, education because knowledge is power and ignorance is binding and financial understanding because financial freedom allows people to live a more wholesome life as a blessing to their families and others.
There have been storms, but we dont dwell on the past, Madison said. There have been such faithful members through the years who have continued to believe and be willing, hard workers. Theres a new stirring of confidence in what Gods doing in this ministry. Being founded in the 90s, were really still in our infancy.
With limited resources but an eagerness to bless others, Madison said he and the congregation began right away working both physically and spiritually. The unique and recognizable church facility itself began a transformation inside from what Madison called dark and drab to light and inviting. With most work being done by members, classrooms were refurbished and opened up to use for education and current or future ministry purposes.
Madison said there are still upstairs rooms yet to be touched that will allow even greater future ministry.
He said the church has gotten Internet service and plans to create a computer lab to allow people in the neighborhood to get online with their own devices or use computers the church believes it will get. He said its necessary for those seeking jobs and needing to do other business online.
Madison said the church is or is planning to offer such things as GED courses, basic finances courses, home economics and more. They have the beginnings of a food pantry they hope one day will help feed their community.
The community on this side of Warner Robins is not thriving as you see it is in other parts, Madison said. Theres greater drug addiction, poverty, illiteracy and homelessness. All the project housing is here. We are here first and foremost to bring Jesus and the Gospel, but we want to make the community a whole lot better in every way.
The church has already established a variety of special annual meetings, concerts and events as well as gotten out going door to door to meet neighbors. They have had vacation Bible schools and feed neighborhood children. They have a birthday party for Jesus each December that reaches out into the community as a fun event.
Were small, but we have to do what we can and believe God will open doors so we can do more, Madison said. I think what weve tried to do inside the building is symbolic of what were trying to do outside in the neighborhood. Bring light and abundant life.
Originally from Macon, Madison, 36, is a graduate of Fort Valley State University with a computer science degree. While serving the church he works bi-vocationally as a software developer. He and his wife, Jarquetta, also operate a small photography business called Exodus Photography. Jarquetta serves as education director at the church. The two have one daughter, Trinity.
Madison began ministry serving in youth ministry at his home church in Macon, Grant Chapel AME.
After moving to work in Warner Robins, the couple still traveled to Macon to attend church. It was his pastor there who approached him with the idea of becoming pastor at Adams-Smith. Madison said it was his wife who quickly said she felt it was something they should do.
Our church is made up of families from various backgrounds, he said. Psalm 133.1 talks about how good it is for us to dwell together in unity, and we believe that is a guide for us. Were a family church and a community church, and we want to reach out beyond ourselves and see the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread and applied in the community. Were grateful to God and to those within and outside of the church that have helped us get where we are. Were looking forward to the future.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.