WARNER ROBINS -- For 54 years, Bible Baptist Temple has been telling the story of Jesus and his love.
That mission is stated on church documents, the new digital sign out front and from the pulpit by Bible Baptists new pastor, Donnie Melton, who preached his second sermon at the church Sunday.
Thats why were here, Melton said. My concern is that we reach people in Warner Robins and Houston County -- all of Middle Georgia really -- and see them saved and going to heaven. Second, I want to see people reach their full spiritual potential and come to the place of seeing the Lord at work in their lives and answering their prayers. Its a wonderful way to live.
Melton emphasized his interest in the spiritual well-being of others goes beyond just church attendance to a true life change.
I want peoples experience with God to be real, he said. Believe me, I know there can be a difference. I got saved at 24 after attending church all my life and being a Sunday school teacher. I guess I was about as good as anyone, but I finally realized all that didnt mean anything. Being good doesnt get you to heaven.
Melton said after recognizing his sinfulness, repenting and putting his trust for heaven in what Jesus did on the cross, he saw a dramatic difference.
I wasnt an alcoholic who got sober or anything, but still there was a dramatic change, he said. It was inward. I went from, OK, its Sunday, I have to go to church, to, Its Sunday, I get to go to church. Reading my Bible became a delight. Sharing Jesus became a desire. Theres no greater enjoyment in life than knowing if you die youre going to heaven, having assurance based on the truth of Gods word and not just mens ideas.
Its that assurance Melton said he hopes everyone would know.
Im not so naïve to think everyone will come to know Jesus, he said. But we at least want everyone to know they can. Without hesitation, I can say everyone is welcome at our church. Ive never encountered a more gracious group of people who love others as much. My vision and the vision of the church is a good match. I love people -- I love everybody, even if I dont love all of their ways.
Bible Baptist Temple was organized as an independent, fundamental, King James Bible-believing, Baptist church in 1959 while meeting at Charles Thomas School. Five acres was soon bought near the corner of what is now Watson Boulevard and Carl Vinson Parkway, and $4,250 to buy the land came as a mission gift from a Detroit church. The church also operates a K5-12th grade-school at the site called Warner Robins Christian Academy. Melton said the emphasis is academic excellence in a Christian environment.
Melton, 63, and his wife, Sandra, have three grown sons and seven grandchildren. He first served at Peoples Baptist Church of LaGrange, then Calvary Baptist Church in Gray. He served in evangelism for 12 years prior to coming to Bible Baptist Temple.
Melton received a bachelors degree from Georgia Southwestern in Americus, a masters in theology from Temple Baptist Theological Seminary in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a doctorate of theology from Scripture Baptist College in Knoxville, Tenn.
I have a heart for Warner Robins and people here, Melton said. Im confident the Lord is going to do wonderful things. We put a great priority on preaching, and I always try to offer something you can take away and benefit from.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.