First Christian Church of Centerville

Sun News correspondentJuly 31, 2013 

Pastor Willie Crosby, of the First Christian Church of Centerville, says his church relies on the Bible for doctrine instead of a creed devised by man.

WARNER ROBINS -- A move down the road from south Bibb County brought what is now the First Christian Church of Centerville to Houston County in 2000.

“We started in south Bibb in October of 1994 on Houston Road,” said founding Pastor Willie Crosby. “At that time, the name of the church was King’s Way Christian Church. It was in August of 2000 that we were able to buy the building we’re in on Collins and renamed the church.”

Crosby said the church’s original name, King’s Way, reflected the congregation’s ongoing desire to do things God’s way.

“I had pastored in Macon for six years when we decided to start a new church in south Bibb,” Crosby said. “We wanted to be led by God. A lot of times we want to do things our way, and that’s not always right. We wanted to dedicate ourselves to the King’s way, to do what we saw was God’s way from the Bible. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, so we wanted to follow him and his way.”

Crosby said within First Christian Centerville and among associated, independent Christian churches, the Bible alone is used for doctrine versus any man-made creed.

“If the Bible says it, that’s what we do,” he said. “Of course, everybody has their thoughts on what the Bible says about various subjects, say on evangelism for instance. Some say knock on doors, others say phone calls or other ways, and all those are fine. The Bible doesn’t say a particular way you have to do evangelism, but it does say to do it. We don’t make things like that a test of fellowship with other Christians. We just try to follow what’s in the word of God and stay away from what’s not.”

Crosby said a new ministry at the church called Encourage Me is getting members out of the church to minister in nursing homes.

“We usually take folks something and encourage them just by visiting and talking with them, loving them,” he said. “It’s about encouraging them, but we find we’re the ones getting encouraged most.”

Crosby said evidence the ministry is working both for nursing home residents and church members is that many who go visiting with the group are now visiting on their own as well.

He said another example of taking the Bible’s lead was the church’s decision last year to have a Thanksgiving banquet for needy and lonely people in the surrounding community. Crosby said he hopes the church will be able to do it again in some fashion this year.

“A lot of us, a lot of churches, are facing tough economic times with less money to try to do more things with,” he said. “We’re a small church, but it’s important we continue to trust God. He’s able to meet needs and help us serve others. God doesn’t want us stuck on the material things but wants us being a blessing to others. We can still do things for others.”

Crosby said he and his wife, Betty, raised six boys. Pastoring is a second career for him, having attended Atlanta Christian College, a Christian church-related school, at age 32. Atlanta Christian College is now Point University in West Point.

“When I was 12, I felt God was calling me to pastor,” Crosby said. “I wanted to be either a pastor or a state trooper. I fell away from both ambitions, but God called me back.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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