WAS ON THIS WISE THAT THIS ALLIANCE
WAS GIVEN BIRTH:
winter day in 1987. I am not at all
sure which day it was, only that I
can narrow it down to nearing the
end of the year because of other things
taking place that had no direct reference
to the Alliance.
My friend and brother in ministry,
the Rev. Clinton L. Smith had a desire
for our Pastor, the Rev. C. R. Lewis,
to see the new Church building that
was under way where I serve as Pastor.
The Smith Chapel Baptist Church is
located at 750 Smith Chapel Road,
Campobello, SC, where at the time
that I am writing this history. I
have been serving as Pastor for twenty-six
years this past May, 2003. (The Lord
saw fit to call Rev. Smith home on
June 6, 2001).
Smith called me, I'm almost sure it
was on Tuesday morning, and said to
me that he had spoken to Pastor Lewis
and would like for him to see the
Church that we were building and if
I was available to go with them. I
thought it was a great idea. I think
that Rev. Smith was more proud of
it than I was. He always encouraged
me by reminding me how the Lord had
used me in allowing me to be a part
of the construction of a new Church
Building at Smith Chapel and that
I shouldn't take it lightly.
LORD IN IT:
the Lord would have it, we rode up
to Campobello about 10:00am that morning
and enjoyed each other's fellowship
and company as we looked around and
shared together. I guess great things
happen sometimes just when men of
God get together in fellowship and
open up to each other without any
plans of starting anything.
our morning together, we started back
to Greer, SC. While riding down Hwy.
14 toward Greer, Rev. Smith who was
driving and Rev. Lewis in the front
passenger side and I in the back; Rev.
Smith suggested that we stop and eat
dinner together at Ryan's in Greer.
wasn't long before Rev. Smith turned
off of Hwy. 14 onto a road that was
unfamiliar to me and I'm sure to Rev.
Lewis, since he lived in Anderson. But
Rev. Smith seemed to know where he was
going and I made like I did. After a
few miles and turns we came out in Greer
on Memorial Drive.
Ryan's, we dined and continued our
fellowship in the Lord just talking
and having a good time with each other.
I always did enjoy watching Rev. Smith
eat. He enjoyed good food and seemed
to get so much out of it. Or maybe
it was just the fellowship or the
camaraderie that excited him so much.
He so loved the brethren. I will always
we dined together and shared in conversation,
somehow we began to talk about ministers
coming together. We talked about the
ministerial alliances in Greenville,
Spartanburg and Anderson. I'm almost
certain that Rev. Smith suggested that
we needed an alliance of ministers for
the Greer area, for he had revealed
a heart for this in conversation many
times in the past.
all agreed that this was a great idea
adn that we needed an alliance in this
area. We made plans to go forward with
this project. Rev. Lewis' eyes lit up
with administrative and organizational
ideas, for which he is known for being
skilled. Rev. Smith suggested that Rev.
Lewis serve as the first president,
for he had served in other alliances.
We went forward from that table of fellowship
committed to the cause.
Lewis proceeded with compiling and putting
together a Constitution and By-Laws.
We carried the news first to the brethren
and then to the sisters in Christ, that
the Preachers in the Greer area, regardless
of denomination or even color, were
coming together to serve our God.
Lewis served as the first president
and Rev. Smith as the second. Followed
by Rev. Thompson, Rev. Wilkins and presently
Rev. Bruton. It bothered Rev. Smith
that I backed up off of getting in line
to serve in office as president, since
I was at the table. I told him that
I would give my full support just being
a member and that I didn't want the
others to ever think that the Preachers
from Maple Creek was trying to monopolize
this position, for the Bible says, "Give
no place to the devil." But even
this didn't satisfy him. So, I promised
him a few days before his passing that
I would never seek the position, but
if others ever considered me again and
thought me worthy to servie, I would
accept being put in line to serve.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD, WHOM WE SERVE,
THUS WE HAVE: THE INTERDENOMINATIONAL
MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE of GREER and VICINITY.
J. Calvin Hill
the IMA now has over 40 member churches,
36 pastor members and over 19
associate pastors and ministers members.