Church History – Part 2

The Bright Star Baptist Church Story – Part II
By Elder Willie L. Strayhorn

THE NEED FOR A NEW BUILDING, We could foresee, by 1983 it was time for a new building and had started to raise funds to that end.

Our roof was very bad, we kept patching and patching, and still the rain came in. Many Sundays during the worship service or an afternoon program when we had guest, we would have to set out buckets, pots and pans to catch the rain water. The question was, ‘Do we put lots of money into the this old building or should we be about building a new one?’ Some members said put into the old, others said put into the new, and some said, “We weren’t going to do anything.”

Eagle Savings and Loan, is where we had saved our money thinking that when ever we got ready to build we would go to them and surely they would be considered of us, seeing as how they would know us as long time customer. However, we went to them and to our surprise they turn us down, saying, they were not into Church Loans.

We went to Guardian Saving and Loan, they check our records and found them to be OK. All but one of their Board members agreed to let us have the money. This one man said he would let us have the money to buy a building already built, but not to build a new structure. After this some of the members became somewhat complacent and apprehensive. And the new building idea laid kind of dormant for a while.

June 11, 1986 After two days alone with the Lord, I was led by the HOLY SPIRIT to take a walk in Houston Woods. After a long while the HOLY SPIRIT BEGAN TO COMMUNICATE WITH MY SPIRIT. Helping me to understand that the Lord had not brought us this far to leave us. That He put us on the corner of Charlotte and Linn St.. for a reason, that we may be “THE STAR IN THE WEST LEADING PEOPLE TO JESUS CHRIST.” I said, “Yes Lord I know, but what do we do now ? Which way do we go now ?

Just then He showed me a type of tree I had not seen in this forest during all the time of my walking, it was an Evergreen Tree. The Spirit said to me, TAKE PART OF THIS TREE AS SYMBOL OF THE NEW LIFE AND NEW STRENGTH I’M GIVING YOU. WHAT ELSE COULD I SAY OTHER THAN “THANK YOU LORD !”

I WILL FILL MY HOUSE, ISA 43:5-8 [NIV] I will bring your children from the east and gather to you from the west. I will say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth– everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. “Then later, the Master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. LUK 14:23 [NIV]
Upon my returning home, I TOLD MY WIFE all that happened. Because of her own personal experiences with the Lord and some of the experiences we have had together, she could readily relate to the Lord working with me in this way.

I SHARED MY EXPERIENCE with the Church Board of Deacons and Trustees in a special call meeting. I was received with some enthusiasm not to the degree I was expecting, Some of the members readily accepted the idea and was ready to go with it. While other believe I was truthful, however out of concern for me and my health, they thought it was not Good Timing. Nevertheless if it was the wisdom of the majority to proceed with a Building Program, they would be supportive. The final vote was unanimous in favor of BUILDING A NEW CHURCH HOUSE UNTO THE GLORY OF THE LORD. I thought within my self, HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD

The LORD said to Me, “Go back to Pharaoh and say to him, “The LORD said, Let my people go.” EXO 8:1 [NIV] These word were spoken into my spirit so loud and clear after being turned down by other banks. In my mind I wondered, “Who is Pharaoh ?”

The Holy Spirit made it clear to me, just Who was Pharaoh: it was the Eagle Saving and Loan, where for many years we granted them the opportunity holding and using our money; now they tell us they are not lending to churches. Go back to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘That the LORD said: “Let my people go.”

Later to my surprise, I learn two things, that Eagle Saving and Loan was in the process of being absorbed by the Ameritrust Bank and that the person who was to call and help us, was a young, beautiful, black Lady. She was very professional and gracious to us. She was so confident that we would repay the loan, till she all but shoved the money into our hands.
OCT. 11,1987, We broke ground and vacated the old church house, and moved into the Findlay Street Neighbor-House,

June 1988 We wrote Mr. Larry Harris a letter questioning his commitment to the Project. Mr. Larry Harris made his excuses, but progress on the building was all most nil. Little did he realize that he was being unfaithful to God .

One day while looking at the building project I was carried away in the Holy Spirit and the Lord spoke those words to me. He also said, IF YOU DON’T, ALL THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT AND THE BUILDING WILL STILL BE SITTING HERE AN EMPTY SHELL.

And the Lord did just what He said, He brought skilled men to me, some men whom I thought would not, they came and gladly gave their service to the Lord. The Brothers and Sisters of the Church rolled up their sleeves again and went to work. We hired subcontractors to come in and help us, finished the plumbing, the electrical work, dry-walling, we built the stage, finished the flooring, painting and trim work, hanging the lights and the cross.
10:00 A M. We assembled at the Findlay St. Neighborhood House, where we had worshipped for the past year. 10:30 A M. We started marching from the Findlay St. Neighborhood House to our NEW CHURCH HOME, SINGING AND PRAISING THE LORD.

This present facility has served us 27 years with a lot of history along the way and for that we Praise God. In 2005 Elder Strayhorn retired and James R. Strayhorn became our new Pastor

Pastor James Strayhorn has been given a call and a vision. A call to be a New Testament Church and a Vision to develop this block for the Kingdom of God

God’s vision for Bright Star is that we serve this community by developing strong families, improving the lives of young people and changing the face of this community by leading people to Christ. The type of Church God wants us to be we must look at The Characteristics of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts chapter 2, verses 41-47. This is the account of the very first church. The Holy Spirit had come upon Peter and the other apostles, and they preached the Word of Christ in Jerusalem with great success. Many were converted to faith, and a church was born. And the account of that first church demonstrates for us the characteristics that God wants in the New Testament Church. God wants Unity See Acts 2:41-47.

Over a 12 month period The Lord has shown His vision for our Church and that is to be modeled after the New Testament Church in the Book of Acts and discovered that they had fellowship with each other Unity in the community of believers launching our new name in 2015 Bright Star Community Church and in their fellowship they develop a LESS Ministry and God did more through them. Let me explain, we will become a place through our fellowship where people can Learn about God, Experience God, Serve God and Save the Lost. These are the characteristics that God wants in churches everywhere, for all time.

Our Church is about far more than slogans, or church government, or order of worship, as important as those things are. Our Church is about being B.O.L.D. Brave, Obedient, Loving and fully Devoted followers of Jesus.

I am confident that as we walk by faith towards the future God will continue to sharpen the focus. His desire is for each of us to join hands with Him to bring His Kingdom into reality. I’m looking forward to what’s next. I’m looking forward to experiencing this move with each of you. May God be glorified and His kingdom be advanced through us!!!

Phil. 1:6 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.