Lebanon Baptist Church (1840-Present)
Some Pastors of Lebanon Baptist Church:
Snelling Johnson - Jul 1840-Nov 1847
Micagah W Duncan - Dec 1847-Dec 1849
From Ford's 1936 History of Moniteau County, Missouri:
The Lebanon Baptist Church at McGirk was established in 1840, its first building being a log church on the spot where the Harlan school now stands by the Lebanon cemetery north of McGirk. In 1880 a new building was erected a mile and a half west. This building was wrecked in 1916 and its material used in constructing the present church at McGirk.
The church was organized by Cornelius McLoughlin, Snelling Johnson and Martin D. Noland. The names of Snodgrass, Dunham, Hines, Connor, Campbell, Birdsong and Hestland are on the roll of charter members.
From History of Concord Baptist Association (Cole, 1973):
What we can glean from the records is interesting and often surprisingly dramatic. This historical sketch will attempt to highlight the important events and attitudes of our church, as they can be ascertained from the available minutes, over its long and colorful history.
The minutes of the organizational meeting of our church have become lost over the years. However, an early attempt at writing the history of the church, made in 1884, states: "Lebanon Baptist Church was organized at Lebanon church house in Cole County, Missouri, on Saturday, 25th day of July, 1840, upon the principles of Concord Association of United Baptists by the following named Presbytery: Cornelius McLoughlin, Snelling Johnson and Martin D. Noland; with the following membership: Samuel Snodgrass, Allen Conner, W. O. Dunham, W. T. Hines, Thomas Campbell, Abagail Dunham, Mary A. Birdsong, Elizabeth Conner, Nancy Snodgrass, Mahala Snodgrass, Matilda Hines and Francis Hestand."
Rev. Snelling Johnson was called as the first pastor of the new church. The original deacons were W. O. Duncan and W. T. Hines. We do not know where the first building was located but the church met regularly and convened for business on the fourth Saturday of each month.
Three ordinances were observed in the church's early years. In August 1840, the church "agreed to commune in the months of May and September." In September 1840, the church "agreed to keep up the ordinance of washing of feet at our communion seasons.” This practice of foot washing was not discontinued until the people voted to do so in September 1860. Baptism was observed as the third ordinance.
Anxious to further the spread of the Gospel, the members passed the following resolution in November 1840: "Resolved: that this church say she will endeavour to liberate Brother S. Johnson that he may spend more of his time among us in preaching the gospel of the kingdom of Christ and that we will endeavour to sustain him by administing to his temporal wants." In the years that followed arms of the church were established at a location in the north east part of Moniteau County, at Marion, at the German settlement in a house called Union, on the Moreau, at Bald Hill schoolhouse and in 1893 at McGirk's Station.
At the same time the people were zealous for their own particular beliefs. The minutes of the meeting of April 1841 reveal: On motion and second the church taken up the case of one brother for joining a people out of the union of the united Baptist and excommunicated him for so doing. We therefore are no more responsible for his conduct.”
The church practiced integration from the first. In August 1841, the church received for membership three "collered sisters." And in August 1843, Sister Betty, a "cullared" lady was received by experience.
In 1842 the church voted to build a new meetinghouse. Ground was purchased and the building erected at the site of the Old Lebanon Cemetery near the present Stanley Cook residence. It was finally finished in 1847, and Concord Association was held in the newly completed building.
It appears that there was an early aversion to Masons. The minutes of the May 1845 meeting state: "Resolved: that this church adopt the following resolution offered by the Concord Association: to wit -- the Association upon motion and second agree to advise the churches that after taking the gospel steps to reclaim free masons belonging to them from participating with the Masonic fraternity if they still persist in said participation to cut them off."
The people were strict in those days, and they were not afraid to give expression to their convictions. The 1884 history reveals that in the first 44 years of the church 78 persons were excluded from her fellowship. The reasons for such drastic action included such things as communing with other denominations, intoxication, lying, dancing, profanity, nonattendance, adultery and contempt of the church.
The church appointed her first custodian in December 1858. He was paid the handsome sum of $6.00 for 1859. In comparison, the custodians salary for 1973 is $1,008.00.
In April 1866, a. vote was taken to begin a Sunday school. It got under way on June 2. This Sunday school may have helped necessitate the new church house which was voted in March 1867 and completed by June 1868.
Still another new house of worship was erected in 1882-83 at a cost of $703.17. At this time the church was moved to a location on the east side of the Swiss Cemetery on a farm presently owned by Richard W. Cook.
The idea of moving the church to its present location in McGirk developed gradually. In March 1895, the church voted to "receive members at McGirk's Station by granting any preacher of the same faith and order power to open the door of the church for the reception of members." In 1910 Pastor J. M. Tate was given the "privilege of preaching at McGirk on one Saturday night and Sunday morning in each month." A vote to "move our organization to McGirk as Lebanon Church" was taken in December 1911. And in July 1912, a committee was appointed to secure a building site for the erection of a house of worship in McGirk. After considerable searching, land was finally secured and the original part of the present building was built. It was dedicated debt-free on August 19, 1917.
To prove that the church was really moving forward in more than the location of its building, a BYPU, Baptist Young People's Union was voted and organized in 1906.
Among items of interest in the development of the church to its present status was the vote to "adopt the envelope system" in April 1926. In March 1935, the church "raised $10.00" to help Pastor R. L. Hood attend the Southern Baptist Convention at Memphis. Tennessee. Apparently, he was the first of Lebanon's pastors to attend the SBC. In July 1939~ Steward M. McDaniel became the first and only pastor of our church to attend a meeting of the Baptist World Alliance as he journeyed to Atlanta, Georgia.
In August 1939 the church decided to improve the present building by digging a basement under it. This was completed before the observance of the church's 100th anniversary on July 21~ 1940. Concord Association was held here in 1940~ also. A year later. on June 8~ 1941, the 75th anniversary of the Sunday school was celebrated.
Progress continued, as in 1944 the church voted to start a Vacation Bible School for the children of the community. Eighteen new pews were purchased in 1946 and delivered in 1947 with a new pulpit and flower stands as memorial gifts. In July 1946. the church decided to use a nominating committee for her officers and those of the Sunday school and Training Union~ rather than to elect them one by one from the floor in business session. The decision ito have preaching every Sunday was made in August 1946 and at the same time the Baptist state paper, The Word and Way, was placed in the homes of the members.
In June 1949, a historic change was made. After 109 years of Saturday night business meetings, it was decided to move the business sessions to Wednesday evening.
Then the church got in the buying and building mood again. A pastor's home was purchased in 1951. and a vote to enlarge the church building was made in October 1953. The parsonage was modernized in 1956. In early 1963 the building enlargement was completed by finishing the second story of the educational building which had been started in 1953. This completed addition was dedicated on June 30, 1963.
Later, the pastor's study was furnished, as a memorial, and an air conditioner added for his comfort. The entrance to the building has been remodeled. A new Lord's Supper table, new pulpit chairs, new piano, new hymnals and new furniture for some of our classrooms have been purchased. Our heating system has been improved, the basement was entirely remodeled and a kitchen and restrooms were installed. Space was provided and a church library was started in 1966. A garage and new front porch were added at the parsonage the same year. The next year the parsonage was insulated and storm windows and doors were added. In 1968 a new floor, with carpeting down the .aisle and across the front, was installed in the auditorium. Red-gold cathedral glass windows were also added that year. The parsonage was redecorated, between pastorates, with paneled walls and carpeted floors in most rooms. A ball field was prepared in late 1970 and in 1971 a bus was purchased to further the bus ministry. Central air-conditioning has been installed in the church this year, 1973, preparing for the warm months ahead.
The church has licensed to preach Michagah Duncan in 1842, Thomas Greer in 1842, W. H. Shull in 1907 and Chester Barry in July 1950. The church was the scene of the ordination of the following preachers: Michagah Duncan in 1843, W. M. Oldham in 1907, W. H. Shull in 1910 and Chester Barry on January 28, 1951.
We have nine deacons who provide strong, progressive leadership for our church. Our trustees have played an important part in caring for our property and in making many needed improvements.
We are grateful for those who have gone before us and handed down for our benefit such a marvelous heritage. We are thankful for the sacrifices and second-mile efforts of our fathers and mothers in the faith who have made this institution all that it means to us today. Let us accept the challenges and opportunities of the present and the future as we advance together in the name of Christ to carry out the Great Commission and the teachings of God's Word. God grant that we may leave a rich heritage also to those who serve after us in this church.
From the 1980 History of Moniteau County, Missouri published by the Moniteau Co. Historical Society:
A record of Lebanon Church prepared in 1884 states, “Lebanon Baptist Church was organized at Lebanon Church house in Cole County, Missouri, on Saturday, 25th day of July, 1840, upon the principles of Concord Association of United Baptists by the following named Presbytry: Cornelius McLoughlin, Snelling Johnson, and Martin D. Noland; with the following membership: Samuel Snodgrass. Allen Conner, W. O. Dunham, W. T. Hines, Thomas Campbell, Abagail Dunham, Mary A. Birdsong, Elizabeth Conner, Nancy Snodgrass, Mahala Snodgrass, Matilda Hines, and Francis Hestand."
Rev. Snelling Johnson was called as pastor. The original deacons were W. O. Dunham and W. T. Hines. It is not known where the first log building was located; however, burials were made in a small cemetery located In Section 36, T 45 N, R 15 W, near the home of Rev. Johnson, previous to the 1842 burial in the Old Lebanon Cemetery. Regular meetings were held, many times, in the homes of members, and business meetings on the 4th Saturday of each month. Visiting brothers and sisters were invited to seats, and the doors of the Church were opened to receive members. Early members lived over an area from the Moreau River on the south, north and east to the Missouri River. The church practiced integration from the first. In 1842, the church voted to build a new meeting house. Ground was purchased and the building erected at the site of the Old Lebanon Cemetery, Section 30, T 45 N, R 14 W. In the following years, arms of the church were established at Marion, at the German settlement in a house called Union on the Moreau, at Bald Hill school house, and in 1893, at McGirk's Station.
In April 1866, a vote was taken to begin a Sunday School. B.Y.P.U. was begun in 1906, and Bible Schools In 1944.
In 1882-3 the church was moved to a location just east of the Swiss Cemetery and from there to McGirk where the original part of the present building was dedicated on August 19, 1917.
The church has licensed to preach Michagah Duncan in 1842, Thomas Greer in 1842, W. H. Shull in 1907, Chester Barry in 1950, and Vernon Dalstein in 1979; and was the scene of the ordination of M. Duncan, W. M. Oldham, W. H. Shull, C. Barry, and V. L. Dalstein.
The "700 Club" which was the lever that moved Concord Association to establish and build up a New Missions Fund during the '60's, received strong leadership and assistance from members of Lebanon Church. The church supports special offerings and the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention and is presently engaged in a local building fund effort. A parsonage and additions and improvements have been provided, full time worship services are held on Sunday morning and evening. Mid-week prayer services as well as Women's Missionary and Auxiliary Meetings and Training Union are a part of the regular schedule.
Superior teaching in both the Sunday School and Vacation Bible School has been evident to the visitor in Lebanon Baptist Church during the last two or three decades. From the most recent member through those who are seventh or eighth generation descendants, Bible study and missions continue to be the major emphasis. The present resident membership of approximately 150 is the highest known.
Situated near the center of the Association, Lebanon has often been the rallying point for the people, the programs, and the projects of the area.
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Last modified: October 17, 2012