By Crystal Burns
Local, state, and national Baptist leaders helped a local church dedicate its new sanctuary Thursday night.
Salem Baptist Church pastor Joel Pigg and his congregation welcomed the community as well as guests from the Gibson, Tennessee, and Southern Baptist Conventions to 199 Neal Kinsy Road in Trenton. Dr. Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a close friend to Pigg and his wife Suzanne was the featured speaker.
Gaines is currently the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, but he has strong ties to Gibson Co. He served as youth minister at First Baptist Church in Milan from 1978-1980. Gaines is a native of Dyersburg.
While he complimented the Salem Baptist membership on the new sanctuary, he reminded them that a church is more than a building.
“God doesn’t dwell in buildings made with human hands,” Gaines said. “He dwells in redeemed humanity.”
Gaines encouraged Salem members to be a saved church, a praying church, a house of miracles, a giving church, a united church, a worshipping church, and a growing church. He used Acts 2 as his text.
“Acts is what the church is supposed to be like,” he said.
Dr. Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, and Dr. David Leavell, president of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, gave remarks and offered prayer for the church. Dr. Roger Stacy, director of missions for the Gibson Baptist Association (GBA), also encouraged the congregation. His acronym, PIGG, was a tribute to the pastor and stood for Proclaim the gospel, Invest in the future, Give, and Go.
“May God bless you as we join hands and continue to work together,” Stacy said.
Salem was organized in 1847. In 1924, it was a charter member of the Gibson Baptist Association, which now has 56 members.
Pigg explained that while Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, they connect with local, state, and national conventions to do mission work. He said it the first time in the history of Salem that the state and national leader had been at the same service and could have been a first for the GBA.
Dr. Danny Sinquefield, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, preached a revival at Salem when the church broke ground on the sanctuary in August 2016. He was also a special part of the dedication service.
“We were all honored and thrilled that they could come,” Pigg said.
Pigg was 41 years old with a career in sales and marketing when he surrendered to preach. Salem is his first church; the membership unanimously voted him as pastor in November 2006. He said they ran about 40 at the time.
“The Lord just began to bless us,” Pigg said.
Since the Pigg family joined Salem in 2006, the church has baptized 172 people. As the church grew, the need for more space became clear. For more than three years, the church held two worship services every Sunday morning. Their new sanctuary seats 300.
“I give God the glory,” Pigg said. “It’s all the Lord. God just chose to do a work here.”
Elite Construction Co. in Jackson built the facility. The former church building will still be used for classrooms and other services.