1872 – Present
Round Top Baptist Church, had its’ humble beginning in 1872 when Mr. John Lawhorn and Mr. Isaac Harmon left Shady Grove A.M.E. Church, one hundred forty-two years ago, to worship on this site in a bush arbor, under a big round oak tree. They were under the pastoral direction of Reverend Lew Davis.
Mrs. Estelle Canty donated an acre of land, and two years later in 1874, Mr. Sandy Thomas and others built the first church structure. As the men worked to erect the building, Sisters Margaret Stevens, Anna Harmon, Linda Lorick, and Anna Peterson provided meals for them. After completion, the church was then named “Round Top Baptist Church”, after the “big round oak” from where the church held its beginning services. During this time, Reverend Ben Jacobs was installed as pastor. The tenure of the first two pastors of Round Top Baptist Church is unknown.
Sixty-six years and fourteen pastors later, the second structure was built on this site. Reverend M. E. Gordon was the pastor at this time, and served as pastor for eight years. This structure was completed in 1950 under the pastoral leadership of Reverend S. M. Hightower. This event was celebrated by the first worship service on July 23, 1950. Sister Della Whitaker led the first song, “Let the Light from the Lighthouse Shine on Me”. Three worship services were held that day. Reverend Calvin Smith delivered the message for the morning service, Reverend C. C. Garrett delivered the evening message, and Reverend S.M. Hightower delivered the night services message. The first funeral service held in the new sanctuary was for Sister Kitty Kelly in April 1951.
Under the pastoral direction and leadership of Reverend Symroid Hightower, the church worked hard to make improvements such as acquiring pulpit furniture, pews, and installing restrooms with running water. On May 24, 1959, the church held a dedication service. Reverend Hightower delivered the morning message, Reverend W. C. Sanders delivered the afternoon message, and Reverend Brice delivered the evening message. At that time a “Prayer of Thanksgiving” was written into the church record. It reads:
“For God shall bring every work into Judgment, whether it be good or whether it be evil. We are grateful to GOD for the progress that has been made, may we ever dedicate our lives to HIS service. Truly the Lord has been good to us.”
Reverend S.M. Hightower served as Pastor of Round Top Baptist Church for thirteen (13) years.
In March 1963, Reverend Jerry M. Hollis was elected Pastor. He was accompanied by, Mrs. Johnnie Mae Taylor, as Musical Director/Organist. As the Lord continued to bless us, we continued to grow in spirit, strength, wisdom, and love. In 1963, our educational building was constructed after many years of hard work. In 1976, an additional two acres of land were purchased to extend the cemetery. In April 1981, Capital City Masonic Lodge laid the corner stone for the educational building. In January 1984, the educational facility was dedicated and named for Pastor Jerry M. Hollis. Reverend Hollis gave Round Top Baptist Church twenty-four (24) years of dedicated service until his retirement on December 23, 1985. The congregation honored him with a farewell dinner on December 29, 1985. At that time, Pastor Hollis was named Pastor Emeritus of the Round Top Baptist Church for his twenty-four (24) years of loyalty and devotion to the church family.
On January 10, 1986, the church body voted unanimously to offer Reverend Willie J. Davis the pastoral position at Round Top Baptist Church. On January 19, 1986, Reverend Davis delivered his first official sermon entitled, “Prayer Can Make a Difference in Your Life”, thus initiating his official duties as Pastor. Reverend Davis was formally installed as Pastor on September 28, 1986. We continued to grow in spirit and knowledge; in as much, we were led to understand that we should also improve the way we worship. Therefore, we advanced from Second and Fourth Sunday Worship, to Weekly Worship Services. Reverend Davis vigorously worked with our youth and many young souls gave their lives to Christ. A youth choir was organized, a Family Fest activity, and the beginning of Youth Sunday on the third Sunday of each month. On Youth Sunday, the youth were in charge of various parts of the worship services. Reverend Davis faithfully and spiritually led us until his resignation on January 15, 1994.
In January 1994, Reverend Carl Jackson began his service to Round Top Baptist Church as Interim Pastor. On May 27, 1994, he was elected Pastor. During his tenure, the church family gained new souls to Christ, and many improvements to the church were completed, such as: the adding of new lighting, carpeting, enlargement of the vestibule, exterior bricking, landscaping, the addition and covering of the handicap walkway, addition of a completely new fellowship hall, pastor’s study, new kitchen, new restrooms, renovation of the Sunday School classrooms, and a new marquee. Pastor Jackson marked his service with strong conviction and education until his resignation on August 2, 2002.
Beginning September 2002, Reverend Dr. Roscoe C. Wilson, Sr., Pastor Emeritus of the St. John Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina, began his service as our Interim Pastor. During his leadership, several gave their lives to Christ. During the year 2003, we were blessed by God to purchase a church van, which assists in transporting our Jubilee Choir to their many singing engagements and for other church purposes. We also purchased new seating for both choir stands. God blessed us with Reverend Wilson’s devout belief in Christ, wisdom, love, strong leadership, and guidance. Reverend Wilson firmly believed that God would send Round Top the Shepherd that was needed and guided us in prayerfully asking this from God.
On June 18, 2004, we elected our new Pastor, Reverend Fleming O. McClinton. Reverend McClinton, our God sent Pastor, preached his first official sermon as the Pastor of Round Top Baptist Church on Sunday, July 11, 2004. That day, his message from God brought forth two new souls to Christ. Through Pastor McClinton’s teachings and divine guidance from God, our church membership has increased greatly through Baptism, Christian experience/letter, and Watch Care.
While under the leadership of Pastor McClinton, Round Top Baptist Church has a church Mission Statement and Church Logo; implemented an 8:00 a.m. Worship Service each Sunday; established a Food Pantry with monthly distributions to the community; installed sound/video system with an upgrade in technology; became a member of the NAACP and implemented a 4-H Club. An equipped playground area was constructed at the Round Top Center with in-kind and monetary donations and manual labor from the community, members, businesses and friends.
Today, we are thankful to be able to remember the long, arduous, as well as prosperous road we have traveled. We have progressed through a year of “Transformation”, a year of “Power, Prayer and Unlimited Possibilities”, a year of “Practice”, a year of “Christ, Commitment, and Community”, a year of “Consistency and Contentment”, a year “To the Glory of God”, and a year of “I Can”.
We have claimed 2019 as “The Year of Encouragement”. Every day, we give thanks to GOD for all that HE has done and continues to do. We continue to pray to God for encouragement as we continue to promote our Christian Mission and worship HIM in spirit, truth, and love.”