In the spring of 1957, Ralph Jackson and James Banks, who were members of Glen Raven Baptist Church, thought it would be a great idea to have a church in the Rivermont Community, where they lived. After talking to people in the community they found there was a lot of support for the idea. The contacted the “Mother Church” First Baptist Church of Kinston and were given their support.
The church was organized with the help of layman James Smith as a mission of First Baptist Church of Kinston, on July 1, 1957; under the name of Rivermont Missionary Baptist Church. Our first service was held that day in two small houses on OK Street. We took the walls out of one of the houses so we could have enough room for Church. Chairs and Hymnals were donated by First Baptist Church of Kinston. Keith and Louise Williams donated a piano to the mission and, Faye Jackson was the pianist. Rent for the houses was $50.00 per month and it was heated with oil heaters. Reverend Starling of Neuse Baptist Association led the first Services. There were 65 in Sunday School and 21 members coming from other churches. So our mission began through GOD’s grace.
Rev. Jay Morris was the first Pastor with only a short stay. He was followed by Reverend Norman Arant in March 1958. Land was purchased for a new Church building by First Baptist Church and was given to the Mission. The ground breaking for the new Church facility on Rivermont Drive, Kinston, N.C. was in the spring of 1959. Within a few weeks church members began building the new church. The goal was to have the new facility ready for Bible School in June of 1959. The Lord blessed us and, we had Bible School in the new facility. The building wasn’t complete by any means, partitions had been run but there was no floor except the sub floors. All the work was done by church members, except for the masonry work, refinishing the floors and painting. So our journey continues with the grace and blessing of GOD.
Rivermont Baptist Church, with 50-odd members, was formally organized in a ceremony in the church at 4 p.m. Sunday September 20, 1959. Dr. M. A. Huggins of Raleigh was the guest speaker with the general theme of “Let the Church Be a Real Church”. His text was taken from 1st Corinthians chapter 1. The first opening hymn was “The Church is One Foundation”. Rev. Richard E. Whitley, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, read the Scripture lesson, using Ephesians 2. Ray Jones offered a prayer, Chairman Roy Poole of the Missions Committee read the church resolutions, which were adopted after being seconded by Lake Rouse. Charter members roll call was given with charter membership being left open until January 1, 1960 with 8 more charter members to be added. Pastor Norman F. Arant offered the motion to approve charter member list and with a second the list was approved. “Onward Christian Soldiers” was the closing hymn. Rev. Weston C. Reed of Kinston, retired superintendent of the State Baptist Homes, offered the benediction. Our journey continued with the blessing and grace of GOD.
The deacons recommended on February 20, 1983 that the church purchase a track of land located on Hwy 258 S. We had ground breaking for our new and present facilities on November 15, 1987. Our first services were held October 2, 1988. We had Three Hundred Forty (340) members enrolled in Sunday School, on September 30, 1988. On September 27, 1989 there were Four Hundred members enrolled. Showing an increase of sixty (60) additions in the first year in this new facility. The dedication of the new building was held on November 6, 1988. Rivermont Baptist Church has grown much since July, 1957 to the present.
Since July 1, 1957 we have had several pastors to lead our congregation. Some served short terms but several were here for extended periods. This included Reverend R.. Lacy Oliver who served Rivermont Baptist in some capacity either Interim, Part Time or full time for over 28 years. His last sermon was March 26, 1995. He remained a member of our Church until his death.
Following Rev. Lacy Oliver’s retirement Rev. Randy Cowan served our Church from March 5, 1995 until July 31, 1997. Rev. Scott Stevenson served as our pastor from Dec, 1997 until January 1999. After Rev. Stevenson left the pulpit Rev. Glassie Locklear was call as interim Pastor in May 1999 and was called as bi-vocational pastor in May of 2000 and resigned his position in April 2007. Several retired pastors served the church until the call of a full time pastor. Rev. Ronnie Davis was called as full time pastor on in December 2007. When he left us in 2011 Luis Miranda, who was serving as our Youth Pastor, took his place as bi-vocational /full time December 2011 until August of 2021.
From September 2021 until May we had multiple fill-in pastors to lead our congregation while we were in search of a pastor. We were even blessed enough to have an interim pastor, Eddie Griffin for a few months, until June of 2022 when John Morton was called to be our bi-vocational pastor.
As our attendance continues to increase we believe that GOD will continue to bless HIS Church.
Rivermont Baptist Church is a proud member of the Southern Baptist Convention, sharing it’s belief’s and practice, and working with them in Evangelism, Teaching and Missions. We use the Southern Baptist tracts, books and literature on all known subjects that cover all biblical views know to man. Our teachers lead their classes in the study of the International Sunday School lesson as outlined by our Sunday School board.
Let us all pray that we have grown spiritually and continue to grow as GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT leads us onward.