Pastor John Arthur has served the same church for 50 years, and he is still going strong.
Eureka First Baptist Church, Trenton, is a small country church located just off Interstate 20 north of Aiken. Founded in 1892, the church called 19-year-old Arthur in 1963 while he was a student at North Greenville College. That relationship continues to this day.
“It has been quite a ride, and I have enjoyed being the pastor here. We do not have the largest church around, and are not in a major population center, but we are discipling people and helping them fall more deeply in love with Jesus,” he said.
A 50-year-old member recounted an event that endeared her to the pastor for life. Her grandmother had just passed away, and the home was filled with mourners and visitors. Arthur noticed she was sitting alone on the front porch. He sat down beside her and said, “I am so sorry that your grandmother died, but one day you will see her again.” He continued, “I gave her a hug, told her I loved her, and that God loved her more than she could imagine.” As it turned out, Arthur was the only one who comforted her. “I will always remember that,” she said.
The church is alive and active, and will baptize two people this month. Arthur embraces a personal touch for ministry, and so does the church. “Jesus went to those who were sick, those who needed him, and to those who were in sin. We need to be where the hurting people are, getting involved with them where they live,” he said. “Then we can show them who can satisfy the spiritual hunger they have.”
He continues to encourage young pastors, and advises them to develop a thick skin and be willing to stay with a church over the “long haul.”
Arthur relies on the services and training offered through the South Carolina Baptist Convention and has helped a local Hispanic church connect with the convention. After 50 years at the church, he has no plans for slowing down.