Clinton’s Davidson Street Baptist is a church on the go

Contributing to the excitement at Davidson Street Baptist Church in Clinton: international missions, a partnership with a local school, Vacation Bible School evangelism, involvement with the local high school football team, and talk of a building program.

“All things are certainly possible with God, but to the human mind it’s just nothing short of phenomenal what God is doing here at Davidson Street,” said pastor Kenny Moore, who, with his wife, Shelby, came to serve the congregation in 2003.

Davidson Street Baptist Church is 50 years old and averages 140 in worship each Sunday.

“I am in awe, personally, of how God continues to replenish our numbers,” Moore said. “Our size church needs hands and feet to go and serve, and as we have gone and served, the Lord keeps sending people. Even with the death of some of our older members, we haven’t seen a decline in membership.”

Davidson Street just finished a nine-year international partnership in Burkina Faso, in West Africa, where volunteers engaged three different people groups in two different villages.

“We encouraged a local pastor there, and the church is bursting at the seams,” Moore said. “Another village only had three believers, and now they have outgrown their property.”

“We just went in and built relationships, encouraged local people, and prayed for people. The local pastors just needed encouragement and prayer, and they went into the villages and started churches. Now that area is no longer unreached. Shelby and I are going to Togo next.” (Togo is another country in West Africa, near the Gulf of Guinea.)

Davidson Street has also adopted Eastside Elementary School in Clinton, where the church started a Good News Club and is helping with free lunches and providing counseling for students following the tragic deaths of two children last year.

“The Lord has called us to be a light there,” Moore said of the school that is two miles from the church property.

In other work with local schools, Davidson Street has joined other area churches in feeding the Clinton High School varsity football team before its games, and that opened the door for Moore to share a devotion with the team during the season.

“As summer comes to a close and we look toward a new school year, we are celebrating how God worked during the summer and especially through our Vacation Bible School,” Moore said. “We credit our VBS with several children coming to know Jesus, and an entire family recently joined our church.”

Each month, the church also sends volunteers to help with a nearby soup kitchen, and volunteers travel to Columbia to sometimes assist with childcare at Mill City Church, where former music minister Matt Freeman now serves as executive pastor.

In addition to Mill City Church, Davidson Street has been in missional partnership with other South Carolina Baptist churches, like Zion Hill Baptist in Spartanburg and First Mt. Moriah Baptist in Greenwood.

“When Shelby and I came here, Davidson Street was largely an older-age congregation,” Moore said. “Now the preschool is full, there’s a young-married Sunday school class that’s full, and the people here are focused on missions and service. We have students who went to MFuge, and we are in current conversations about a building program because we are out of space.” MFuge is a summer camp experience sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tim Rice, team leader for missions mobilization on the South Carolina Baptist Convention staff, said Davidson Street Baptist Church and Pastor Kenny Moore “are living proof that God uses people who are faithful and teachable to accomplish His mission. His leadership and the way he models gospel living for others are two reasons why Davidson Street has been so effective in serving and reaching the lost locally and around the world.”

Moore, who has pastored for many years in the Upstate, has encouragement for pastors and leaders of neighborhood and smaller-membership churches like Davidson Street.

“Do what the Bible says to do,” he said. “Go and preach the gospel. It’s going to be difficult for a church to go and be on mission if you don’t preach the gospel. Preach what the Bible says.”

“The Lord tells us to go; and if we are going to be obedient, we have to go. As pastors, we must lead. If I want my church to do something, I need to model that and be in it with them. So I am involved in missions personally to show the example.

“If I want to see children and adults saved, how can I expect the people to embrace that if I’m not personally going to do my part? Shepherds lead the sheep, they don’t drive the sheep.”

— Scott Vaughan writes for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.