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Roopville Road Baptist Church: A Philadelphian church in a Laodicean Age

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Stephen Peeples, a gracious, humble, and passionate servant of Christ, is pastor of Roopville Road Baptist Church. He commented, “Our purpose is to preach the Word, love the people, be on mission and just be who we are.” It is good for a church to have a distinctive identity.

“We want to be a Bible-focused church, a salt of the earth people, known for our genuine love, and not following the latest trend just to be relevant.” There is nothing more relevant than God’s Word and unconditional love. That is the emphasis of Pastor Peeples and the church he serves.

Many Biblical scholars believe the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 have chronological significance. They contend that the Philadelphian Church represents the church age from the first half of the 18th century to World War II. It was presumably ushered in by the First Great Awakening marked by the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John Wesley.

This specific era of church history was reinforced by the missionary zeal of William Carey who preached his famous sermon in Nottingham, England in 1792 on Isaiah 54:2-3, declaring, “Lengthen thy cords; and strengthen thy stakes,” launching a significant missionary movement.

Consequently, the Philadelphian Church in Revelation 3 is known for its open door, selfless love, theological fidelity, and missionary zeal. Those endearing qualities seem to characterize Roopville Road Baptist Church.

However, many of those Bible scholars maintain that we are now living in the Laodicean Church age which is characterized by apostasy and apathy. The saving grace about the current church age is that, like Roopville Road, there are still some Philadelphian churches in this era of what seems to be a lukewarm and lethargic religion.

Peeples agrees that we are living in the age of apostasy. He explained, “We are reaping the repercussions of the breakdown in the home, a lack of respect for the elderly and those in authority, rampant lawlessness, and a greater confidence in social media and vain ideologies than in the Word of God.”

Are there Philadelphian churches in the Laodicean age? Absolutely! And Roopville Road Baptist is one of them.

The church is located five miles south of Carrollton, Georgia near the small town of Roopville (population - 218). The church was established in February of 1978. According to the church’s history there were fifteen men who sat at a kitchen table and wrote down the amount of money they would be able to give toward the purchase of land for a new church campus. When they counted the amount of money pledged, it came to the exact dollar amount needed for the acquisition of the land.

The first building was a two-story facility measuring 40 feet by 90 feet with Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall in the basement. Over the years additional buildings have been constructed to meet the needs of a burgeoning congregation.

By 2008 a master plan was initiated to raise funds for a new complex including a 56,000 square foot sanctuary with nursery/preschool accommodations, Sunday School/education, and office space. The $8.9 million facility was started in February 2013 and completed in the fall of 2014. In the last eight years the church has paid $7 million toward the debt; and hopes to have the entire indebtedness retired in just two more years.

The church has had only two pastors prior to Peeples, who has served the church for 24 years. The church has grown from 55 charter members to almost 1800 members. The worship attendance of the church on Sunday morning is generally greater than three times and occasionally four times the population of the town.

The leadership of Roopville Road Baptist Church has not compromised with the culture, nor did they succumb to the ravages of the pandemic. Even though the church did not have in-person worship for fourteen Sundays they had continuous video broadcasts of their Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. By June of 2020 the church was meeting once again on Sunday morning, by August the Wednesday evening activities were held on campus and by October the Sunday evening services were resumed with people in the pews. There was no suspension of the feeding of the flock of God at Roopville Road.

The church has an evangelistic heart and still lovingly and aggressively reaches out into the community and beyond to win the lost. On the Saturday before Halloween the church had what they called “Hallelujah Night” comparable to what some churches call their Fall Festival. Twenty-five Sunday School classes were responsible for having inflatable amusements, games for children, and creative booths all of which were designed to present the Gospel in some compelling way.

Despite a cold night with misty rain, over one thousand people came to “Hallelujah Night”. Each person was registered and on November 13th there will be as many as 400 of those guests visited by church members who will endeavor to touch them with the love of Christ and their personal testimonies of salvation.

Roopville Road Baptist Church is an Acts 1:8 church that has a laser focus on its own community, the state of Georgia, the U. S. with mission endeavors in New York, and Appalachia, and the world engaging with people in Honduras, Uganda, Ecuador, and Indonesia. The goal of the church is to touch the lives of as many people as possible with the Gospel – the mark of a Philadelphian church.

The Roopville Road Church is an active, busy church with many programs, ministries and missions and the church seems to work together with cooperative and love. Peeples gives much credit to his staff, saying, “They are the best, the absolute best. There is no way we could do it without them.”

Peeples admitted that in-home visits were suspended during the COVID pandemic, but that the church is preparing to relaunch their outreach efforts one Saturday each month with personal visits to the homes of those who need to know the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Peeples also calls those who visit the church as soon as the worship service has ended. He said, “Homer Lindsay, at First Baptist Jacksonville, FL, said that the first hour after new prospects visit the church is ‘the golden hour’ and is the most productive time to contact those who visited the church for the first time on Sunday morning.

The church has many young families and Peeples says the average age of the congregation is probably early 40s. In fact, the children’s choir has 70 members, the youth choir is just beginning to get started again and the adult choir often has 100 voices praising God in the Sunday morning worship services.

If you were to visit Roopville Road Baptist Church or watch one of their services online you would experience an excited congregation praising God in a blended/traditional style of worship, a church with an uncompromising allegiance to the fundamental truths of God’s Word, expository sermons preached with fervor, and get a glimpse of what a Philadelphian church is like. You can watch the church’s worship services by going to their website at: www.roopvilleroad.org

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