South County Baptist Church to install new pastor during service this Sunday

John M. Childers will be installed as pastor of the South County Baptist Church, 12995 Tesson Ferry Road, Sunday, Jan. 8.

The 10:45 a.m. service, which is open to the community, will feature greetings from Gov. Matt Blunt, Rep. Walt Bivins of Oak-ville, the Missouri Baptist Convention and others from south county.

Childers follows the Rev. John Hessel, who retired from the pastoral ministry and has been named pastor emeritus at South County Baptist. Hessel will deliver the in-stallation prayer during Sunday’s service.

Childers is the third pastor in the 17-year history of the church at the intersection of Tesson Ferry and Butler Hill roads. He comes to south county from the historic First Baptist Church of Washington, Ga., where he served as pastor for nearly seven years.

First Baptist Washington is the birthplace of Mercer University, the Christian Index — the nation’s oldest religious news journal and the official paper of the Georgia Baptist Convention — and modern-day Vacation Bible School.

While Childers was born in Memphis, Tenn., he was raised in Atlanta, Ga. He earned a master of divinity degree from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Semin-ary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a doctor of ministry degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

In a news release, Childers stated that he believes the church should set the pace for society rather than simply react to culture.

“God doesn’t intend for Christians to build a fort and guard it,” he stated. “His desire is that we interact with our culture so that we might flavor it with his grace and empower individuals and families to live fuller, more meaningful lives because of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is not about be-ing religious, it’s about having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.”

Childers and his wife, the former Jeannie Gibson of Cleburne, Texas, have two daugh-ters, Amy and Jennifer, who will attend Lind-bergh schools.