Last Sunday was a special day for Pastor Jim Parrish.
That's because April 19 marked Parrish's 30th anniversary as pastor of Bible Baptist Church, a Fort Mill church that sits atop a hill just off Hwy. 21 Bypass.
"I came to Fort Mill and started a brand new church," Parrish said. "We started with nobody. ... We had our first service Easter Sunday 1979."
Thirty years later, the church is still growing with Parrish at its helm, Assistant Pastor Jerry Boyce said. Some 273 people, including members from Bible Baptist Church's Korean mission church, attended last Sunday's double homecoming ceremony and lunch.
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"It's rare to see somebody in one place for so long," Boyce said of Parrish's pastorialship. "It's commendable because 1,500 pastors every month leave the ministry. They turn their backs on the church and get out entirely."
But not Parrish, Boyce said.
"It takes a lot of patience and endurance just to continue seeking to grow the church and do the work of the ministry," he said.
But first, Parrish had to grow the church membership from five to nearly 300.
"It was a lot of work," Parrish said. "I worked a full time job with Duke Power as a welder. Every afternoon, I'd go out and knock on doors until after dark."
The goal: Cover every home in Fort Mill.
"Came close," Parrish said. "But, "I'm sure there's some I missed."
Yet, his vision for Bible Baptist flourished.
These days, Parrish and his wife, Joy, focus on new members and their mission efforts in Fort Mill, across the United States and abroad. The church supports 19 foreign missionary families and 42 mission projects.
The mission efforts are rooted in house door knocks.
"I was just hopeful that somebody would come after all the doors he knocked on," Joy said.
And there are no reservations about working for God, she said.
"I haven't had any regrets," she said. "When you're working for the Lord, it's all good."
A humbled Parrish agreed.
"We're thankful," he said. "I wanted to come here and give my life to a town to try to get people into church and to get the lost saved."