History of the Rankin County Baptist Association
The Rankin Baptist Association was established in 1892. Through the years it was mainly an annual all day meeting in one of our churches. The Association was mainly a point of doctrinal integrity, fellowship and church planting until the early 1960s when we elected our first Director of Missions, Clarence Cutrell. Bro. Cutrell only served a short time and was succeeded by John McBride. Both of these men were basically part-time. In 1968, a group of pastors coming back from a meeting on the Coast, pulled off in a field and prayed about who would become the first full-time Director of Missions. It was decided that J.C. Renfroe, the pastor of the McLaurin Heights Baptist Church in Pearl should become the Director of Missions.
Bro. Renfroe served for 25 years until his retirement in 1993. He was an effective church planter, and was used greatly by God in racial relations, prison ministry and ministry to pastors. He also served as a chaplain with the Mississippi National Guard, thus impacting the lives of many unchurched men and women. He also led in starting the first Associational Counseling ministry for marriage and family, the Crossroads Counseling Center.
Upon Renfroe’s retirement, Allen Stephens was elected as Director of Missions. Under Stephens’ leadership the association has become a leader in missions involvement outside the churches. He has personally been involved in mission projects in Mississippi, in North America, and in other parts of the world. The Rankin Association has led the Mississippi Baptist Convention in Bible Drill participants, baptisms and mission involvement for the past several years. Stephens has been diligent at seeking to be a pastor to the pastors.
During the years of Stephens’ tenure, the Crossroads Counseling Center with Dr. Perry Sanderford as Director has grown and now has 5 locations.
RCBA has started the Rankin Baptist Hands-Up under the leadership of Roy and Mary Callahan. This ministry has impacted many men and women for Christ not only among the needy of our community, but also in our prisons.
Also, we have partnered with Mississippi Benevolence, a ministry under the leadership of Charles Holmes, helping those in need and assisting the churches and other benevolent organizations in maintaining a list of those who have been assisted.
Another partnership that is reaching those recovering from addictions, those being released from prison, and also planting a church is the Healing Touch Ministry under the leadership of Anthony Underwood.
The Nursing Home Ministry is under the leadership of Dr. Billy Thomas. The Association is giving Dr. Thomas encouragement and office space with the desire to see this ministry to a much neglected part of our society.