Pastor retires after 41 years at Lewis Fork
    May 1 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    George Washington was president of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence was only 16 years old when Lewis Fork Baptist Church was planted in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Wilkesboro, N.C. Since its founding in 1792 the church has been led by 27 pastors. Sherrill Wellborn served as the church’s most recent pastor for 41 years.
    The church honored Wellborn and his wife, Mary, on the occasion of his retirement on Sunday, April 15. With his usual clever wit, Wellborn told the congregation, “I’ve out-done Moses. He led the children of Israel out in the wilderness 40 years. I’ve led you 41 years.” 
    The celebration included comments by church members and some of Wellborn’s closest friends in ministry. 
    Greg Mathis, pastor of Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, spoke to the congregation by pre-recorded video. 

    BR photo by K. Allan Blume

    Sherrill Wellborn shares some parting words April 15 at Lewis Fork Baptist Church.

    “As I have traveled the state of N.C. ... I don’t know of anyone that’s more of a favorite – not only to me but to many pastors – than you are Sherrill,” Mathis said. “Your kind spirit, your faithful dedication, your willingness to work with other people, your steadfastness and perseverance through the years has truly been an example to all of us ... Congratulations, you have run a good race.”
    Ray Davis, a pastor and Baptist leader, has been a close friend of Wellborn: “He is exactly today the man I met 38 years ago. He’s real, he’s transparent, [he’s] been an inspiration to me. 
    Kenneth Ridings, retired president of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, also delivered a greeting. By video, Ridings spoke of his respect for Wellborn saying, “I rejoice with you in your retirement ... You have been very faithful; you have always been a good friend ... You have had a great ministry, and I want you to know how much I love you and thank God for you.”
    Wellborn is widely known as a revival-preaching pastor.
    Pastors in several states invited him to preach as many as 17 revivals each year. While Wellborn said he looked forward to retirement, he admitted that he wants to continue preaching.
    Steve Gouge, director of missions for the Brushy Mountain Baptist Association, led in a prayer of blessing for Sherrill and Mary Wellborn. He described Wellborn as a man of “vast spiritual impact.”
    “When any issue of importance is raised in our area, his voice is one that everyone wants to hear. He exudes the qualities of a great Christian statesman … Sherrill’s kind manner and pastor’s heart has endeared him to the whole region and state. He is one of my heroes.”
    N.C. Baptists are familiar with Wellborn’s record. He served 8 years on the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) Board of Directors, and terms on the Executive Committee, Budget Committee and Nominating Committee. He also served on Fruitland’s board.
    During a time when division characterized the BSC, Mathis and Mike Queen from First Baptist Church in Wilmington appointed the committee of 20 – 10 conservatives and 10 moderates – to discuss ways Baptists can cooperate. Wellborn was asked to serve as one of the 10 conservatives on the committee.
    In a personal video message to Wellborn, Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer, said, “You are a legend in your own right ... this long tenure is reflective not only of the great leadership that [you] have given, but it is also a testimony to the grace, the love and the support of a church family who has supported their pastor through the years.
    “I appreciate all you have done ... in extending your ministry beyond your community to help the Baptist State Convention in the various ministries you have been part of. I thank you for the roles of leadership where you have served. We have looked to you, asking you to serve on committees and boards because we have recognized your ability and the way you have been able to discern God’s leadership.” 
    Wellborn and his wife still reside in Wilkesboro. He is available to fill pulpits and preach revivals.
    5/1/2012 3:02:58 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Pastor, Retire

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