Group

GROUNDWORK

In the summer of 1969 Bill and Faith Bartlett came to Sissonville, West Virginia with the vision and direction of God to start an independent Baptist church in this small, but growing community.

A small building on Route 21, formerly Farrell's Grocery store was rented and renovated Side Shot with Businto a small auditorium and a couple of classrooms. A Gospel Sing was planned for June 21, 1969. At this service the pastor shared his vision for beginning the Maranatha Baptist Church in his message entitled, “Why Another Baptist Church?” Thirty-two people were present for this exciting meeting on the Saturday night before the first Sunday service. Seven people were there the next morning. One of those seven was Mrs. Pauline VanHorn who still serves the Lord through her church home at Maranatha.

From this small beginning the church grew in the first year to a faithful group of about thirty people, and the church was officially organized July 19, 1970. Some of these dear people are in Heaven, others have moved on to other places, and others are still active members of this church.  These faithful Christians prayed and worked together. With God's continued guidance, Maranatha Baptist Church was beginning to take shape.  The goals then and now are the same – to witness and win the lost and to train and encourage Christians.  The church began Visitation, Sunday School, Bus, and Youth Ministries right from the start in an effort to meet these two objectives.  The early members of the church who gave of their time and means were laying the ground work for a ministry that would continue to grow and flourish for years to come for the glory of God.

GROWTH

As the church family worked to invite and win others, like the church in the book of Acts, many were “added to the church.” Space became a problem as the church was outgrowing the little store building.  God answered the prayers of the growing congregation as the doors were open for Maranatha to purchase the Cunningham Funeral Home Building at 7020 Sissonville Drive. These were exciting times for the church family as the additional space brought about increased opportunity for ministry. The larger space offered more parking, classroom space, and a much needed larger auditorium. This time of expansion saw the beginning of  A.C.T. Camp, Maranatha Christian School, enlargement of the Bus Ministry and Junior Church, as well as teen rally's, vacation Bible School programs, and Ladies Jubilee meetings.  Zane Shives was hired as Assistant Pastor in 1978 to help with the school as well the church.

From 1976 to 1982, it seemed the church was in a constant building project. 7020 Year OneWork parties which had the men of the church digging footers, laying block, and installing drywall were common. An addition that doubled the size of the auditorium was constructed in 1976, to which a second floor was added in 1980, including a kitchen, fellowship area, and more classrooms. More construction was done in 1982 to add office space.

Kevan Bartlett, Pastor’s older son, returned home to Maranatha to serve on the Pastoral staff in 1984.  The Church Choir was restarted with fifteen people.  The church continued to experience growth, but with the second floor added, the property “land-locked” by Route 21 and private property, there was no room for additional expansion to that facility. Parking became a serious problem.  The church would have to relocate.

In 1987, the church was presented with the opportunity to purchase 90 acres of land at the Tuppers Creek exit of I-77. The property was purchased, and excavation was done to level a ten acre tract of land which is the current site of Maranatha Baptist Church.

GAINING GROUND

God did not allow Maranatha to move to the new land immediately. The church family was like the children of Israel, for a while anxiously wanting to get to the “promised land” that seemed just out of reach.

Finally on June 9, 1991, ground breaking services were held and the men could again pick up their shovels and hammers. The new building was completed and the first services were held there in March of 1992. The “new” building has been a wonderful blessing to our church. Ministry opportunities increased again with the additional space. For the first time in the church's history, parking was not a problem. The Choir, Sunday School, and Youth ministries were all enhanced and enlarged with the move to the new facility. The addition of the West Wing which began in 1998, provided additional rest rooms, more class rooms, and a large fellowship hall with a commercially equipped kitchen. This gave the church family an ideal place to hold youth activities, class parties, and dinners. More recent growth is seen in the addition of new ministries such as the AWANA clubs, Preschool/Daycare and live streaming of services on the internet.

PropertyThis time of growth has been a blessing. God has allowed growth in membership and in ministry. Faithful Christians have worked diligently in various areas of service. There are so many dedicated people who work bus routes, teach classes, volunteer office help, visit the elderly, work with the youth, help in the nursery, prepare food for the bereaved, plan and decorate for special events, help with church maintenance and cleaning, lead Junior Church, sing in the choir, provide special music, and what ever else needs to be done. Growth of

this ministry has occurred because God has blessed the efforts of  all who have given of themselves to make this ministry possible. The focus of these faithful servants is the same as that of the early members of Maranatha – to witness and win the lost and to train and encourage Christians.

GOING FORWARD

Pastor Bill J. Bartlett retired from pasturing in July 2008.  He served faithfully as the pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church for 39 years.  The church made a unanimous call to Associate Pastor Kevan Bartlett to follow his dad as The Pastor.  God has continued His rich blessings on the congregation and ministry of Maranatha.  Pastor Kevan Bartlett, commenting on the change of pastors said, “We are going to continue on the old path; by God's grace, to new horizons!”

GOALS

We are thankful for our rich heritage of faithful Christian's God has used to raise up this church.  We realize that we have truly come this far by faith. However, we must not rest on past accomplishments and blessings, but with our eyes of faith we should look boldly into the future and ask God to do even greater things.   Each of us should ask God what He wants us to do for Him through our church.

Eastwing Floor Plan