"Trading Ford Baptist Church was established as a branch of the Jersey Church in 1856, and was served by the Rev. William Lambeth for fifteen years, beginning in 1853, before the organization, and continuing until 1869. They commenced in the woods, with a schoolhouse and an arbor, but now have a comfortable building of their own, eight miles east of Salisbury, on the Miller's Ferry Road. In the summer of 1870, Elders Bessent, Allison, and one other, met as a Presbytery and organized it a full and separate church. Since Mr. Lambeth ceased to minister to them they have had as ministers, Rev. C.W. Bessent, Rev. W.K. Gwaltney, Rev. S.F. Conrad, and Rev. Mr. Morton." (Note: the above paragraph is an excerpt from Rumple's History of Rowan County, originally published in 1881 by JJ Bruner, Salisbury, NC.)
On October 16, 1869, C.W. Bessent, pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church of Davie County, together with W.R. Mason, S.J. Tatem, A.J. Ruth and John Banks, all members of Jerusalem, met at the Shemwell School House in Rowan County, and organized an arm of the church at Jerusalem Baptist Church. It continued as an arm of Jerusalem with regular services on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month until November 19, 1870, when a Presbytery sent by the mother church, composed of C.M. Bessent, D. Horn, and G.W. Howerton, organized it into a full and separate church, to be known as Trading Ford Baptist. At the time, the covenant of the church was read and adopted. Articles of faith and rules for decorum were presented. The church was constituted on the 20th day of November, 1870, with sixty-one members. The first protracted meeting was held in the summer of 1871 with Rev. Allison Turner Howerton assisting the pastor. Following this meeting, the church applied for admission in the Yadkin association. In 1873, the church asked for removal from this association and sent delegates to a new association being formed at New Hope Church in Iredell County, the South Yadkin Association. Rowan Baptist Association was formed in 1927, and Trading Ford then became a member of this association. Discipline was very strict in the early church. A committee was appointed to investigate rumors in regard to members of the church. Members would be dismissed from the church for offenses such as making hay on Sunday, denying just debt, obstinacy, disorderly conduct, or failing to attend services. If the member asked for forgiveness, he would then not be excluded from membership. There were occasions when a church letter was not granted to unite with another church because the member was behind in his church dues. At each church conference, the health of the church was called for. Most of the time the answer would be “all is well” or “all in peace.”
Up until 1922, the pastor was called for a year at a time. In December of 1922, the church voted to call the pastor for an indefinite period of time. The pastor was to give the church three months’ notice of resignation, and the church was to give the same to the pastor if his pastorate was to be terminated. In November of 1928, for the first time, the pastor was called for full time service. The church’s 100th anniversary was celebrated during 1970, with special events beginning in March and ending in November. The events included a Family Night Social, displaying relics of 100 years; revival led by Rev. W.E. Entriken; Annual Homecoming on the third Sunday in June; revival led by Dr. Elmer Piper; special service with Dr. Grady Wilson of the Billy Graham Association; and the Anniversary Celebration on November 15. The date of the annual homecoming was changed in 1987 from the third Sunday in June to the first Sunday in November to coincide more closely with the church’s November anniversary. While the church had an interim pastor from 1997-1999, members of the church became actively involved in REVISION, a process of redefining and refining this congregation’s purpose as a church. As a result of the process, a church council, made up of all elected key leaders, was activated to oversee and guarantee that all church activities are coordinated and are in support of the church’s focus at the time: to win the lost at any cost. In 2000, the decision was made to start having two church services while a Capital Campaign was launched to raise funds for a new building. That building was completed and the church was able to go back to a single service in 2009. You can read more about it below. Trading Ford Baptist Church has a long history of sending laborers into the ministry dating back to at least the 1930s and possibly before. The pastors of the church are listed on a separate page, but we have been fortunate enough to also employ three full time youth pastors in recent years; Keith Mason, Justin Lucas, Greg Parsons and currently, Dr. Chris Crabtree. There have also been numerous other ministry staff and support leaders that have helped with the running of Trading Ford Baptist Church.
The first church building was built in 1871. In 1924, the building which is now the Student Center was built at a cost of $6,000. The first service was held in it on June 15, 1924. Less than a year later, a rally service was held on Sunday, March 16, 1925. A collection of $2,043 was received which cleared the church from debt. On Sunday, June 14, 1925, the note of the building was burned and the house was dedicated by Rev. A.O. Moore. January 3, 1926, a parsonage was begun across the street from the church and was complete in a short time, the cost of which was $2,500. In 1939, a south wing was added. A north wing was added in 1944, along with a brick veneer. The Fellowship Hall was added in 1948 along with excavation under the church for additional Sunday School rooms in 1950. . A new parsonage was built in 1958 in a field next to the church. In the 1962, the Fellowship Hall was added on to, connecting it to the sanctuary. A new educational building was built adding classrooms, church offices, conference room. It came at a cost of $350,000 and was occupied in 1992. A capital campaign was used to raise funds for this new building. The kitchen was completely renovated and enlarged in 1999, making the kitchen fully equipped with more storage space. The current Worship Center and Gym was built at a cost of $1.2 million. A total of $896,000 was borrowed. Building was complete and the first service was held in the new space in 2009. The debt was paid off in June of 2018. A special note burning service was held on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
The first recorded offering was in March, 1870, in the amount of $7.90. In 1873, the pastor’s salary was recorded as $60 per year (That's around $1,380 in today's money). In that same year, evidence of giving to missions was noted when the treasurer collected five cents per month from each member for the Home Missions Fund. During 1932, when money was scarce, Product Day was declared. On this day, people who did not have money to give could give products, “if they wished to help in the work of the Kingdom.” A committee was appointed to dispense the products as they saw fit. The budget for 1960-61 was $20, 276. The budget for 1970-71 was $40, 681. Trading Ford provided financial assistance to Oakland Heights Baptist Mission from April, 1956 through September, 1969, when the mission became a church on its own. The budget for 1999-2000 was $231,942. Current operating budget, in our 150th year, is $446,472.