It was prior to April 1921 that twelve devoted members started to worship God in a brush harbor just few hundred yards from where this Sanctuary stands today. Branching out from the mother church – Springfield Missionary Baptist Church, which is located a few miles north of our location, the twelve members led by Deacon Paul W. Walker, Rev. A. S. Pope and presiding Pastor Rev. C.H. Moseley started worship in a brush harbor and eventually worshiped on a donated acre of land. The original acreage was donated by the Bell family, a family that owned and farmed in this area.
As recorded with the Secretary of State office in Columbia, SC, the group organized in April 16, 1921 as the Bell Grove Benevolent Aid Society. At some point during these years the group obtained or built a wooden structure (society hall) where they conducted their meetings.
In 1935 after serving and worshiping in the society hall for more than fifteen years and anticipating the need for expansion, the group purchased a second acre of land and organized as the Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church. The congregation would eventually purchase to more acres of land which completed the four acre tract on which the church is currently located.
With the Society continuing to function as a part of the church, the congregation began the task of building their first Sanctuary. As history has it, the members who labored to build the first Sanctuary hauled lumber on a one horse wagon over a period of time until the church structure was completed. On March 9, 1937 the congregation, singing “Great Day, Righteous Marching” marched out of the society hall, held its first service in the new Sanctuary.
Over the next forty years the congregations were led by several Pastors starting with the Rev. Bunch Butler, Rev. Hammonds, Rev. Eddie Simmons, Rev. Woodrow W. Doby, Rev. George Anderson.
In the early 1970s a vision of new expansion led to the planning and building of the current Sanctuary. Under the leadership of two Pastors, the Rev. George Anderson and the Rev. Amos Adams, the current Sanctuary was planned and built. In 1975 the Rev. Amos Adams led the congregation into the new edifice singing, “We’re Marching Up To Zion.”
On February 24, 1980 under the leadership of the Rev. Robert C. Herrington, a congregation of faithful members witnessed the burning of the mortgage.
On September 24, 1981 the Bell Grove torch of enlightenment and salvation was carried on under the guidance of the Reverend James E. Reynolds. Under Pastor Reynolds the congregations purchased pews and installed central heat and air. In 1984 the old school building which set a short distance from the church was moved and renovated and is now utilized as a kitchen, study and fellowship hall.
In 1991 the Lord sent the Reverend Leroy Robertson as Pastor. Under Pastor Robertson, Bible Study, a youth ministry, Vacation Bible School and the Hospitality ministry was established. Reverend Robertson served faithfully for four years.
In 1999, after the resignation of Rev. Robertson, Son of the House, the Reverend Frank Deloach was asked to preside as interim Pastor. However six months later on June 27, 1996 the congregation called Reverend Deloach as Pastor. Under Rev. Deloach a three night spring revival was started and the youth choir was reorganized. Rev. Deloach served faithfully until December 1997.
On April 11, 1999 the congregation’s prayers were answered for new Spiritual leadership and concern for the church’s future was answered by God with the call of the Reverend Lester A. Smalls. Pastor Smalls, a man with a vision, presented the Divine direction for Bell Grove on the first day he met with the congregation.
As a result of Pastor Smalls’ leadership of the past 19 years, the Bell Grove Church family made great strides with the renovation, improvement and careful and caring upkeep of God’s house.
Pastor Smalls is very concerned about the Christian’s approach to God’s house; how the Sanctuary is kept and respected reflects on the church family. Christians should have a profound reverence for God during worship, study, their daily service and life walk.
Under Pastor Smalls, the establishment of an effective and spirit-led administrative, support and service ministries have contributed to the return of many members and the influx to many who are seeking a new life with Christ. While the church has made great strides in the development of the services and functions of Bell Grove, Pastor Smalls does not allow the congregation to lose focus on what is most important part of the Christian mission and that is to “Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to win other souls for Christ.” In other words, he encourages the congregation to “SHARE THE JOY OF KNOWING JESUS CHRIST.”
Pastor Smalls carefully fosters the development of all areas of the Bell Grove Mission including putting much emphasis on the growth and development of our youths.
Under Pastor Smalls, God has truly kept Bell Grove on a Divine track to Spiritual and ministerial growth. He is a teaching preacher who understands the importance of "stirring up the gifts" and preaching the unadulterated Word of God.
Over the years, given the omnipotence of our True and Living God, the Bell Grove Church family has truly benefited from the “Gifts” that God has placed in this Body and the talents that they share. From the tiny members of the SONbeams choir to the Deacons, to the Church Clerks and Secretaries, to the Ushers, Auxiliary leaders, musicians and to Church mothers and all seeking, willing and obedient servants, we must thank God for all that he has done!
Over the years, we the Bell Grove Church family have truly been blessed with the many servants that God has sent to this flock.