|Historic Macedonia Baptist Church has a ‘girl’ in the pulpit|
|Friday, 15 February 2013 04:21 | Written by Valerie J. Morgan|
CONYERS—Billie Cox didn’t set out to make history when she accepted the pastor’s position at Macedonia Baptist Church. She says she was just answering a higher calling to preach and lead God’s people.
At the helm for just 4½ months now, Cox is the first woman to lead the 139-year-old Macedonia, one of the oldest black churches in Conyers. She and Macedonia are acknowledging that historic step with a little saying they’ve adopted: “There’s a girl in the pulpit….Come experience the difference.”
Cox says she wants the community to know that Macedonia is a refuge that welcomes all with open arms.
“We just want people to know that this is a ministry of restoration. The bible tells us to weep with one another, to bear one another’s burdens,” said Pastor Cox. “If you’re hurting or need healing, Macedonia is a safe place to come.”
No one perhaps knows that better than Springfield Baptist Church’s pastor, Eric Lee, who is performing Cox’s pastoral installation on Feb. 24. Cox served under Lee as director of ministries before taking on her assignment at Macedonia.
“We do miss her, but I recognize that God has elevated her to a new assignment,” said Lee. “Macedonia has a wonderful pastor with an excellent skill set. The Lord has equipped her with so many gifts.”
Lee says that Cox’s appointment at Macedonia came at a critical time for the Conyers community. In January, Cox had to quickly shift gears, serving not only as pastor but as a crisis manager and spokesperson when Reba Glass, a member of Macedonia, tragically lost four of her five young children in a fire. Glass, along with her mother, Rosetta Mitchell, and Glass’ 6-year-old son, survived the fire. Cox organized contributions for the family and led a prayer vigil that drew people from throughout the community to Macedonia.
“It was a divine appointment that she was there for a time such as this,” said Lee. “She had to be a comforter, a spokesperson, manage all of the benevolence and preach.”
Minister Karla Daniels, who met Cox at Springfield, described Cox as having a “heart for people.”
“She is one of those people who gets to the heart of issues and she keeps it real,” Daniels said. “She’s not afraid to deal with pain and hurt. She doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear according to the Word.”
Deacon Harold Davis said Cox and her husband, Lemuel, are dynamic ministry leaders that Springfield misses tremendously.
“We had a going-away party and I’m still crying,” Davis said. “As a deacon, I saw up close the impact that they made. The only thing that has eased the pain that they’re no longer with is that she is doing what she was led to do by God and they’re not too far away. They’re still in the community.”
Cox has led a Christ-centered life all her life. She grew up in Lanett, AL as a preacher’s kid. She received her undergraduate degree in organizational leadership from Mercer University and recently, completed her master of divinity degree at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University.
“God knew exactly where to place me,” Cox said. “I believe that I was born to be at Macedonia.”
Cox said God has blessed her transition from Springfield to Macedonia. Macedonia had about 32 members and was in decline when Cox arrived last October. Now, that membership is growing.
“I have a congregation that has been very supportive, open and receptive,” Cox said. “The uniqueness of going into a small congregation has been wonderful for me. We had 16 people join recently in one service. Since November, we have been blessed with an increase in our membership of 40 new members not to mention that former members have also started to come back. I just thank God for what He is doing at Macedonia, and for using me to teach His people.”
Cox says she enjoys preaching in an expository style because it allows her to reach both, adults and children.
“I like to make the word as plain and simple as possible so the youngest child and the oldest adult can understand it,” Cox said.
Pastor Eric W. Lee will perform the pastoral installation for Billie Cox on Feb. 24, 3 p.m., at Springfield Baptist Church, 1877 Iris Drive, Conyers
Macedonia Baptist Church is located at 1052 Baron St., Conyers. Worship services are held Sundays at 11 a.m., and Bible Study is held Tuesdays at 7 p.m.