SPRINGFIELD – Despite official positions and best intentions to the contrary, the racial makeup of many Missouri Baptist churches does not accurately reflect the communities they serve. In its appointment of new discipleship pastor and elder, Brandon Taylor, South Creek Church in Springfield is taking one small step toward flipping the script, beginning with its leadership.
Taylor, an African American, is the first new elder of the mostly white congregation since it was planted 14 years ago.
“For the country, the state and even our own city, we’re pretty segregated on Sunday mornings,” said South Creek’s worship pastor and elder Justin Nelson. “I have a passion for racial reconciliation and of all the places this should be happening, it’s within the church. We should be the ones saying there’s only one race, Adam’s race, and the amount of melanin in our skin shouldn’t matter.”
Originally from St. Louis, Taylor is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Though he is eager to begin serving there, he was originally skeptical about South Creek.
“It was behind a strip mall on the lower level,” he said. “The windows were tinted, and I looked at my wife and said, ‘I’m not going in there.’ But when I came, it was like a big hug.”
Taylor said that even before he accepted Christ, he had been fighting an interest in the ministry. Once he was saved, the call to serve became overwhelming. Now out of seminary and ready to serve at South Creek, that desire to serve God and dive deeper into His Word continues.
“I’m a computer programmer, and it’s to the point where I dread coming to work because I’d rather be at home studying and getting ready to disciple or preach the truth,” he said. “It’s pulling at me. I can’t control it, but it’s where I want to be.”
South Creek has steadily grown since it was planted 14 years ago, outgrowing three locations before finally purchasing the building they’re in now. They average 150-175 in attendance on a Sunday morning.