God causes Decaturville church to grow
DECATURVILLE – For Union Southern Baptist Church, there isn’t a magic formula for church growth or health. The congregation didn’t implement a new program or embrace the latest fad. Pastor John Pulley said there isn’t any reason for the church’s growth, unless you consider the hand of God.
“We’re being obedient and God is doing the rest,” he said. “That’s the only way I can explain it.”
When the church called Pulley as their pastor in 2000, their attendance was a dozen – on a good Sunday. He served for two and a half years, but made little progress. He was frustrated and becoming discouraged.
Then things began to change. Pulley can’t point to any one thing, other than God’s guiding hand.
Now, four and half years later, the church is averaging close to 70 men, women, children and youth in worship each week – a 483 percent increase.
“God put the people in place like he wanted them,” Pulley said.
The bi-vocational pastor said the church has not only grown in size but has cultivated a reputation in the community as a place where God’s love reigns and everyone is welcome.
“It doesn’t make any difference your age or who you are,” he said. “I know it sounds kind of corny, but everyone feels like they belong here. Kids come in and the adults want them there. We are real people. We tell you who we are, and what we believe and I think that’s the motivation for growth we’ve seen.”
One couple from Macks Creek 25 miles away heard about the church’s reputation and soon joined. Now they trek back and forth and lead the Union youth group.
He is quick to point out that he deserves no praise for the growth. If anything, he gives the congregation credit for stepping in and ministering when he cannot.
“They understand I am a bivocational pastor,” Pulley said. “They help with visitation and do what needs to be done. The way we work together, it’s totally off the charts.”
Four years ago, even as the church was beginning to grow, they hit a road block: termites in badly needed Sunday School space.
Pulley said the church was unanimous and excited as they took on the project and finished it with no debt.
Whether it sounds like fiction or not, the truth is the church is still growing. This summer they enrolled 105 children and youth in Vacation Bible School and they’re looking to buy property to expand their facilities.
“We have a clear cut vision of building onto the church and buying land,” Pulley said. “This is not a hit and run thing. It’s continuous.”