All About Salem

Get to know us before we get to know you.

170 Years and Growing ... 

Salem Baptist Church was first organized in 1846 when her first service was held in a log house. With a church membership roll of 40, Elder Robert Henson was elected as the first pastor of the church. Mr. Lewis Ward, a church deacon, gave the land and the timber for the first church building. In 1857, the first services were held in this new building. 

For the next several decades, Salem Baptist Church would have her ups and downs. There were even years when the church did not have services. Sixty five years and nearly a dozen pastors later, under the leadership of Pastor J. F. Pease, a new building was built for $5,000.

In 1963, David Peterson was called as pastor, and another new building was completed in 1965.

In 1967, Russell Pittman became pastor. While he was pastor, the church began to grow. In 1971, Pastor Pittman led the church to purchase the 35 acres of land where the church is located today. In 1980, the church moved into another new building.

In 1987, Gerald Thompson became the pastor of Salem Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the church grew more than it ever had in the previous 141 years. Shortly before Pastor Thompson retired, he led the church in building a brand new, beautiful 23,000 sq. foot auditorium. This building was built primarily by Salem’s own volunteer church members.

On May 15, 2015, the church voted in it's current pastor, Derek Bradshaw.

Salem Baptist Church has been around for a long time (171 years +), and has had a lot of pastors over that span (nearly 40). But, to God be the glory, His hand of blessing is still upon His church. The church members and staff have never been more excited about God’s work than they are today! Salem Baptist Church is thankful for the many wonderful years behind her, but is pressing on and progressing forward for Christ now more than ever!

 

What We Believe ...

One God

There is one God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; who subsist in unity, and also as three separate distinct Persons (John 14:7–16; Genesis 1:1; 1:26–27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 40:28–29; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

Jesus Christ, God’s Son

Jesus Christ is God's Son. He was born of a virgin as both God and man, lived a sinless life, died to atone for the sins of human beings, was buried, arose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and will literally return to earth (Matthew 1:22–23; Isaiah 9:6; 53:5–6; John 1:1–5; 14:10–30; Hebrews 4:14–15; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4; Romans 1:3–4; Acts 1:9–11; 1 Timothy 6:14–15; Titus 2:13).

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the divine helper, assistant, counselor and instructor and His work is to reveal Christ, convict of sin, lead to repentance, guide believers, comfort, strengthen, and sanctify the soul (2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7–13; 14:16–17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; 5:25; Galatians 5:25).

The Bible

The Bible is God’s Holy Word, without error, and is the sole authority for life (Psalm 119:105; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:20–21; 2 Timothy 3:16).

Created Man’s Need for God

Human beings are the special creations of God, made in His image. They fell through the sin of the first man, Adam, and all human beings are sinners in need of salvation (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3–6; Isaiah 53:6; 59:1–2; Romans 3:23).

Salvation

Salvation is a gift through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. Every person who truly is saved is eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ and will spend eternity in heaven, while those who die in their sins will spend eternity in hell (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8–9; John 14:6; 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1).

Baptism

Baptism is by immersion after salvation and is done in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command (Matthew 3:15–17; Acts 2:38).

Believer’s Access to God

Each believer has direct access to God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14–16; 7:19; Ephesians 3:12).

The Church

The Church is a local body of baptized believers with the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:27–29; 1 Corinthians 12:27–29; Ephesians 1:21–23; 3:20–22; 4:1–3; 5:21–27; Colossians 1:17–19).

A complete copy of our church constitution is available upon request.

 

Membership for Heaven

How Do I Become a Christian?

You think you’re a good person. You’ve always tried to be the best you can be, and do what is right. The good outweighs the bad in your life. But, after all of this, do you still feel empty, unsatisfied, void and alone?

You may have even tried things such as drinking, drugs, sex, materialism, partying or hanging with a certain crowd to fill this unexplained need you have.

But deep down inside you know that something is still missing from your life. There is only One thing that can fill that void— God. If you’ve tried lots of solutions to make your life right, then by now you know that none of them have worked. Jesus is the answer.

God has given us an important manual for life—the Bible. He is the author of this book and has given significant, life-changing instructions for how we can have joy, hope and peace in life. He has the answers to the problems and pain that you may be facing.

You are here for a purpose, and not by accident. You see, in the beginning, mankind was separated from God because of sin. But, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect sinless life on earth, suffered punishment, and died on a cross to pay for your sins. Three days later, He rose from the dead.

Jesus loves you, and desires to have a personal relationship with you. But, sin separates us from Him.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. — ROMANS 3:23

The most important decision you could ever make in your life will be whether you accept or reject Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. You must choose forgiveness and a relationship with God. This begins with repentance and turning away from your sins and old life to a new life in Christ.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. — 2 PETER 3:9

You may think that you need to fix things or make things right in your life before you can come to Christ. And many people feel that way, but that is a lie from Satan himself!

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. — ROMANS 5:8

You can only be saved by the grace of God, not because you try to make things right in your life. He wants you to accept this salvation only because He loves you! It is not something to be earned ... it is a free gift.

For grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. — EPHESIANS 2:8–9

For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. — JOHN 3:16

Sin comes with the penalty of death and hell, but because God sent His Son to die for your sins, you can have the free gift eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. — ROMANS 6:23 

 

All you have to do is accept His free gift of salvation and confess Him as your personal Lord and Savior.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. — ROMANS 10:9 –10

If you want to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and you truly desire to ask Him into your heart to be your personal Lord and Savior, then pray this prayer and mean it in your heart:

“Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask You to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer and accepted Christ, we would like to know so that we can celebrate with you! If you have questions or concerns, please call or write us. We want to encourage you in your walk with the Lord! 

 

Membership for SBC

There are three ways to become a member of Salem Baptist Church. 

 

1. By Baptism:

If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, your following the Lord in Believer's Baptism makes you a member of SBC.

2. By Letter: 

If you have been saved and baptized by immersion, you may transfer your membership from a church of like faith to SBC.

3. By Statement: 

If you have been saved and baptized by immersion, and you are not currently a member of any church, you may join SBC by your statement of faith.

Please contact the church office at 217.422.4274 in the mean time to speak with a pastor. We look forward to answering your questions and speaking with you personally about what it means to be a member of our church family.

 
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217.422.4274  |  2650 S Taylorville Road  |  Decatur, IL 62521