A CONCISE HISTORY OF NEW HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH
The New Hope Baptist Mission was organized through the leadership of the Rev. T. L. Cashwell, Sr. and East Baptist Church of Gastonia, NC. East Baptist purchased an old frame building from Mr. W. A. Shams located at the corner of New Hope Road and Pineview Lane. The New Hope Mission began with the meeting of 32 people on the first Sunday of November 1953.
Rev. Robert Fountain Summey, Sr., came to the mission the first Sunday in December of 1953. He was officially called as the first pastor on the first Sunday in January of 1954. On June 26, 1955, the mission became a church with 144 charter members. Rev. Summey continued to serve New Hope Baptist either as pastor or pastor emeritus until his death on March 26, 2003. In 1957, East Baptist Church purchased three acres of land on New Hope Road from the James A. Cobb family from whom the new church also purchased three acres. In 1961, the Cobbs made available to New Hope Baptist Church, at very favorable prices and terms, the acreage now owned by the church, which approximates 28 acres. In 1958, the church built “Cashwell Hall,” an educational unit that originally also served as a sanctuary, costing $100,000.
On August 18, 1968, the present sanctuary and office area was dedicated after construction at a cost of $250,000. The newest addition, “The Robert F. Summey, Sr. Family Ministry Center”, dedicated on October 6, 1991, features a dining area, a commercially equipped kitchen, parlor, administrative offices and a corridor connecting all of the buildings. With the renovation of the existing two buildings, the cost of this new addition was $1,000,000.
New Hope’s buildings and land have been used in a vigorous ministry to the community and our world. The World Hunger Corn Crop, involvement with Habitat for Humanity, ministry to approximately 250 community children through baseball and soccer programs on church grounds, support for the growing ministries of Hospice, providing for 27 families’ Christmas gifts through the Gaston Baptist Association, involvement of 26 members in training as literacy tutors, hosting a weekly interdenominational Bible study group, and sponsoring and hosting a Korean Language Mission are some of the mission-action ministries joyfully provided by the members of New Hope.
In 1999, while continuing to pay its building debt, New Hope gave over $50,000 to mission causes, approximately 18% of its operating budget. Over $11,000 of this was for World Hunger Relief, emphasizing New Hope’s allegiance to the Christ who said, “As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” Rev. Dr. Ned A. Buckner, the church’s pastor from 1984 to 2012, believes: “The heritage of New Hope Baptist Church is one of sublime vision and realist commitment, guided by a continuing awareness of the ‘Good News’ of God’s love for all creation. Let us keep that heritage alive by investing in it with our lives, our fortunes, and our God-given ability to dream new dreams.”
In 2004, New Hope continued to dream new dreams for the children of our community with the expansion of a gymnasium and youth facility. This enabled the sports ministry to add basketball and allowed the youth ministry to flourish with a sacred space for its teenagers. The youth ministry hosted a mission trip to help the victims of hurricane Katrina rebuild in 2006. This trip brought a renewed sense of mission and vision to New Hope and generated several future mission trips through the youth ministry.
The sanctuary received renovations to accommodate a technologically changing culture in 2009. With the enhancements of a new sound system, projector and screen, multimedia videos and presentation platforms such as PowerPoint and MediaShout, New Hope was able present the Gospel in creative ways that reached the entire family.
Rev. Dr. Ned Buckner retired in 2012 after serving 28 years as the senior pastor. During that time, New Hope sought to honor its tradition and heritage embracing new worship styles and began two different worship services in 2012 while the church was searching for a new pastor.
After being ordained by the church in 2003, and serving as the youth pastor for 11 years, in January of 2014, Rev. Dr. Brandon McKoy became the fourth pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. In September of 2014, McKoy and the personnel committee were able to recruit worship leader, singer/songwriter Dean Newkirk for a newly created position of Director of Music & Administration. With the creation of the new position, New Hope was able to unify its services into a unique blend that honored its heritage and introduced new worship styles.
In 2015, New Hope hired Zach Smith, a former Gardner-Webb student of McKoy, to fulfill the new role of Associate Director of Children & Youth Ministries. Smith brings a unique skill-set that enhances our ministry to children and youth as well as teaching and preaching to the whole church body.
As New Hope celebrates it’s 60th year, we hope to grow as one of the most loving and theologically diverse churches in Gaston County. With the youngest ministerial staff of its history and a loving and committed church family, the opportunities for sharing God’s love with all people are limitless.