The General Baptist Denomination in Flint Michigan

As you drive around Genesee County today there is no want for Cannabis businesses. Almost every street corner it seems has a store or grow facility. This was not the case when I was growing up. Flint during the 1950s to the 1980s was filled with Coney Islands, Banks and Churches. Churches were not only found on every street corner, but also tucked away into every neighborhood.

This phenomenon was the direct result in the number of people that moved into the neighborhoods from the south. Upon arriving, the new citizens not only wanted to worship in their familiar denomination with their old friends and neighbors, they also wanted a place of worship close to their homes.

I grew up in the General Baptist denomination and we were guilty of starting many of the community churches in the area. In 1962 the denomination claimed nine locations in the greater Flint area with additional congregations in Flushing and Fenton.

The nine Flint Churches were:
1.	New Hope – Rev. Alfred Foust - 2106 Harwine
2.	Ivan Court (New Home) – Rev. Bennie Hodge – 1102 W Hemphill
3.	Fenton Lawn – Rev. Louis Medlin – 1143 W. Parkwood
4.	West Flint – Curtis Dunn – 1011 Hammond
5.	Atherton Road (New Testament) – Rev. Lee Jolly – G3269 E Atherton
6.	Hopewell – Rev. Esco Malin – 1070 Knickerbocker
7.	First of Flint – Rev. Bennie Hodge – 573 Mary
8.	Rural – Rev. E.E. Harrison – G2512 Dye
9.	Central – Rev. D. O. Roberts – 1002 Stocker

The General Baptist denomination are considered more liberal than many of the more ‘primitive’ Baptists. There are two differences in doctrine that set them apart from most all of the other Baptists. First the fact they do not believe in predestination, or the fact that God has already decided if you will be ‘saved’. The second difference was their teachings concerning salvation. General Baptists believe that once a person is saved it does not guarantee their salvation and that they by their choice can ‘back-slide’ and lose their salvation.

Lower attendance due to population decline, better transportation and a change in spiritual views have left only three General Baptist Churches left in the Flint area:

1.	New Testament (NTC) – 3484 Belsay 
2.	Hopewell – 5162 Belsay
3.	First United – 1116 W. Hill

None of the churches in the list closed their doors, rather they merged with other churches:

1.	Ivan Court and First of Flint merged many years ago to become First of Flint. It was once considered one of the larger churches in the denomination and offered the most financial support to that organization and its ministries. It too fell on hard times and later merged with Faith United (The old Fenton Lawn Church).

2.	Fenton Lawn built a new building on Hill Rd and later merged with New Hope, West Flint and Rural to form Faith United.

3.	Faith United later merged with First of Flint, becoming First United.

4.	Atherton Road (New Testament) built a new church on Belsay and later merged with Central. They are now known as NTC.

5.	Hopewell built a new building on Belsay. They are the only original congregation still in its original form.

In 1962, the nine churches reported a membership of 1310. Genesee county’s population in 1960 was 374,313.

The General Baptist denomination is located in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. They maintain a University (Oakland City) in Oakland City, Indiana.

Source: Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth Annual Session of Michigan Association of General Baptists. August 1962.

Roy Richard February 2023

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