Church History

The Riceville Mount Olive Baptist Church was organized in a Brush Arbor on March 11, 1889, by the late Rev. John L. Lilly.  Its membership numbered eight.  On October 11, 1889, a developer by the name of John Ruby donated a site for the church and burial grounds on the back of Keegans Bayou.  After several meeting were held and many discussions, the late Jake Rice (longest community resident) decided who would become pastor and the people acted accordingly.  The Rev. John L. Lilly was called as pastor and the Church was name Riceville.  Rev. Lilly was successful in building the Church and served as pastor for twenty years until he departed this life, from labor to reward.  Rev. Lilly was succeeded by the late Rev. I. Griffin who stood on the walls for sixteen years.  In 1916, the Church was destroyed by a storm.  Rev. Griffin departed from life of service after having done much for the Church.

Rev. Lee Moton was called as interim pastor and served for one year.

Rev. J.C. Smith was elected and served three years.

The Rev. Earl W. King was called and served nearly three years.

Rev. King was succeeded by the late Rev. Morris Goodman, who served four years.

Rev. Goodman was succeed by the late Rev. D. Pope, who acted as interim pastor for one year.

The Rev. T. H. Shermann was called by the Church, and he came with the vision of a greater Riceville.  Under his leadership, 12 feet were added to the building and the Christian Union was organized, which is still a part of Riceville today.  After seven years of faithful leadership, Rev. Shermann resigned due to ill health.  In 1942, Rev. Travis Spiller was called.  He came with real courage and determination and began the task of building the membership.  The first of many major changes was the idea of having service every Sunday instead of customary second and fourth Sundays, as had been for the last fifty-three years.  In 1944, a new building 34’ X 70’ was erected by the Rev. C. H. Mitchell, the youngest son of the late Deacon John E. Mitchell.  After the Church building was paid for in 1947, the pastor saw a need for a cafeteria.  Rev. Mitchell worked at night to construct the cafeteria.  A two story building was erected and attached to the existing church building.  The cafeteria occupied the lower portion of the new building and upper portion was used for classrooms and other accommodations.  In 1953, Rev. T. E. Spiller resigned.  That same year, Rev. C. L. Miller was called and served for fourteen years before resigning in 1967.  In August of 1967, Rev. Joe D. Johnson, a spiritually lead gospel preacher of unusual discernment, was called as Pastor.  On July 4, 1968, the Church Building was destroyed by fire; and all was lost, except the Holy Bible. After the fire, Sunday Church services were held in the wooden frame house at the property on Riceville School Road (now known as 11231 South Gessner).  Under Rev. Joe Johnson’s leadership, a new building was erected.  The first Church services in the new sanctuary were held in May of 1971.  Through the help of the Lord, the balance on the church was paid in June of 1974.  In January 1975, a house was moved to the present site, remodeled, and named the Fellowship Hall.  These remodeling costs were paid off on April 24, 1978.

In July, 1981, a van was purchased; later that year a second van was purchased.

In 1983, the Church purchased property on South Breeze for parking accommodations.  That same year, the Church added 30 feet to the front of the sanctuary.  Property behind the existing church was acquired in 1985, because of the growing congregation.  Later that year a mobile building was placed on the site and is presently used for classrooms.  Due to continued growth, in July of 1986, the church acquired 9.983 acres on South Gessner on which to build a new church building.  On September 30, 1994, the Church purchased an additional 16.82 acres, and was blessed to pay the balance on this property in cash in 1996.

Through divine guidance, prayers and continued support, Pastor Johnson’s vision to build a bigger Riceville has become a reality. On December 8, 2002,  the new church building construction was completed. On December 22, 2002, the new edifice open it’s doors and held the first service under the guidance of Pastor Joe Johnson.

On November 21, 2010, Pastor Terry E. Mackey was Installed as the 13th Pastor of Riceville Mt.Olive Baptist Church.  Pastor Mackey brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and spiritual acumen to Riceville.  In November 2018, Pastor Terry E. Mackey resigned. We were blessed having him as our Pastor.

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