History of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
The Pleasant Hill Baptist Church was organized in 1916 by the late Reverend L. L. Ambler under the name of the New Zion Baptist Church. It was located in the section of the city of Shreveport known as “Bachelor Hill”.
In December 1916, some difficulties occurred and most of the members requested their letter and the church was disbanded. In 1917, a few of the former members reorganized and gave the church its present name “Pleasant Hill Baptist Church”. The church was located in the same section of town on Market Street in a building known as “The Brick”. The late Reverend Bishop Wright was called to pastor. Reverend Wright was succeeded by the late Reverend John Durr. After the pastorage of Reverend Durr, Reverend W. L. Alford and Reverend R. D. Spikes, the church was relocated at the extreme end of Sixth Street on a “Hill” under the leadership of Reverend S. S. “Square” Sims. In September 1929, Reverend D. V. Martin was called to Pastor.
In June 1950, the church was relocated to a frame structure at 1030 Pickett Street. There was a great increase in membership. Due to the construction of Interstate 20, the church had to relocate again, thus the property at 2702 Abbie Street was purchased for the future new site. For three (3) months during the construction of the new edifice, the congregation worshipped in the “gym” of the St. James United Methodist Church located at 850 Hope Street until our new church was completed. On October 11, 1959, the church moved to a brand-new edifice at 2702 Abbie Street. Reverend D. V. Martin was a humble and devoted Pastor as well as a dynamic preacher. On October 25, 1968, God called Pastor Martin from labor to reward after Pastor Martin faithfully served this congregation of faith for 38 years.
In 1969, Reverend Benjamin Mack White was called to serve as Pastor of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Pastor White was known throughout the city and country as a caring Shepherd, Big Hearted Leader, Bible Teacher and anointed servant of the Master. The church made tremendous progress under his gifted leadership – spiritually and financially. Numerous renovations and uplift projects were done. Buses were purchased for transportation and outreach ministries were engraved into our purpose as a hallmark for what the church is called to accomplish. Pastor White retired in 1991 from pastoring due to health problems, but continued to preach and teach the gospel throughout the city and surrounding areas, being steadfast, immovable and faithful until the Lord said, “Well Done, thy good and faithful servant.” He was called from labor to reward on May 1, 1996.
Similar to the great, experienced runners in the marathon race, Pastor White merely passed the torch to the next anointed Shepherd of the historical Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Pastor David E. Larmar, an outstanding preacher and God Chaser! Under Pastor Larmar’s leadership, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church continued to grow at an amazing rate. The Church increased with its existing ministries and created much needed ones to meet the challenge of this present day. They included Nursing Home, Bus Transportation, Senior Citizens/Adult Care, Tutorial, New Members Orientation, Greeters, Homebound Sunday School and Communion, Church Sports, Family Ministry, and the Singles and Couples ministries. Our God is such an awesome God, a merciful God and benevolent God. He ordered our steps and directed our path; and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on February 3, 2003, moved from “Vision to Victory” where we are worshiping today in a brand new $3.5 million dollar edifice located on a 10-acre site at 4670 Lakeshore Drive in the City of Shreveport, State of Louisiana; dedicated to the Glory of God and the use of ministry to reach and teach souls for the Lord.
In June 2013, another era and tenure of good preaching and teaching came to a close as Pastor David E. Larmar completed his God-appointed time as leader. Then the spirit of God moved upon the Pleasant Hill Family to begin conducting prayer vigils and practicing fasting and praying in order to seek whom He would give us as Pastor of our 99th year Christian family, according to his own heart that would feed us with knowledge and understanding. In obedience to the spirit, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Family, being endowed with discernment, came together on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 and chose Dr. Henry L. Armington, Sr., as its current Pastor. Dr. Armington has been truly revealed to be a special gift to the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Family. He takes his calling as Pastor serious and is committed to the cause of the ministry. His wealth of knowledge and experience are certainly factors that will take the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church to another level.
Dr. Armington preached his first sermon as the Senior Pastor-Elect on September 14, 2014. On December 14, 2014, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church installed a man with skills and knowledge of administration, leadership and management to enhance the membership and community. The church was energized to rise, act and sincerely accept the challenge of a Twenty- Five Year Vision Plan. Under his cognizance, additional ministries were added to accommodate future church growth and participation in Kingdom Building. A church system of budgeting was established and implemented to ensure financial stewardship, committees were upgraded to departments for more effective functioning, a ‘Forty Days of Purpose’ blueprint became the avenue to keep us focused and attuned to the task, activity, or event at hand and those to come, and a revised, revitalized Vision and Mission statement was implanted upon the hearts of the people to give a never-ending purpose to our existence as a church. Thus, a new era in the life and history of the church had begun as the membership prepared to celebrate its one hundredth year anniversary on February 14, 2016. Dr. Armington has challenged and encouraged our membership to become more fluent in divine indulgence and to utilize our God given talents with a positive aim to aide in restoring and refocusing hearts in “The Body of Christ”.
The year 2016 was deemed as a year of spiritual growth, increased membership, and additional ministries for the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. We began with the celebration of over one hundred (100) new members at our first bi-annual New Members’ Reception and the presentation of our first “Chariot Chaser-Fisher of Men” Award. God blessed us with the addition of five (5) able-bodied deacons to serve on the Board of Directors. A “Smile of A Child” Campaign was instituted to provide encouragement to our “little ones”, ages five (5) and under, as they grow in the Lord and provide us hope for tomorrow.
Our Christian Education Ministry commemorated our graduates by launching the first Annual Scholarship Gala and Quarterly ‘Birthday Bashes’ were organized as another threshold for showing love and promoting fellowship among our members. The pathway was opened for our first female minister to lead in the ‘call to worship’ and to preside in our Sunday morning worship services. We also paid homage to three (3) centenarians in our membership--Mr. Walter Boxley, Sr., one hundred two (102) years, Ms. Applice Guice, one hundred (100) years, and Mrs. Edna Payton Chism, one hundred (100) years--all were long term members.
Believing and knowing that the church was commissioned to spread the gospel, Dr. Armington led the way to advance our media capabilities to include live streaming with online giving. As safety became a grave concern for the members, our Pastor and Deacons established a system of in-house security and initiated an evacuation plan that would channel the congregation to safe grounds. The church functioned in a blessed atmosphere of prosperity as was evidenced in the members aggrandized giving and consistent financial support towards carrying out the work of the church. Dr. Armington continued to shepherd with distinct leadership as we focused on “Kingdom Building” through the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our membership continued to increase in 2017 by numerous baptisms and others that joined by Christian experience and/or by letter.
Our ministries flourished with the addition of the Samaritan Helping Hands, Military/Veterans, Public Relations, Praise and Worship Team and Photography. We developed a system by which members could give tithes and offerings through the credit card process. The renowned Dr. Fred Lowry, retired Pastor of The First Baptist Church of Bossier preached an inspiring message of encouragement to the church family on October 29th during the Retired Pastor’s Acknowledgement Sunday morning worship service. Our Creative Arts and Worship Ministry initiated the “Bringing Back the Sound: A Celebration of the Church Choir” program. This event was used as a platform to inaugurate the Eddie T. Youngblood Excellence in Music Award honoring a musician of excellence. Also, our Christian Education Ministry undergirded the restructuring and reframing of the traditional Baptist Training Union to a renewed and revived educational program named ‘Come Alive with the Triple Threat at Five’. The church family continued to be steadfast in its efforts to advance the Kingdom of God.
God’s faithfulness and favor granted increase in 2018 as we continued to serve Him by our work in kingdom building. Our efforts to engage the next generation in ministry were successful. This included the establishment of the Soldiers of Worship Ministry, the STY (Save the Youth) Gang’s revitalization of the Mother’s Day Tea and the Mister and Miss Pleasant Hill Pageant. Enhancement of our media equipment, including screens throughout the facility and upgrading our public address system provided more opportunities to share God’s presence and power. Dr. Allen B. Green, Pastor Emeritus of Second Baptist Church in Erie, Pennsylvania, encouraged us to continue to be faithful to the Master, as he delivered an insightful sermon on July 29, 2018 during the Retired Pastor’s Acknowledgement Sunday worship service. The Mother of the Church, Ms. Apples Guice, made her transition on October 4, 2018 at the age of one-hundred two. God blessed us with her grace and wisdom for many years. On December 21, 2018 the church family began its first Annual Church-wide Holiday Social that brings us all together at the end of each year to appreciate the year-long comradeship of each other and to share Christian fellowship among the members of the congregation. This helped us to end one year and begin the next promoting good, harmonious relationships among the brethren.
The year 2019 marked five years of extraordinary leadership under the Man of God whom He has chosen to move the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church forward as we continued to march up the “Kings Highway.” As we celebrated our 103rd Church Anniversary, it was God’s will that we witnessed our “Mortgage Note Burning Ceremony”, allowing the Pleasant Hill Church Family to become “Debt Free.” Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church witnessed its first historical licensing of a Woman of God as a Minister of the Gospel. We made other milestones as well. We enhanced our media equipment, installed screens throughout the facility and upgraded our public address system. These achievements provided more opportunities to share God’s presence and power. Pastor Armington completed his quest to include our youth (The STY Gang) in each Sunday morning worship service by incorporating the participation of our “Soldiers of Worship” drill team into every fourth Sunday Lord Supper Commemorative. Making more advancements for Kingdom Building, “Bringing Back The Sound III” reached a dynamic height with gospel singer Rickey Dillard ministering the Gospel of the Lord, entertaining the saints and ministering the Lord Jesus to the hearts of all. An Upper Room Fellowship Experience Lord Supper Commemorative Service was held October 27, 2019, with Dr. Melvin C. Zeno, Vice-President of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention and Pastor of St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church, Marrero, LA., closing out National Clergy Appreciation Month.
God is faithful. We can have peace of mind in any set of circumstances, even in the face of a pandemic, hurricanes, and uncertainty. In 2020, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church embraced change knowing that the seasons of life will come and go but our God is faithful. Knowing that forward momentum is impossible without change, we continued our quest for the Kingdom. During our 104th Church Anniversary on February 12, 2020, we paused to honor forty-seven individuals who had served the congregation as members for “50 plus” years. Traditional in-person activities increased due to regulations of the COVID 19 pandemic on March 15, 2020. However, God’s plan would not be thwarted. The spread of the Gospel continued each Sunday through enhanced online services that included teaching Sunday school, Unity Prayer, and upgrading our live streaming options. Ministry Directors were innovative in creating new ways to meet the needs of the congregants and the community. Some examples were our Church-wide Projects, upgrading our multi-media capability via the Audio-Visual Ministry to make the services available on all media platforms, and the installation of new online donation options. The Christian Education Ministry and Scholarship Ministry honored the Class of 2020 with virtual graduation recognitions and a Graduation parade on August 15, 2020. Saints for Life incorporated ‘Tele-gathering’ and on September 4, 2020 our Prayer Vigil Ministry launched its “First Friday” of each month Prayer Vigil. Church services commenced again in the sanctuary on May 24, 2020 complying with all necessary health precautions and safety guidelines on going at this time. The Gospel continued to be spread and heard by our members that desired to be a part of a great ministry. We remained steadfast and unmovable, always abounding, knowing that we will persevere; we will win because GOD IS our Fortress and Strength.
God is Sovereign and we can rest in His Sovereignty, because we believe that He has ultimate control over everything and determines all outcomes. God is able and free to accomplish His will. In 2021, the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church stood on the promises of God as we continued to trust and obey Him. With the sudden resignation of Pastor Armington on May 9, 2021, and later the transition of Sister Lonie C. Clark, the Mother of the Church, our belief that God is in control sustained us as we continued our walk by faith, knowing that God’s WILL shall be done. The spread of the gospel continued through various kingdom building activities, including in-person worship as we waited on God’s timing. Bible Study, Prayer Vigils, Saints for Life, as well as our Tele-Conference Sunday School continued to grow. Christian Education soared to a high point with record-breaking attendance and participation. The AVA Ministry continued to make improvements to enhance our media offerings as we focused on giving God our best, including the presentation of our church history via video at our 105th Church Anniversary held on February 14, 2021.Innovative ideas of several ministry directors and their teams increased face-to-face worship attendance and participation in other church events. “Project No Lost Sheep”, “Adopt a Senior”, “Smile of A Child-Virtual”, and “Project GIVE” provided ways for members to connect and engage our youth in giving back to the community. The STY Gang’s Fall Fest served over 200 youth from all areas of the city and was a successful evangelistic tool. A partnership of our Social Justice and Nurses Guild Ministry with LSU Oschner Health provided the church with opportunities to host successful COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Resting in God’s sovereignty provided peace. God always accomplishes what He desires, which is always best. As we wait on Him for a Pastor, we obey without worrying and rest in Him because He will accomplish what He intends.
God did it again! The Lord showered the “Hill” in many shapes and forms as His plan and purpose prevailed. On May 1, 2022, after an eleven-month Pastoral Search, Reverend Reginald G. Reid, Sr. accepted the call to become the 11th Pastor of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Duly installed on August 7, 2022, Pastor Reid brought leadership through the Word of God; focused on developing Christian behavior, building relationships and open communication. He strives to create an atmosphere where we can laugh and learn with applications beneficial for everyday life. He stresses the importance of “every” member and holds each member accountable for exemplifying the character of God as we continue our quest in Kingdom Building. In the seven months under Pastor Reid, seventy-four new members joined the fellowship; sixteen for baptism with three of those being Pastors. Several activities resumed as COVID restrictions relaxed. The Creative Arts and Worship ministry returned to choir rotations, Jacob’s Ladder (Nursery) and Transportation ministries resumed operations. Kingdom Kidz, our Church of the future, had a successful kick-off that recharged our youth and also a well-attended “Trunk or Treat.” In-person attendance increased tremendously with over six hundred in attendance at our Family and Friends Day Morning Worship Celebration. Radio broadcasting began on the airwaves to provide an additional method of spreading the gospel. Pastor Reid, concerned about our wellbeing, encouraged us to “Stay Together, Love one Another, and Remain Focused on Christ.” We celebrated the goodness of God as we continued to listen and trust Him; being obedient as we followed the Shepherd that He has sent us.
We are thankful, grateful, and appreciative to those who have labored untiringly for the cause of Christ at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and those who remain among us; remembering those who are asleep in Jesus. We realize that this Church Family has come this far only by Faith; leaning on the Lord. We are continuously trusting in His Holy Word because He has never failed us yet! We shall continue to walk together in love, faith, and constant prayer. When All God’s Children get together, what a time, what a time!