Over a century ago in 1879, the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church had its beginning when some God-fearing and faithful servants met together to organize a church in a log cabin located on the Jones Place off the Buncombe Road. History records that some of the organizers were Brothers Horace Page, David Thompson (church secretary), Abe Simmons, and James W. Parsons. Elder Charlie White asked to serve as the first pastor. After Elder White’s departure, Reverend Charlie Prymus, our second pastor was called to Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, and much progress was made as the church moved to a very humble surrounding of brush arbor on the Lewis place. After Reverend Prymus left, Reverend Harry Coleman came aboard as our third pastor. Our records indicate that on July 9, 1892, Mrs. Hannah J. Durant, wife of Robert Ricks, sold Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Caddo Parish, Louisiana 2 acres of land for church and school purposes for $20.00. Reverend Harry Coleman left and the members searched long and hard and called Reverend Brian Benton, our fourth pastor who served for a number of years. After Reverend Benton’s departure, Reverend J.C. Carter, our fifth pastor came and served for about six months. God willed it so that Reverend Brian Benton would come back for a second time. He served until 1899 when his health began to fail.
In 1899, Reverend Andrew J. Holland (A.J.), our sixth pastor was asked to come and serve for a six-month trial period. He did such a splendid job, the membership voted to hire him permanently. Reverend Holland served until 1961 when his health began to fail, and he asked Reverend George Robbins to serve as an associate pastor, who served for about eight months.
In February, 1962, Reverend Lessell Leonard, accepted the pastoral leadership of Mt. Olive Baptist Church as our seventh pastor. Under his pastoral guidance, the membership dreamed and planned for a new church. Reverend Leonard put together a fundraising process and appointed a group to have the blueprints for a new church drawn up and presented to the church body on July 6, 1964. However, before the time to start building the new church, Reverend Lessell Leonard resigned April 18, 1965 to become pastor of St. Mary Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Records bear the facts in our church minutes dated January 15, 1966, the Deacon Board (under the acting Chairman of the Board, Deacon Benard Warren, Sr.) made recommendations to hire Reverend Stanley Lewis as Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church’s eighth pastor, with a starting salary of $150.00 per month. Reverend Lewis saw to it that our current facility for worship was built.
In July 1972, Reverend Stanley Lewis resigned to become pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena, California. Under the leadership of our Associate Minister, Reverend Miller Myles, Deacon Board Chairman, Asberry Williams and the pulpit committee visited Bishop College and sought a young minister, Reverend Jerome Kirby. In May 1973, he wrote a letter accepting the invitation to become the ninth pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. In March 1976, Reverend Kirby resigned to become pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Gary, Indiana.
In February, 1977, Reverend Donnie Ray Darby was invited by Sister Irene Jernigan and Deacon Johnny Pruitt to come and preach at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. He did such a great job that the membership asked him to come back again and the church voted to accept him as the tenth pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. In March, 1997, Reverend Donnie R. Darby resigned and a pulpit search committee was voted on to get a new pastor the same night.
After a year-long search, April 12, 1998, Reverend Theron Joseph Jackson, native of Sulphur, Louisiana was asked to serve as pastor. On Sunday, July 17, 1998, he was installed as our eleventh pastor. Under his leadership the membership increased greatly and several pieces of land were purchased, including 20 acres at the corner of Buncombe Road and Hwy 169. Also accomplished were: renovation of the front of the church, new seating installed, new ministries organized, cabinet breakfasts, and church retreats. The old Washington House and the church Hall was demolished. Plans were explored and other churches visited for the construction of a new church.
Under Reverend Jackson’s administration six deacons were ordained: Michael Gay, Michael Shaw, James Roberson, Claudell Washington (deceased), Willie Jones, Jr. and Willie Pruitt, Sr. Darrien Dixon, Charles Jackson and Bruce Abram transferred from other churches to serve on the board of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. On September 11, 2011, Reverend Theron Jackson resigned to become pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.
A pulpit committee was appointed and approved by the church membership. Under the leadership of the Son of the House, Minister Bobby Williams who served as Interim Pastor, the church reviewed over 60 applications, invited 40 ministers to preach and interviewed 20 of the applicants. From this process three names surfaced. They were placed on a ballot to be voted on by the church body. An election was held that concluded on May 27, 2012. After tallying the votes, Reverend Marcus Ellison won by an overwhelming majority. On July 8, 2012, Reverend Marcus Ellison was installed as twelfth pastor of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership, Ministers Cortney McCall, Bobby Williams, Chris Henderson, Deacons Kevin Bryant, Calvin Williams, Ardis McFarland, Lamar Goree were ordained.
Pastor Ellison has continued to pursue the vision of a new facility. On June 27, 2015, the Mt. Olive Baptist Church celebrated a Ground Breaking Ceremony on the corner of Hwy 169/Buncombe Road. On September 8, 2015, the financing for our new facility was secured through MBL Bank. This momentum continued as construction began on our $2.4 Million Dollar Multi-Purpose facility. On December 31, 2016, we entered into our new facility with an immaculate Dedication Ceremony. This event was celebrated with the members of the Mt. Olive Family, the Greenwood community, family, friends, and loved ones. Our theme for the occasion was, “The Lord Has Done This, And It Is Marvelous In Our Eyes”.
The Lord has blessed the Mt. Olive Baptist Church through the years and we will continue to strive for excellence in service. Although Mt. Olive is blessed with a rich history and are striving in a prosperous present; we still believe that the Best is Still Yet To Come….