Houses of Worship: Temple Baptist Church

Temple Baptist Church in Selma has large membership, passion for worship

pseligson@newsobserver.comMay 19, 2014 

A Sunday worship service at Temple Baptist Church in Selma.


Founded in 1970, Temple Baptist Church in Selma has a large congregation with a passion for worship, its senior pastor says.

“It’s a place where people pride ourselves on teaching the love of God,” said the Rev. Rodney Pearce.

“We want people to come into our church, we want them to feel the presence of God, the love of God, and we want them to have a good time,” Pearce said.

But don’t confuse having a good time with simply being entertained, the pastor said. Instead, he subscribes to the philosophy of his predecessors, the Rev. Adrian Rogers.

Pearce said one of Rogers’ quotes has always stuck with him: “People love to go to church where people love to go to church.”

In the last 10 years, Temple Baptist has grown from around 30 people every Sunday to about 800.

Location: 1250 S. Pollock St., Selma.

Affiliation: independent

Contact: 919-965-6746;; on Facebook as Temple Baptist Church of Selma North Carolina.

Congregation: About 800 on Sunday.

Pastor: The Rev. Rodney Pearce, 42, is senior pastor and one of five pastors serving the church. He came to Temple Baptist Church in August 2005 after graduating from Louisiana Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in the Bible and theology. He earned a master’s degree in Bible and theology in 2010.

Pearce was born in Goldsboro but raised in Johnston County, graduating from North Johnston High School in 1990. He lives in Princeton with his wife, Carla, and their three children, Langley, 13, Leyton, 10, and Lawson, 4.

Before becoming a pastor, Pearce sold cars and installed security systems.

What sets the church apart? The pastor: What sets our church apart is our desire to represent God well and to be a church as church should be, according to the scriptures. When Jesus Christ is represented well, then people are attracted to him, and they have a desire to surrender to his lordship. We are a very exciting church that people love to attend.

With more than 80 members, the Temple Choir and Worship Band leads the church’s worship services, performing contemporary, soulful and gospel music with lyrics often taken straight from scripture. The pastor: We encourage our congregation to engage with God through worship in whatever way they feel comfortable, as long as God is glorified.

The congregation is diverse, not only racially but also socially and economically. The pastor: All are welcome at Temple just as all are welcome into God’s kingdom.

In addition to Pearce, staff members, all locals, are Gary Killebrew, executive pastor; Thomas Parker, worship pastor; Scooter Murphy, student pastor; and Gary Rhodes, part-time children’s pastor. Killebrew, Parker and Rhodes are graduates of Smithfield-Selma High School; Murphy graduated from Princeton High School.

Temple also houses the Temple Baptist Learning Center, a childcare center with 55-plus children who learn God’s word daily. Jamie Adams is the director.

What is the church’s message? We believe that the Bible is God’s word to humanity. Therefore, we desire to teach it to as many people as we can. Our message is that the Bible has the answers to all of life’s questions and is the only solution to a meaningful and happy life.

Special programs: 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, children’s choir, student ministry, small-group discipleship with pastor, general Bible study, women’s Bible study and single women’s Bible study; 6 p.m. Sundays, marriage seminar and ministries for children, teens and high school graduates and college students. On a monthly basis, different ministries hold events. Recent examples: a day trip to the zoo for retirees, a movie night for women and archery for men.

Special events: “A Temple Christmas” at Johnston Community College; Hallelujah Night, a Halloween alternative, on Oct. 31; “Temple Night of Worship,” featuring the Temple Choir, September; Family Fun Night with inflatables, water slides and free food, June; and Vacation Bible School, July.

Worship service: 9 and 11 a.m. Sundays.

Recent Sunday sermon: The Mother’s Day sermon was a challenge to parents to raise their children to know the Lord or face consequences that could be followed by great guilt and regret.

Seligson: 919-836-5768

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