On April 12, 1981, Fifty-nine people gathered at McClain’s Auction Barn in Hemby Bridge, North Carolina for the sole purpose of organizing a Baptist church. For the next 20 months, members spent Saturday evenings sweeping up after auctions in preparation for services on Sunday.
The church was begun on faith with no musical instruments, hymnals, or collection plates. Hymns were without books and offerings were collected using coffee pots or hats.
Reverend Lawrence E. Funderburk, the founding Pastor, taught the first Sunday school class on April 19, 1981. The first Communion Service was observed using paper cups. On May 3, 1981, a special offering was collected in the amount of $200.00, which was used to purchase a piano. Wingate Baptist Church donated over 100 hymnals.
Due to the limited space at the auction barn, tents and travel trailers were set up and used for additional Sunday school rooms. A covered pickup truck was used for the smaller children.
The church was officially organized on August 16, 1981 and named “Emmanuel Baptist Church”. Rev. Lawrence E. Funderburk was elected as pastor. Indian Trail Baptist Church, known as First Baptist Church of Indian Trail today, was the mother church.
In 1982, Emmanuel Baptist Church was accepted into the Union Baptist Association. Also, a four-acre tract of land was purchased at the corner of Idlewild Road and Steven Mills Road at a cost of $25,000.00. The land was paid off in March 1982. On July 25, 1982, the groundbreaking ceremony was held, and phasee one of the build was begun. The first service in the newly erected worship center was held on December 19, 1982. The Dedication Service and Open House were held on January 2, 1983. Rev. Ellis Marks shared his testimony of how he was awakened at 2 o’clock one morning and God gave him the name “Emmanuel” for the new church.
Phase one is a 6,240 square foot brick veneer structure with a 300 seat sanctuary and an eight room education wing that cost around $121,000.00 and valued at more than $200,000.00. The immediate equity was due to the labor, donations, supplies, equipment, and materials that were provided by members, friends, neighboring congregations and businesses. The NC State Baptist Convention also gave and lent money to this endeavor.