Enon Baptist Church recently celebrated its 162nd year since its creation with the installation of Pastor Michael Moore. A native of Colonial Heights, Moore, a long-time resident of Enon, accepted the position after a long journey to find his true vocation.
Not long after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1993, he immersed himself in the real estate business, eventually creating a real estate appraisal business out of Chester. In 2004, his interests took him to radio where he would promote the field for a year. Moore transitioned a year later to the television business, interviewing local real estate personalities on a Comcast-based show streaming out of the region.
In 2006, approximately eight weeks AFTER the show came to a halt, Moore got wind of a “blasphemous” TV show on NBC called “The Book of Daniel,” which, as he said, portrayed Christian figures and ideology very negatively; it urged him to start his own TV show, “The Real Book of Daniel,” which directly competed against the NBC version.
Three weeks later NBC canceled their show the night before Moore’s final broadcast.
“That was really the start of me being here today; that was my first stepping out for Jesus – officially, and I had no clue as to what was going to happen,” he said.
As an assistant pastor with Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Moore wanted to join the ministry full-time, so he earned a Masters of Religion from Liberty University in May 2010. He said he felt like he needed to do more in the church. He was teaching Sunday school and was active in the local and church communities; but he felt compelled to do much, much more.
And with much consideration and prayer, Moore and wife decided to seek positions at churches that were in need of a minister.
“After 15 years in the business world, and God started pulling on me, more and more; and in February we just decided to let go,” he said. “We applied out to California, Texas, Florida, and Canada – and then God brought us four miles from my house. We knew it was the right thing to do as a family, and it was time to start shutting down the company, the real estate business, and get into this because this is where God called us to be.”
Sept.18 marked the day he was called on as the pastor at Enon Baptist. In the month since his first sermon, the church has seen an increase in people attending Sunday worship each week at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary – the congregation now hovering around 300 members.
A self-described “bapticostal,” Moore delivers very passionate sermons that are lively and engaging for his new congregation, using, as he said, real-life experiences to relate the good word to people’s lives. His duties also include visiting the sick, working on community outreach and evangelism, while concentrating heavily as a leader on casting a vision for the church, he said.
A few weeks ago when he preached a sermon on the book of Acts about the birth of the New Testament Church, it fell a day after the 162nd birthday of Enon Baptist Church; however, he said in planning the sermon he was not mindful of the church’s special day – something he accredits strictly to God.
Steve Hall, a member of Enon Baptist for 20 years and former chairman of the church’s Pastor Search Committee, feels Moore taking on the position at Enon Baptist is similar to that of John Alexander Strachan, the founder of the church and the owner of the land on which the church is built.
“If you take a look back at the man who founded the church, he was a resident of the community who saw a need for a church – and that’s how he started it,” said Hall. “I guess you can look at Pastor Moore the same way: a man who is a resident of the community that sees the need and sees the potential of the church and has a vision for what church can do for the community; it takes a lot to leave a career as a business man and go into the ministry full-time.”
Hall feels that Moore joining the church around the time of the church’s birthday is kind of like a “rebirth” in the church, moving it into a new chapter.
According to Moore, Enon’s name comes from a scripture in John 3:23 that says, “Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water and people were constantly coming to be baptized” – which Aenon being the Enon community with its close proximity to the James and Appomattox Rivers, and Salim naming the Salem area.
Strachan had originally helped to build the church on Oct. 8, 1849 because the community was destitute for religious services, despite the close proximity to the rivers for baptismal purposes. A one-room meeting house was then built for the small congregation. It was one of the first churches in the area, sharing the responsibility with an African-American church, Bermuda Hundred Baptist Church.
Enon Baptist was only 12 years old when the Civil War emerged, and had 60 members, both black and white. And though the church was confiscated during the war, its lumber used to build a Union Army field hospital, after the war, the community began rebuilding the structure that is today Enon Baptist Church.
Crystal Monroe, the great-granddaughter of John Alexander Strachan, grew up reveling in the rich history of the church, both its location and role in the Enon community. Still a member of the church, she believes Moore holds the history sacred as well.
“He appreciates that we’ve been here for 162 years, but he knows – and we all know – how the area just expanded so much in the last few years,” she said. “So he’s excited to go out and reach the community of Enon and having Enon Baptist Church still be a part of it.”