Warrior Creek sees God work in the midst of rebuilding after church fire

Darryl Ross says it’s kind of hard to explain what happened — it’s like God reached down and stopped the fire from spreading at exactly the spot they needed to be able to save their old sanctuary.

“Our old sanctuary was about 10 feet from the new sanctuary,” said Ross, pastor of Warrior Creek Baptist Church, Holly Pond, in Blount Baptist Association. 

The new sanctuary was engulfed in flames back in August 2018 and reduced to a pile of ash — a heartbreaking tragedy for the close-knit congregation. But in the walkway between the two buildings, the fire just stopped.

‘It was just Him’

“You can walk down that hall and it’s just jet black from the smoke and the ash, but you open the door going into the old sanctuary and there’s no smoke damage, no water damage, not a single shingle melted on that building,” he said. “And it’s very close to the building that burned down. It was just Him.”

When fire marshals came to inspect the buildings, Ross said their eyes were as big as half dollars. 

“Everything had just gone perfectly,” he said. “For one, when the new sanctuary burned it fell in not out. The fire marshals would say, ‘You know this isn’t normal,’ and I would say, ‘I sure do.’ It’s like you can see where God put His fingers on the roof and stopped the fire.” 

Because of that miracle the church has been able to meet in its old sanctuary, built in 1937 using pine from the grounds, he said.

“It’s a little cramped, but we’re doing great,” Ross said.

The church runs between 100 and 120 on Sundays and the church seats roughly 100. But in mid-January they got the walls and rafters up on the new sanctuary, which they hope to complete by summer revival in July.

“When everybody saw the walls up they lit up like Christmas,” Ross said. “We’re excited.”

Strong spirit

James Carson, who along with his wife, Dot, has been an active church member for 22 years, said the spirit at the church has been strong ever since the fire.

“We haven’t missed a Sunday of meeting yet,” he said. “Even the Sunday after the fire, before we were able to get in the old sanctuary for worship, we were able to take the chairs from there and meet out under the oak trees.”

Ross said he feels the congregation is even closer knit than they were before the fire, united through the tragedy and united around what God has planned for their future.

“We’re giving God the glory,” he said. “We’re going to press on and see what God has in store. On the day of the fire I told everyone He had a plan. Nothing catches Him off guard.”