Time between pastorates lasted over a year, with a ministry team providing cover - L Mccubbin, S Bowyer, A Childs and J Watterson.
The church electrics were rewired and new lighting installed. The church sanctuary was redecorated.
Mr Roger Hodges
It was in January 1974 that Mr Roger Hodges was invited to preach at the church, and again in April of the same year. Mr Hodges, who was a builder by trade, and was the owner of his business in the West Midlands, was invited to become Pastor of the church. God spoke to him too and he was obedient; leaving and selling his family home and purchasing one here in Barrow.
Why? 2 Chronicles 20:1-18 'The Lord has sent me. I do not come as your servant, but of the Lord. We are servants together,'
On 9 November 1974 Mr Roger Hodges was inducted as lay pastor of our church, Rev Rodney Sexton of Mountsorrel and Rothley Baptist Church presiding; Rev Arthur Bonser, Area Superintendent of the East Midland Baptist Association - Induction and Charge to the Minister; Rev Peter Collinson - Charge to Church.
The lay pastoring of the church lasted six months, for through God's word, Romans 8:5-8 Roger became our full time Pastor. 52 years had elapsed between full time pastorates - God was beginning to move in a very special way.
Mr Hodges, with his wife Edith, son Jimmy and daughter Julie were with us for nearly three years. They were very full years, exciting years with richness.
At the very commencement of Roger's ministry we recognised his gift of teaching. The church was encouraged to come to the weeknight meeting; the books of Ephesians and Corinthians were very well thumbed and the circle of chairs spread and spread. Roger loved a blackboard or a detailed art poster.
Roger met a brother in the healing ministry at one of the Baptist Minister's Retreats, and so he was invited to come and share at an evening meeting. The sick were invited to come and join us for prayer. As far as the writer can remember, that was our first healing ministry service.
Edith's prayer ministry brought fruit among the young mums of the playgroup, for many of them became Christians.
There were 16 baptisms, and church membership reached 63. Prayer meetings, one early morning and one evening each week. Evangelism became very important with:
'Meet the Pastor' cottage meetings in different homes in the village. Open air services on new estates, plus riverside meetings. Church services taped. Men's outreach meals - one at John Storer House. Films. Coffee bars. Door to door visitation Monthly meetings at Gray's Court. Book stall at annual Donkey Derby at Humphrey Perkins School. Moorlands Bible College joined with us with an outreach presentation 'Bones'. Children from one of the Muller Homes in Bristol were accommodated for a weekend, and friends from the David Lewis Centre, sufferers of epilepsy were invited from time to time.
Young people were encouraged to attend WEC and SU camps. Humphrey Perkins school gym was used for outreach. Area Youth Services were held at intervals.
Missionary giving 1975. In that year the percentage given over from the weekly offerings was raised to 20%. A committee was formed, consisting of Pastor Hodges, Mrs Ida Gudger, Mrs Childs, Mrs Watterson and Mr Saunders. The mandate for Missionary Council was as follows:
Dispersal of monies: project thoughts on giving and to plan missionary work Missionary societies supported at that time was Baptist Missionary Society, Baptist Home Mission and Faith Mission September 1975. Began to support wholly the two year's study of Miss Elizabeth Saunders at Moorlands Bible College.
Mr John Watterson begins a 3 year Bible College Course at Spurgeons Bible College.
In the Sunday School the work grows. Choir stalls and gallery are used to accommodate for the beginning of worship. The teachers attend training. Each Sunday morning the opening worship included the aim and the songs identifying with the theme of the children's lesson material. It was no easy task as four classes had to be fitted into the adjoining Sunday School room. There was no further worship until the close.
Much thought was given to building extensions; the church porch, screening between sanctuary and the adjoining room; the need for a covered way to the toilets.
The kitchen was refurnished, and in response to this opportunity we received a gift from the Baptist Chapel Case Appeal.
The gift of a baptismal water pool heater was given.
You can imagine what a surprise it was to us all when Roger announced to the Diaconate in May 1977 that the Lord had moved him towards leaving the Pastorate here at Barrow. He had the opportunity to move to Cumbria, always a longing in his heart. The word 'The seed is in the barn'.
Pastor Hodges and the leadership had spent much time in prayer and seeking the Lord regarding Eldership in the church. Names were put forward but at a Church Meeting held on 29 June 1977 it was decided 'to put into writing the blueprint for the initial appointment of elders and then the approach to appointment of elders from that time, and to create the structures within the constitution for that mechanism'. A farewell service to Pastor Hodges was held in August of that year; a happy time, and yet a sad time, for us here at Barrow. We had grown to love the family. Families were also present from the village of Lowdham, Notts, some of whom had come to know and love the Lord during Roger's pastorate.
From the first Deacons meeting held on 8 August 1977 and for the next few meetings an eldership structure was drawn up and presented to the Church on 12 October 1977
and for the next few meetings an eldership structure was drawn up and presented to the church on 12 October 1977 for approval. Tapes on the subject of Eldership were used for the church study in March 1978.
Regarding the pastorate during this time, four names were brought by the church for prayer and opportunity to seek the Lord's will, each were withdrawn over three months.
However, on Friday evening 17 February 1978 Mr Don Boyes came to the Friday evening prayer meeting to share about the work of the Andes Evangelical Mission and to preach on the following morning; this began a feeling and a knowledge that the church should know more about Mr Boyes. He was asked to come and preach in April and May. The invitation had come through Pastor .Cooper of Quorn Baptist Church, the Boyes family had been supported on the mission field in Bolivia by the Quorn fellowship, and were looking to the Lord for guidance.
From that beginning, the church invited Rev Boyes to be our Pastor. The Induction took place on Saturday 2 September 1978. Chairing the meeting was Pastor Cooper. Induction by Rev Martin Lambourne of Loughborough Baptist Church. Statements were read by A Childs, Church Secretary and by Rev Don Boyes. Laying on of hands was part of the service. Tea followed - Mr G Passley presiding.
What an opportunity for the beginning of the ministry of Rev Don Boyes when on Sunday 3 September 1978 three were baptised, the day following his Induction.
1978 had indeed been a very busy year. The church had shared in the Jean Darnell and 'The Witness' crusade, also the Maurice Cerello three days in Leicester. During the Easter holidays a mission to children had been led by David Watterson. A team from Spurgeons were in the village in September and Rev Derek Cook from 11 to 15 October.
The Sunday School had begun a special outreach to families, inviting the whole family in for tea after special afternoon services, Mothering Sunday, and whenever an opportunity arose.