Hidden on Shady Lane in Barnesville, The First Baptist Church is quietly growing its congregation and mission in the area and abroad.

The church has quadrupled in membership in the past 11 years, resulting in the need for an additional Sunday morning service and eventually, an addition to the building.

Pastor Rodney West said the steady growth is a result of God's power (the promised Holy Spirit) and the hard work and dedication of the congregation.

"The people of our church are a loving group and have allowed us to make changes over the years," Pastor West said.

He said keeping scripture first is the most important part of the vision for the church.

"They are good, giving, hard working people and they desire to see everyone in church," he said. "When they come through our doors they are loved and treated the same."

West said the church doesn't pressure people to join. He said all of the credit for the success of the church goes to "the praying people with a belief in what God can do."

"It is God's miracle we are trying to perpetuate. We are a community of believers."

He said the church members have been good to he and wife Patty and have worked hard alongside them. Over the years, they have supported Rodney and Patty on two mission trips to Romania. West said the Baptist churches have over 5,500 missionaries in the field.

"We couldn't have been blessed with a better group of people," he said.

When the Sunday attendance began averaging 170 people, West implemented the two-morning service plan. He said the addition of the second service and the expansion of the building has been needed for a long time to facilitate the needs of the church, those who attend and to prepare for future growth.

"We welcome everybody who has a thirst for God's love in their lives," West said.

West noted that the building is maintained by church members who volunteer their services.

"They are proud of the building and take care of it," he said. He pointed to a church van, sound system, power point system and a television camera in the nursery so that mothers can see and hear the service while nursing children, as amenities that members have purchased for the church.

West also credited his family for their support. He was a bi-vocational pastor for 25 years. The West's family includes: son Donnie and his wife Bridget and son Colton; daughter Dawn Denise

Olden, husband Jim and children Jimmy, Tabaitha and her husband Dave Laishley; great-grandson Marshall and great-granddaughter Leeza Laishley and youngest daughter Melissa Hendershot and her sons Josh Clark and Tyler Moore.

The very active church has a puppet ministry, adult, teen and children's choir, junior church and a youth ministry.

"We have many talented singers," Rodney's wife, Patty, said.

West said the evening service focuses more on applying the scriptures to every area of life. Conferences and special events are held throughout the year.

Sunday morning worship begins at 8:30 a.m. with prayer at 9:30 a.m., Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and worship service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday evening activities include Youth Group at 5:30 p.m. and worship service at 7 p.m. Wednesday evenings include a prayer meeting at 7 p.m. and choir practice at 8 p.m.

For more information, contact the church office at (740) 425-2231 or Pastor West at 425-1401. The church Web site is www.FirstBaptistBarnesville.com.