// history

10: Dr. Don Long March 1979 – January 1981

We are Called to Be God’s People
The Pastorate of Dr. Don Long March 1979 – January 1981
“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1

Dr. Don Long

On February 21, 1979, North Cleveland called Dr. Don Long as the church’s eighth pastor. Occupying the pastorate of theWashington Pike Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee for ten months. Long served as North Cleveland’s pastor from March 11, 1979 to January 25, 1981. The church issued a call to Long after , pulpit committee members T.J. Cawood (chairman). Bob Rymer, John Morrow, Ed Collins and Roy Boring had presented a favorable report. At the time of his calling, the church established Long’s annual salary at $19,500.00, with four weeks annually for revivals, and three week annually for vacation.
From 1979-1980, the church experienced growth in a majority of its programs, with the Sunday School recording the largest increase numerically from 596 in 1978 to 628 in 1980. During 1979, the church also recorded a total of fifty-two baptisms, which ranked North Cleveland forty-sixth out of 2,758 Tennessee Baptist churches in the number of baptisms. Based on that achievement, the church received special recognition from Tennessee Baptist Convention Evangelism Director Malcolm Dow in February, 1980. (159)
North Cleveland also initiated an Evangelism Explosion Program, a Teacher Training Video-Dynamics Seminar, and several campaigns to increase active participation in Sunday School, Training Union, Music and Visitation programs. In August, 1979, an anonymous donor contributed a van to aid in the church’s outreach ministry. (160)

Dr. and Mrs. Don (Nora) Long
Pam and Donna

During Long’s tenure, the church financed several renovation projects. In January and February, 1980, North Cleveland once again decided to remodel the Educational Annex. Estimated to cost $25,945.00, the project included the construction of a two- van garage in the rear of the Annex, as well as the renovation of the interior of the Annex. (161) The cost of such a project created a financial bind for North Cleveland, and members alleviated a portion of the debt during special offerings on October 1-4, 1980 and on July 12, 1981. The church also purchased additional sound equipment for the church sanctuary in 1979 at a total cost of $1,358.00, and continued to finance church ball teams which participated in Church League softball and basketball. The church had initially began to support a Men’s Softball Team in May, 1976, and added other teams later. At one time, the church supported four separate teams in Men’s and Women’s Softball and Basketball Leagues.

Rev. Ron Bright

In this period, the church staff continued to grow. On August 26, 1979, North Cleveland called Rev. Ron Bright from Knoxville as Minister of Youth and Associate Pastor. With this addition. Gene North’s position was changed from Minister of Music and Youth to Minister of Music and Education. Bright coordinated youth activities, recreational events, the Children’s Church Ministry, and assisted in pastoral duties. Bright served in this position until March 11, 1981, when he accepted the pastorate of the Trinity Baptist Church in Knoxville, (163) North Cleveland also continued to aid in various mission activities from 1979-81. While deciding to end the East Cleveland ministry in January, 1980, the church gave $40,388.00 in annual mission gifts to Southern Baptist Program and affiliated giving. In August, the church supported several members who assisted in a Vacation Bible School held by the Westside Baptist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. Later, North Cleveland decided to contribute
$200.00 a month to aid the new church in an area where a Southern Baptist ministry was desperately needed. (164)
After two years of service as North Cleveland’s pastor. Long announced his resignation on January 11, 1981. In his statement, he expressed appreciation for the church’s hospitality. Long also stated he regretted “being unable to do what I feel God wants.” (165) After Long’s resignation became effective on January 25, 1981, he accepted the pastorate of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Kingston, Tennessee.
Shortly after Long’s departure. North Cleveland acquired additional property. During a February 11 meeting. North Cleveland voted to purchase land located next to the church’s southern boundary from John Dunlap. The cost of this land which included two buildings was $50,000.00, and required a $10,000.00 down payment. As a part of the transaction, the church agreed to extend their payment of the balance over a ten-year period with ten percent interest. Later the church voted to borrow $10,000.00 over a ninety-day period in order that the church might pay Dunlap the down payment by March 1,1981. With this acquisition. North Cleveland’s property encompasses an area equivalent to three-fourths of a small city block.

NCBC Girls; Softball Team
Church Van
Ron Bright, Ed Collins & Ed Long
Children’s Choir
Girls’ Auxiliary and Leaders
Royal Ambassadors and Leaders