About Us

Who we are, where we come from, and where we're headed as a church family

Who we are

Here's the deal, Barnhardt Baptist Church cares about one thing more than anything else, Jesus Christ. Barnhardt Baptist Church is a family of individuals that have found hope in Jesus, and simply want as many people as possible to experience that exact same freedom.

Where we come from

  • Barnhardt Baptist Church was founded with 57 charter members in October of 1898. It started in the year 1897 when a small group of God-fearing Baptists, led by Rev. J. A. Barnhardt, realized the needs of the citizens of Stewartsville. In March 1897, a Sunday School was organized in the little two-room school house in Stewartsville. 


  • On October 11, 1898, a Baptist Church was organized at Stewartsville, Bedford County, Va. in an arbor near the public schoolhouse. On September 12, 1899, The Barnhardt Baptist Church was dedicated. 


  • During the first forty-four years, Barnhardt pastors were circuit preachers, having preaching services one Sunday a month. The community wanted more, so a Sunday School developed, with Mays Memorial Methodist and Barnhardt Baptist Church combining. It was held on Sunday afternoon by alternating churches. 


  • In 1942, Rev. Robert Bruce Layman was elected to be pastor. For the first time in the history of the church, services were held each Sunday. Under his leadership a building growth took place. New Sunday School rooms were constructed in 1951 and a new parsonage and garage in 1952. In 1959-1960 the old church was torn down for construction of a new sanctuary. Church services were conducted at the Stewartsville High School during construction.


  • During this time the church was growing in numbers as well as spiritually. There was 439 on roll and 310 in Sunday School attendance. THE church decided to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention and to become an Independent Baptist Church. 


  • In 1964, the Sunday school was still growing, so a second floor to the Sunday School annex was built. This was great, but we also needed a social building. In 1966, the church voted to proceed with the construction of this building. The social building was built and finished from monies left to the church in the will Mr. and Mrs. R. B. St.Clair. grateful to this very generous couple. Pastor R. B. Layman retired in October 1968. /p Rev. Kenneth Peters joined the staff in 1969 as Senior Pastor. Under Pastor Peters ministry, missionary support grew from seven mission works with a total of $725 monthly support to thirty seven mission works for a total of $2,345 per month. Â Barnhardt also supported thirteen students going to Bible College with tuition assistance.


  • In October 1979, Pastor Terry Mabrey moved into the parsonage. Under his leadership Home Missions grew.


  • All of these ministries are still in place at Barnhardt. Many young people from Barnhardt went into full time work for the Lord during Pastor Mabrey time here. Pastor Mabrey resigned in January 1998 after 18 years of service.


  • Pastor Jerry Smith arrived at Barnhardt in June 1999 with his motorcycle and the love of Jesus in his heart.  Everyone he would meet, he would introduce them to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He had a ministry of caring for the children and the old alike. The church grew under his ministry, but Pastor Smith accepted the Lords call to return to the church if his childhood in Indiana, May 2003.


  • Pastor Joseph K. Peters, Jr. is the son of an earlier pastor, Dr. Ken Peters. Pastor Joe accepted the call and came to Barnhardt on November 18th, 2004. He had a vision to be the overseer in the development and growth of every ministry-team in the church, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love  Eph. 4:16c. The first prayer concern was to concentrate on reaching the next generation for Christ. Our Youth Pastor, Steve Harrelson, was a direct answer to that prayer. Pastor Steve came on November 1st, 2005, joining the staff with Senior Pastor Joe and Associate Pastor Bud Fritz. The church decated a new Family Life Center on November 24, 2013. This FLC building is to be enjoyed by all and for the glory of our Savior and Redeemer.


  • Pastor Mark Harvey arrived at Barnhardt Baptist as our Associate/Youth Pastor on August 1st, 2018. He brought with him his wife Cindy and their five children! He dedicated all of his time to the youth group and training them to study and grow in God's Word. In June 2020, God called Pastor Joe Peters to retire as Senior Pastor and Pastor Mark acceped the call and began his new role as Senior Pastor on July 1st, 2020.


  • If you want to know more history on Barnhardt and its pastors, contact the church by phone or e-mail and purchase for $5 the book Barnhardt Baptist Church, A Century of Service 1898 

Where we're headed

What's the bottom line? More than ever, Barnhardt Baptist Church is committed to fostering a family built around hope. Hope for the future. Hope for better. Hope for progress. Hope in Jesus. And as we move forward as a church family, inclusion and belonging remain at the center of who we are as followers of Christ.

What this means for you

What does this mean for you? Most importantly, you're always welcome at Barnhardt Baptist Church. We're saving a seat for you. Wherever you're at in your faith journey, you'll always be accepted as part of the Barnhardt family.