Pastor Emeritus Rev. John D Fuller, Sr.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a pastor, he desireth a good work,” epitomizes the life of Rev. John D. Fuller, Sr. He was called to the ministry at the age of sixteen. At the age of seventeen (September 23, 1963), he preached his initial sermon during a church business session at Jones Grove Baptist Church in Thomson, Georgia.
John D. Fuller, Sr., the son of the late Deacon Leon and Mrs. Pearlie Mae Fuller, the father of John, Jr., Eva Regina and Frankie Bernard, grandfather of Gamarkis, Raven, Brittany, Farrah, and Fahron, was born in Thomson, Georgia.
He received his early education in the McDuffie County School System, Thomson, Georgia and graduated from R. L. Norris High School in 1965. Despite many hardships, typical of a sharecropper’s family, he was an honor student. His higher education began with one year of study at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, followed by his obtaining a B.A. Degree in Sociology from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina. He began his Masters Degree program at Shaw Divinity School, Raleigh, North Carolina, however he transferred to Morehouse School of Religion, Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia where he received his Master of Divinity Degree, with a concentration in Parish Administration and Biblical Studies. He began studies toward a Doctorate Degree at Boston University’s School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts. He received honorary Doctor of Divinity Degrees awarded to him by Virginia Seminary and College, Lynchburg, Virginia and Shaw Divinity School, Raleigh, North Carolina. On November 17, 2000, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina. Rev. Fuller also received in 2001 the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia. Rev. Fuller was nominated by Fayetteville State University, and in March 2004, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. On May 3, 2008, Rev. Fuller was honored by his Alma Mater, Morehouse School of Religion, Interdenominational Theological Center with an Honorary Doctorate.
In 1966, Rev. Fuller was drafted into the United States Army and after an overseas assignment in South Korea, he was assigned to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. While stationed at Ft. Bragg, the young minister was often guest preacher for local congregations. This exposure caused Baptist Union Baptist Church, Hope Mills, North Carolina to call him in 1969. In 1970, the Beauty Spot Baptist Church, Fayetteville, North Carolina, called him as Pastor. The Union Baptist Association ordained him July 12, 1970. During the period that he served both churches (Baptist Union, 1969-1973; Beauty Spot, 1970-1973), both churches grew spiritually and financially, and both churches worship structures were expanded.
Rev. Fuller assumed the pastorate of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church the third Sunday in October in the small white frame church near the intersection of Skibo and Raeford Roads. Eleven months later, ground breaking for a new facility took place. The new structure was completed in 1975 while the church’s lower level was completed in 1976.
Under his leadership, numerous programs, activities, organizations, and boards were activated and/or expanded. Following the mortgage burning for the present sanctuary, Pastor Fuller led Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church into a higher level of service and productivity. Affordable housing has been a major thrust. To this end, J. D. Fuller Place, consisting of forty-seven apartments, is now a community of senior citizens. The church has also built and dedicated a home in Habitat Village. To reach the growing Hispanic population in our area, a new ministry was established in 1998. It has grown to become a church (1st Spanish Missionary Baptist). To serve our growing church family, new positions, Assistant to the Pastor for Administration and Congregational Care, were added to the staff in 1998. Looking forward to the 100th Church Anniversary, a Historical Centennial Committee has been appointed by Rev. Fuller to research and compile the rich history of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
In 2001, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Fuller began plans for the Lewis Chapel Family Life Center to be located on the Old Bunce Road property. The groundbreaking service was held in December 2002. The $5.3 million facility was dedicated on April 23, 2005. The facility is named in his honor as the John D. Fuller, Sr. Recreational/Athletic Complex.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, sound doctrine and built on the principles of tithing, Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church has grown to a membership of more than four thousand (4,000). Its material worth is approximately $20 million. More than sixty (60) men and women have been called into the ministry. Many are pastoring churches and serving as chaplains.
Reflections of Rev. John D. Fuller, Sr. reveal a giant of a man who has proven to be a teacher, minister, advisor, administrator, builder and friend to all mankind . . .“an uncompromising servant, laboring in word and doctrine, worthy of double honor.”
After forty-two years of pastoring Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was voted Pastor of Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in Raeford, North Carolina (two-year tenure). When Dr. Fuller passed he was serving as Pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Rockingham, North Carolina.
“Build A People and They Will Build A Church: God’s Uncompromising Servant” in the person of the Dr. John D. Fuller, Sr.