During the month of April 1981, the Divine plan was given to Rev. George E. Mahin who spent five hours in his office on a Saturday morning at the Mammoth Life & Accident Insurance Company putting the outline on paper. After much prayer and review of the same with the late Pastor C.B. Lucas of the Emmanuel Baptist Church and the late Rev. W.F. Fisher, Pastor Emeritus of the Elim Baptist Church, who became spiritual advisors. Circulars were prepared for distribution throughout the city. Also, copies were sent to the media, the mayor, and the county judge.
Officer Shelby Lanier gave voluntary assistance in distributing the circulars and a generous financial contribution when public worship began on Mother’s Day, May 10, 1981, at the Hampton House (2422 W. Chestnut Street). While distributing the circulars we secured permission to speak to both the day and night classes at Simmons Bible College seeking ministers who would volunteer to help us. We secured one very important volunteer, Min. Albert Smith, who had been licensed to preach by Zion Baptist Church.
A series of public worship services and pre-organization meetings were continued at the Hampton house with Min. Albert Smith was steadfast by the side of the organizing ministers; preaching, distributing circulars, inviting guests, etc. Sunday School teachers from Simmons Buble College and sharing with us by making regular and sacrificial contributions toward the expenses and for the building fund.
The Church Organized
Based on God’s word as recorded in Matthew 18:20 which reads, “For where two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them,” the church was officially organized on Thursday evening, September 24, 1981, in the assembly room of the West end Lions Club. The organization papers were signed by six organizing members, two by baptism, another with immediate letters from Emmanuel Baptist Church, and three by Christian experience.
We continued to worship at the Hampton House until the last Sunday of 1981 when we began worshipping at the Louisville Inn (located on 1st & Broadway). This location was accessible to all and we met on Sunday mornings. Later we began having prayer meetings at Rev. Mahin’s home on Wednesday evenings.
While at the Louisville Inn we continued searching for a place to build New Horizon. There were many disappointments but, the grace of God prevailed and we were led to the corner of 27th & Elliott streets. Groundbreaking for our new sanctuary was held on November 6, 1983, it was indeed a glorious occasion and a testament to what faith in the Lord can do. We were able to worship in our new church building on February 19, 1984.
Walter Smith, Jr. first became involved with the New Horizon on November 8, 1981, when Min. Albert Smith asked him to teach the Sunday School lesson. Rev. Mahin testified he perceived a light emanating from him and knew he was, “the man,” to eventually accept leadership. At that time, Rev. Smith was a deacon at St. James Missionary Baptist Church and stated that he was not aware of any call to preach.
Rev. Walter Smith, Jr. announced his “call” on Thanksgiving Day, 1981, and preached his initial sermon on December 20, 1981, at St. James. He first preached for New Horizon, on December 27th, 1981. He officially joined New Horizon, on January 2, 1983.
In a meeting duly called by Pastor Mahin on June 29, 1983, and upon recommendation of Pastor Mahin, Min. Walrer Smith, Jr. was elected Assistant Pastor of New Horizon Missionary Baptist Church. On June 27, 1984, Pastor Mahin read his resignation effective August 1, 1984, and transference of pastoral responsibility from Rev. Mahin to Rev. Walter Smith, Jr.
August 1, 1984, Rev. Walter Smith, Jr., became New Horizon’s pastor. Under Pastor Smith’s leadership, the church grew and developed many ministries along with a host of deacons and associate ministers. Due to church growth, in 1990 we began an 8:30 am service. In May of 1991, the Lord blessed us to build on an addition to the church which is used as an all-purpose facility. This facility was used for auxiliary meetings, classrooms, a fellowship hall, and a food ministry. On September 27, 1992, we burned the mortgage of the church and in the spring of 1995, we were blessed to purchase the lot next door.
During the fall of 1995, the church voted unanimously to join the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and Pastor Smith became the State overseer of Kentucky.
In December of 1998, we purchased five acres of land on the corner of Dixie Hwy and Wingfield. We renovated a building that was on the property and held our first service in the building on Father’s Day, June 20, 1999. The formerly dilapidated building had now been renovated and dubbed the New Horizon H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Excel) Center. During the spring of 2000, we were blessed by God to build recreational facilities, a basketball court, playground, and concessions area.