Elder A. D. Sears
By E. C. Goins
Elder A. D. Sears, who was well-known among Baptists, preached at the Bracken Church from December 1840 until 1842 under the auspices of the Bracken Association. He was missionary for the Bracken Association. There is some dispute as to whether he pastored the church or whether he preached for the church in the capacity as Missionary for the Bracken Association. John H. Spencer in his, "A HISTORY OF KENTUCKY BAPTISTS," says, "That he was never pastor" but other sources differ with him as stating that he was pastor. Through his ministry he did much to recover Bracken Church from the Mason "controversy."
Rev. Sears was of English parentage, and was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, January 1, 1804. He acquired a fair education. He was of deistical influence, and entertained a strong prejudice against religious people, holding the Baptist in special contempt. He never formed the habit of attending preaching. In 1823 be came to Kentucky and settled in Bourbon county, where in 1825, he married Miss Ann B. Bowie. By some means, he was led to a close study of the Bible, and thereby was led to Christ. He had never heard a Baptist preach but getting hold of Andrew Fuller's works, he found their teachings so fully in accordance with his experience, and understanding of the New Testarrent, that he resolved to join the hitherto despised Baptists. On the 19th of July 1838, he and his wife were baptized by Dr. Ryland Thompson Dillard into the fellowship of Davids Fork Baptist Church in Fayette County. In 1839, he was licensed to preach by his church. In February 1840, he was ordained to the ministry at David's Fork Baptist Church by Ryland Thompson Dillard, Edward Darnaby, and Josiah Leak.
He at once entered upon the work of his holy calling, and during the next seven months, preached once a month at Georgetown Baptist Church and the Forks of the Elkhorn Baptist Church (not pastoring at either place) and devoted the rest of his time to hold protracted meetings: In December, 1840, he moved to Flemingsburg Baptist Church and resided in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. He was appointed Missionary of the Bracken Association. He preached at Flemingsburg Baptist Church (which at this time was only a few months old - having been formed from the old Wilson Run and Popular Run Churches) and Bracken Baptist Church at Minerva. He labored in the bounds of Bracken Association until 1842. During the year 1840, he held meetings at Shelbyville, Burkes's Branch and South Benson Churches where large numbers were added to the churches. In July, 1842, he began a rreeting with the First Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky which continued eight weeks, and during which time he baptized one-hundred twenty-five people. The first of September in 1843, he accepted the pastorate of this church where he continued until July 1849, when he resigned to take the General Agency of the General Baptist Association of Kentucky. In July 1850, he was called as pastor of the Baptist Church at Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Here he remained until the Civil War began, when he moved to the south where he preached to the soldiers, many of whom were baptized. In the latter part of 1864, he attempted to move to Kentucky, but was prohibited by the military authorities. In January, 1866, he took charge of the Baptist church at Clarksville, Tennessee. Under his care the church increased from 25 members to 225 members, and erected a house of worship at a cost of $25,000 dollars. He remained with this church until his death, June 15, 1891 at the age of 87 years.
[From E. C. Goins, Kentucky Baptist Historical Society Newsletters, Vol. 8, #l, p. III, via Internet. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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