Mableton First Baptist History
Kim Daniell-White, 2012
The history of First Baptist Church, Mableton, properly begins with the constitution of Concord Baptist Church, the mother church of the Concord Baptist Association.
When Cobb County was cut out of the original Cherokee Territory in 1832, the majority of Indians expelled, and the white settlers beginning to move into the new county from the earlier counties of Georgia (Wilkes, Clarke, Greene, Franklin, etc.), Concord Baptist Church was one of the first churches to be organized. It was an "arm" of the Nancy Creek Baptist Church, established about 1822 in DeKalb County, before white settlers were allowed west of the Chattahoochee River. Services were held at Concord in 1832 with the first recorded conference on October 13, 1832. The Church was constituted June 8, 1833.
The following is quoted from the record of Conference No. 560, Concord Baptist Church, held October 8, 1886:
"Item 4 - Read and received a petition from the Citizens of Mableton and the surrounding community requesting Concord Church to extend an arm to them at Mableton."
This was followed by other conference records leading up to the organization of the church in Mableton.
The new church proceeded with the business of organizing the work prior to its constitution, and made regular reports of its conferences back to Concord Church. The report of February 6, 1887 states that after preaching by W.J. Speairs, the Church elected James M. Glore clerk and A.B. Seay as its first Sunday School Superintendent. Later, on April 3, 1887, a committee was appointed to procure a building site for a church house. Four members were appointed from the church, and three other men represented the community.
On September 4, 1887, there was a called meeting from the Concord Association of ministers, deacons, and brethren from Concord, Mt. Harmony, and Mt. Pisgah churches to organize a church at Mableton. The delegation representing Concord was composed of Deacons J.L. Reed, Sr., W.B. Reed, J.T. Glore, J.M. Robertson, and brethren H.B. Reed, I.B. Seay, G.N. Daniell, F.F. Gann, and P.H. Gann.
The Presbytery gave a vote of approval and they were received as "Mableton Missionary Church of Christ at Mableton, GA." The charter members were:
They first met in a brush arbor back of where the church now stands. Next they met in a little school building on the corner of Moss and Church (Lowe) Streets (where the duplex of Mrs. M.D. Capps now stands), until they could make plans for subscriptions for building. The first building was a white frame two-story building, with two doors in front, and one on each side. There was a row of pews in the center, with a row on each side, made of 2x3 pine. Oil lamps were on the center posts and walls, with a coal heater in the front of the building. School was also held in this building for a number of years.
Brother W.J. Speairs drew the plans for the first church building. He was the first pastor, being elected October 1, 1887, (having served as moderator of the "arm" or mission) and served until November 3, 1888. Mr. Frank Daniell, father of A.E. Daniell, gave part of the land on which the original church was built and on which the present buildings now stand.
On April 25, 1889, J.H. Williams became pastor, serving until February 25, 1893. Robert Baber (or Baker) was called in March, 1893, but apparently did not accept. From June, 1893 until September, 1893, J.H. Standridge acted as moderator. Brother A.J. Coalson was elected by the church in September, 1893 and served to December 21, 1895. Brother B.H. Phillips served from January, 1896 to August 26, 1899. Brother J.H. Williams served from January 18, 1902 to August 15, 1903, and Brother E.M. Hooten served from November 15, 1903 to September 22, 1906.
Sometime during this period, the church, which at this time was also used as a school house until the school could be built, first gave the Odd Fellows Organization permission to have their meetings upstairs. In later years, the Junior Order also met there.
Brother Harry Meek served the church as pastor from May, 1907 to November, 1907; Brother S.T. Gilland from November, 1907 to October, 1912; Brother B.B. Smith from January, 1913 to September, 1913; Brother S.T. Gilland again from October, 1913 to November, 1916. Brother J.S. Bookhart served from January, 1917 to August, 1918; C.N. Peek from May, 1919 to September, 1920; Brother F.M. Lacy from November, 1920 to September, 1925; Brother John Darnell from October, 1925 to June, 1929; Rev. G.W. Southard served from 1929 to 1941 and, at the same time, preached at Mt. Harmony Baptist Church. He resigned effective February, 1941 for full time service at Mt. Harmony.
For many years there was a Christmas tree annually, begun by T.J. Lowe, one of the early citizens of the town. The idea was reluctantly abandoned much later when attendance at the event became too large to handle the crowd of children.
The church used to have an annual 4th of July picnic at Lithia Springs or Powder Springs. The person usually in charge was Herbert Glore, who was Sunday School Superintendent for a number of years. An all-day singing with dinner on the ground was also held for many years on the 4th Sunday in May.
On Wednesday, April 16, 1931, twelve members of Mableton Church met and organized what was known as Mableton Church Club, with the object of building a new church building. Several suggestions were made as to how the money would be raised. On April 25, 1931, the church received report from the newly organized club, and the motion to build the church was approved.
In May, 1931, a committee was appointed consisting of T.K. Gresham, P.H. Gann, and J.M. Thomas to see the School Board about getting a deed to the property where the old school house had stood at the back of the church building. In November, 1931, the church asked G.H. Dailey to have the fraternal orders using the building to meet with the deacons in regard to tearing down the old building. In December, 1931, it was voted to build a new church on the same ground as the old one, using as much lumber from the old church as could be used, and to notify the secret orders of such move, giving them a reasonable time to find other quarters.
At the meeting on February 17, 1932, all the members of the Church Club were made members of the Finance Committee, of which R.K. Gresham was Chairman. Mrs. A.E. Daniell was appointed Assistant Chairman, and Miss Willie Glore was named Secretary/Treasurer. A committee was appointed on January 31, 1932, to build a new church, and the building began. It was done during the height of the Depression; but by many donating their time and money, it was accomplished.
1936On December 29, 1936, the church was dedicated. The church extended thanks to the School Board for the use of the school auditorium for services while rebuilding the church.
The Rev. G.C. Light served the church from February, 1941 to October, 1943; Rev. J.H. Knight from 1943 until 1950. During this time, a Sunday School annex was built onto the church building. The Building Committee was headed by N.B. Ayers. A pastorium was also purchased on Floyd Road. Rev. T.H. Howell served the church with the leaving of Brother Knight. During that time, the old pastorium was sold and a new one was built on Clay Road. It was first occupied by Rev. Hugh Widick and family, who joined us in August, 1955.
In September of 1957, grading was begun for a completely new auditorium and Sunday School space. Frank Widincamp, Sr. was Chairman of the Building Committee. This was financed by a bond sale and the first floor only was constructed, being occupied as a temporary sanctuary in July, 1958. It also contained restrooms and a new Intermediate Department. In addition to the construction of the first floor of the building, much progress was made in Sunday School and other areas of the church during the ministry of Brother Widick, including the purchase of property across Church Street for additional parking space.
It is believed the first organized choir was in 1944, when work was done on a choir loft and the church approved the purchase of choir robes. In the late 1940's, Gene Barber was elected Sunday School Superintendent and served for 10 years, not consecutively. In a called conference on September 28, 1952, Miss Martha Hendrix was elected as Church Secretary. She is believed to be the first-ever Church Secretary.
Upon the resignation of Brother Widick in September, 1960, the church called Brother Randy Haman from Cartersville. Much progress was made under Brother Haman's ministry: additional space was made by converting the old auditorium into two departments, two departments were made in the old church basement, and the Boy Scout Hut was moved to the church grounds and converted into a two-story building for additional Sunday School space. The highest attendance in Sunday School was during Rev. HamanŐs ministry with 700+ attending on occasion.
When Brother Haman resigned in July, 1962, the church called Rev. J. Truman Brown from the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia. He began his ministry on November 25, 1962. Under his leadership, our church began publishing a newsletter called the "First Baptist Witness" in 1963 and mailed it to the homes of all the members.
In September, 1964, Rev. J. Truman Brown, Jr. met with the current Building Committee "to plan, finance, and build" a sanctuary and additional education space. Much study and planning with the Sunday School Board in Nashville highlighted the strong base laid through the leadership of Rev. Brown. The church called Rev. Tom Stevenson as Minister of Education and Youth, and purchased a house for his occupancy. He began his work with the church on March 1, 1963. He provided very capable assistance to Rev. Brown.
The church was showing solid and significant growth under their guidance and looking forward to building again to provide for the many people now in the church and for the prospects in the community. Total average attendance per Sunday in Sunday School was 501. The highest attendance in Training Union occurred during Rev. Brown's ministry, which was 200+. Rev. Brown's ministry ended on April 11, 1965.
On August 15, 1965, Rev. David B. York became pastor to lead in the final planning and completion of the building program. The church voted in conference on Wednesday night, June 15, 1966, to secure a loan of $300,000 from the Atlanta Federal Bank for the purpose of constructing the interim sanctuary and educational space. Ground breaking services were held June 19, 1966, after morning worship service.
Thirty thousand square feet of floor space was constructed at a cost of approximately $425,000, including furnishings. The sanctuary was built to seat 900 people. All the new educational space and sanctuary was engineered with central heating and air. Our previous sanctuary was converted in to a new kitchen, fellowship hall,and adult Sunday School department. Mr. N.B. Ayres was Chairman of the Building Committee during this time.
As the church looked to the future, we dedicated ourselves to winning the lost so that a still larger sanctuary would eventually be built where the oldest building (red brick) stood.
On April 20, 1966, the church voted approval to be officially known as Mableton First Baptist Church, Inc., and registered as such with the proper authorities.
The church purchased the Fields' home and property for additional space. On February 15, 1967, approval was given to purchase the property and house on Center Street, which joined the church property, for future use. The house was rented until it was demolished.
On March 15, 1967, the church voted approval to begin a kindergarten for 5 year olds in the following September, and called Mrs. Inez Russell as the kindergarten teacher. Nineteen children were already registered and space was made for 6 more.
Mrs. Russell came well-qualified. She graduated from Northeast Junior College of Louisiana State University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Mrs. Russell had held several positions in church work, including Youth Director, Educational Director, and Church Secretary. She was employed by the Fulton County Board of Education before accepting the position as Kindergarten Director/Teacher in June, 1967. After a few years at our church, she attended the University of Georgia for her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education, driving to and from Athens during the summer months.
The church voted to purchase a bus on January 17, 1968.
After five years of very effective service, Tom Stevenson resigned as Minister of Education and Youth on May 5, 1968.
The church had made some significant strides in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The membership now remained constant, but the attendance and participation dropped.
On May 26, 1968, the church called Rev. J. Robert Craig as Associate Pastor and Minister of Youth. He remained until September 24, 1969, when he accepted a call to become pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Conyngham, PA.
For the 1969-70 Kindergarten term, the church voted approval for more teachers, Betty Trotter and Beverly Gillis, along with a part time Kindergarten Secretary, Norma Spence. On September 24, 1969, the church approved for Kindergarten employment Betty Willoughby, along with Pat Townsend, Martha Jones, and Shirley Griswell as substitutes.
On December 28, 1969, the church approved the sale of the pastorium and educational director's house, providing housing allowances for those employees instead. It was mentioned at the meeting that this was what most churches were doing at this time.
On January 21, 1970, the church called Mr. J.W. (Bill) Winchester as Minister of Education and Youth, effective March 1, 1970. Mr. Winchester was serving as Minister of Music at Lithia Springs First Baptist Church. In October of 1970 the church approved the licensing and ordaining of Mr. Winchester to the gospel ministry.
May 3, 1970 was tentatively set as the opening date to re-activate the church library. Several persons had been elected in the past to do this, but it never succeeded. Library materials and audio visual aids had been in the budget since 1966, so there were already visuals, projectors, and over 300 books. Pastor York and Bill Winchester fully supported the library and gave much encouragement to the newly elected library staff: Nettie Hembree (Director), Ruth Conner, Shirley Griswell, and Gayle Hunter. With a prayer of dedication by the Minister of Education, Bill Winchester, the library was opened on May 3, 1970.
By 1982, Mableton First Baptist had the best Church Media-Library in the Concord Association under the leadership of Mrs. Hembree and her staff members Ruth Conner, Dora Poole, Velma Crawford, and Nancy Dunn. The library had 4300 books, 350 visuals, and 59 pieces of equipment. There was a Children's Reading Room, an Adult Room, a Work Room, an Audio Visual Room, and a Reading Room.
The average attendance in Sunday School at this time was 550 (out of 1182 enrolled). Church membership was 1367 (resident). An additional non-resident membership of 120 made the total membership 1487.
The church approved having Wednesday night suppers at 6pm with a charge of $1 for adults and $.50 for children on August 19, 1970. Supper was served if at least 70 persons had made reservations by noon of the preceding Monday.
On September 15, 1971, the church employed a Junior Choir Director at $25 a month. Until this time, all choirs were under the direct leadership of Minister of Music, Arthur Durand. Arthur was born in Norcross, Georgia. He graduated from Tech High School in Atlanta, and studied voice with Mr. John Hoffman of Atlanta. He had lead church music since 1946, and served at Western Heights Baptist and Whiteford Avenue Baptist churches in Atlanta before coming to us in November of 1958. Before Mr.Durand was called to Mableton, the choirs were lead by Martha Settle, Jean Widincamp, Elsie Daniell and Janie Ayres. In 1946, Mrs. Shearer had been the Director of the Church Music Department, and the Church Choristers were Mr. L.C. Stewart and Mr. Ray Griggs. None of these were paid directors until Mr. Durand's employment.
The church organist for many years was Mrs. Sara Payne. Mrs. Payne is the former Sara Glore, is a Mableton native and has been a lifelong member of Mableton First Baptist. Her father, R.P. Glore, was a deacon in the church for many years. Sara attended elementary and high school in Mableton and then attended Southern Business University. She received her piano and organ training from local teachers, and, while in her teens, began to play the piano for our church. She continued to do so until the church purchased an organ. She served as church organist until her retirement in 1991.
The church pianist for many years was Mrs. Evelyn Holton. She is a native of Atlanta and graduated from Girls' High School. After finishing studies there, she took a secretarial course at Georgia State College in Atlanta. She also studied voice and piano from several well known teachers in Atlanta. Evelyn, James, and their two boys, Joey and Bobby, joined our church in 1959. Soon afterward, she was employed as the church pianist until her retirement in April of 1983.
By September, 1970, the Kindergarten enrollment had increased substantially enough to employ a teacher to substitute for Mrs. RussellŐs class while she trained the regular 4-year Kindergarten teacher for the 1970-71 school year.
In August of 1971, Rev. Winchester, Minister of Education and Youth, resigned to go to Fellowship Baptist Church in Smyrna as Education Director.
The average Sunday School attendance during 1971 remained around 500 and above.
Rev. David York resigned effective March 12, 1972. The church called Rev. Bob Hite as Interim Pastor.
On June 11, 1972, the church called Jerry Daniel as the Associate Youth Director for the remainder of the summer. He worked with ages 12 through Single Adults. He coordinated all activities through the ages' group leaders. He had previously attended Baptist College for one year and was now a junior at the University of Georgia, where he returned for the fall semester. He had been a youth leader in several Baptist churches and had begun full-time Christian service in Education and Music, and had just completed a training session in Youth work at Georgia Baptist Assembly in Toccoa, GA.
On July 2, 1972, the pulpit committee recommended a call to Rev. Fred Lackey of Westside Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. He preached an Introductory Sermon and the church's vote was unanimous. On July 12, 1972, Deacon Chairman Freeman Poole announced that Rev. Lackey had declined the call.
On August 13, 1972, after his Introductory Sermon, the church called Rev. Charles W. Brown to be pastor. The vote was unanimous.
OnSeptember 13, 1972, the church approved the purchase of a three bedroom house under construction at 281 Nickajack Road for a pastorium.
As of October, 1972, the average Sunday School attendance was 640. The average weekly offering was $2,179.07.
At the end of five years of operation, the 1972-73 Kindergarten enrollment had increased from 25 the first year to 150 children enrolled in the 4 and 5-year classes. The Staff was: 5 Year - Betty Willoughby, Beverly Shoun, Pat Townsend; 4 Year - Jeanette Pike, Gail Noland. The Secretary was Gayle Hunter.
During 1973, the church carpeted the upstairs hallways, from the top of the stairs at the nursery to, and including, the registration room of the Sunday School area.
The fall of 1973 found the church approving the beginning of a Deaf Ministry under the direction of Mr. Wesley Floyd, interpreter. At the same time, a Sunday School class for the deaf was created with Miss Lisa Straton as the first student.
The Sunday School average attendance for October, 1973 was 461. The average weekly offering was $2,438.11. The total receipts on the October conference report were $12,004.32. The total Kindergarten enrollment was 225.
The upper parking lot was paved in November, 1973. The rear of this new parking lot was set aside for a recreation area. In December of 1973, the recreation area was fenced and made into a tennis court. At this time, the basement of the oldest building was carpeted for Sunday School rooms.
On March 24, 1974, the church approved sponsoring a mission in the Douglasville area. The name was approved as Arbor Heights Mission, and was located on Reynolds Road. On June 16, 1974, the Rev. Tommy Bledsoe was called as its first pastor.
On April 3, 1974, Mableton First Baptist Church called Miss Marcia C. Fountain of Dublin, Georgia, as our Minister of Youth, effective May 1, 1974. She held an AB Degree in Music and a Master's Degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
A new church bus was purchased that same year, along with 18 white baptismal robes. Semi-sheer drapes were also ordered for the vestibule windows.
1974 also saw the first special worship service for the 4 and 5 year olds in the Kindergarten area of the building at the same time as the regular 11am worship service. Mrs. Brenda Nave and Mrs. Russell coordinated the service with a rotating staff.
In June, 1974, our Kindergarten was recognized as outstanding, and was being used by Georgia State University for their student teachers.
The church approved the recommendation for a Church Constitution and By-Laws Committee to write a Constitution and By-Laws for the church.
In the fall of 1974, the Kindergarten enrollment was up to 198 and a 3-Year class was begun three days a week. An advanced 5-Year class was also started at this time.
In October, 1974, average attendance in Sunday School was 484, the average weekly offering was $2,461.00, and the total receipts for October were $12,835.89.
The church approved the purchase of the house and lot adjoining the tennis court and facing Avery Street.
On May 21, 1975, the church received $4,800 from the Lowe Estate. In appreciation, the church placed a set of World Book Encyclopedias in the church library in memory of the L.C. Lowe family.
Arbor Heights Mission Church held its Constituting Service with our pastor, Rev. Charles W. Brown, officiating at 3pm on July 20, 1975.
The Kindergarten staff members for August, 1975, were: Mrs. Russell - Director; Gayle Hunter - Secretary; Teachers - Betty Willoughby, Pat Townsend, Beverly Shoun, Gail Noland, Jackie Cooper, Irene Glore, Shirley Griswell, and Laura Smith.
On November 12, 1975, we purchased 500 new Baptist Hymnals. The average attendance at this time was 409 in Sunday School. Average weekly offerings totaled $2,324.
Miss Marcia Fountain resigned effective March 31, 1976, to return to Southwestern Theological Seminary to obtain a Master's Degree in Church Music.
That same month, Steve Echols was called as part-time Youth Director, effective May 1, 1976. Steve attended Mercer University in Atlanta and planned to go to seminary after graduation. He had served as Youth Director at Community Baptist in Smyrna and at Bethlehem Church in Newnan, Georgia. Steve served with us for 18 months and resigned in August of 1977 to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
On February 6, 1977, Tony Melton reported that Rev. John Jennery asked the church not to vote for him to fill the position of Minister of Education. It was reported that in the past year the Personnel Committee had contacted 17 persons and interviewed 6 for this position.
Rev. Charles W. Brown's ministry was terminated on June 22, 1977, after a lengthy controversy.
Dr. O.M. Seigler was called as interim pastor on July 10, 1977. On August 24, 1977, a call was extended to Rev. Julian Leroy as part time Minister of Education, effective September 1, 1977. Dr. Seigler said as he viewed the past few months, Ňhe found lean and fruitful results - both. The bright spots were not as fruitful as they should have been; however, the dark spots were not as bad as they could have been.Ó
In October, 1977, the average weekly attendance in Sunday School was 322, with an average weekly offering of $2,460. Total receipts for that month were $19,201.11.
On September 11, 1977, the Scout Hut was renovated into an Activities Building. Games, record players, recordings, and a piano were placed in it.
Dr. Seigler resigned on November 16, 1977, as interim pastor due to his wife's illness.
The church started a Sunday School class for Exceptional pupils (children and youth) on November 16, 1977, under the capable leadership of Mrs. Elaine Ridgeway.
Dr. D.J. Evans was called as interim pastor, effective November 21, 1977.
On March 3, 1978, Rev. Julian LeRoy resigned to become the Associational Missionary for Concord Baptist Association.
The past few months had been significant in the life of Mableton First Baptist Church. How good it looked to see things moving forward in practically every respect. It was evident that the members were responding to the challenges before us, we accepted those challenges, and were pulling together to meet them for the sake of our Lord. Church leaders and members showed love and friendship as never before, and united to keep a well-balanced program for the entire church.
Beginning with fiscal year 1978, Kindergarten and Church budgets were combined - the total budget being $217,212. The weekly requirements were $3,567.27.
On April 23, 1978, the Pulpit Committee recommended the call of Rev. Robert M. Skelton as pastor. He was pastoring the Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia. Rev. Skelton declined the call from our church on Sunday, May 14, 1978.
On May 17, 1978, a Puppet Ministry was begun with church approval. Many adults and youth participated, and it was a real asset to the overall church ministry.
On June 25, 1978, after earnestly seeking God's will for himself, the Rev. Skelton informed the Pulpit Committee that he would like to accept the call of the church if it was still open. Out of 230 votes cast, 98.3% voted Yes, and he became our pastor on August 1, 1978.
Bob Skelton was born on September 8, 1940, in Gainesville, Georgia, and attended high school there. He received his AA Degree from Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia in 1960 and his BS Degree from Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963. Bob did his Graduate study in Education at the University of Georgia in Athens from 1964-67 and was, as we called him, studying for his Master of Divinity Studies degree from the Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida.
Bob had served in various positions in different churches in Georgia and Kentucky. He served as Pastor, part time Pastor, and Summer Youth Director before accepting the pastorate at Garden Lakes.
Bob had also served as a classroom teacher and coach at Commerce High School and Gainesville High School in Georgia. He served as an Admissions Counselor at Belmont College in Nashville from 1969-70, and Director of Admissions at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia from 1970-71.
For the first six months of his ministry here at Mableton First, the attendance grew from 206 to 348 in Sunday School, and, by May of 1979, 42 people had joined the First family by baptism and 31 by letter.
Mrs. Skelton is the former Alice Victoria (Vicky) Wood. They had four children: Robert, Jr., Bret, Wendy, and Matthew. They resided at 6031 Magnolia Drive, Austell, Georgia.
In October, 1978, the Sunday School average attendance was 351, with the average weekly offering being $3,477.72. The total monthly receipts were $23,016.40.
The church approved the sale of the pastorium on Nickajack Road in December, 1978.
In January, 1979, a Long Range Planning Committee was elected to survey and project the present and anticipated future needs of the church as it reached its goal of ministering to the needs of the church and community.
February 21, 1979, saw the church approving the sponsorship of a Literacy Workshop. Out of this workshop emerged an International Sunday School Class. Also, several classes of International English School were begun on Wednesday mornings, headed by Vicky Skelton.
On March 21, 1979, a new Sunday School class began for couples. Rod and Brenda Nave were the teachers.
Rev. Steve Coyle was called as Associate Pastor/Education and Youth on March 25, 1979.
On May 6, 1979, the church approved the adoption of the DAD Plan (Dime a Day or Debt Acceleration Depletion). This was a plan whereby the church indebtedness would be paid off in October, 1980 or January, 1981, if 300 people participated.
The Center Street property was paid in full with funds from the DAD campaign in August, 1979.
The ministry to the Veteran's Hospital began in the late 1960's when Mrs. Jean Drawdy was doing volunteer work there with Mrs. Lorene Moldavan, a Gold Star mother. Mrs. Drawdy, being WMU President, evoked it into a mission project, gradually involving the choir, or individuals, to sing. It became a monthly ministry with a group baking cakes, and another delivering and serving the cakes while presenting an evangelistic program. Many accepted Christ as their Savior through this ministry.
The average Sunday School attendance for October, 1979, was 365, and the total receipts were $26,295.26.
The Media Library started a media newsletter in January of 1980 to provide information for church leaders and members regarding resources and aids available to them. The Media Library began taping the worship service when Rev. Bob Skelton became pastor.
Rev. Skelton, Rev. Coyle, and Mrs. Russell began an in-depth study of personal soul-winning called Evangelism Explosion in the summer of 1980. The purpose of this study was to teach a unique way of witnessing and soul-winning to the church members.
In July of 1980, the church youth went on mission tour to Vermont, where they conducted Backyard Bible Classes, Vacation Bible Schools, made surveys, and witnessed. This tour was led by Rev. Coyle.
When the public school system started kindergarten in September of 1980, it caused the enrollment of our own kindergarten to decline. That year we had a 3-year class, a 4-year class,and a 5-year class with a total enrollment of 86.
During this fall, the church hired Becky Walker Ridgway as a Kindergarten teacher. Thus began the long and wonderful relationship with Becky in our Kindergarten and Children's Ministries.
The receipts for September, 1980, were $20,927.87, and the weekly Sunday School attendance average was 344.
January, 25, 1981 was the day we burned the note on all indebtedness on our church building. 491 members attended this historic day. Burning the note on the facilities was certainly a victory for our Lord and our Church.
The church approved for the summer of 1981 a "Youth on Mission" tour to Sandusky, Michigan to conduct surveys, have Backyard Bible Clubs, Vacation Bible School, witness at the fair, etc.
Storm windows were installed on all windows in January of 1981 at a cost of $7,089. Trim and gutter repairs were made, painting was done and fencing was repaired to improve the older building's appearance.
On April 29, 1981, the church purchased new fire extinguishers and recharged the others. A new central air conditioning system was purchased for the Fellowship Hall and Educational Building above the sanctuary. The Long Range Planning Committee recommended removal of the Scout Hut to make room for future expansion. This was done. Repair to doors and downspouts on the Educational Building were also done.
Six more puppets were purchased for the growing Puppet Ministry in July of 1981.
Two more couples' classes were organized in Sunday School in July of 1981- a Young Married (Co-Ed) Couples Class led by Mrs. and Mrs. James Cass and the Fellowship Couples Median Class (Co-Ed) led by Mr. and Mrs. Chan Garrett.
Rev. Steve Coyle resigned as Associate Pastor to accept the pastorate of Port Sulphur Baptist Church in Port Sulphur, Louisiana, effective August 16, 1981.
The church rented a booth at the North Georgia State Fair in August to conduct a ministry similar to the one the youth conducted in Michigan, with singing, witnessing, puppet programs, etc. It was a great success.
The average Sunday School attendance for October, 1981, was 338 and the total receipts were $21,605.86.
On January 20, 1982, it was decided that no church offerings would be taken during special services (choir programs, kindergarten programs, etc.), unless those special services were a part of a regular Sunday or Wednesday service.
Receipts for January, 1982 were $32,719.11.
The average Sunday School attendance was 329, while the Youth Choir averaged 40 and the Adult Choir averaged 32. The Youth Choir attendance was particularly strong because the youth were preparing for the Winter Choir Tour to Banner Elk, NC.
Receipts for February, 1982 were $23,935.85.
Also in February, the church continued to make repairs, paint, and improve the buildings (carpeted the stairs up to the choir room, carpeted the nursery floors, painted the sanctuary, etc.).
On February 11, the Women's Missionary Union lead in a worship service at the Fulton County Jail (Women's Division). One person prayed to receive Christ, and there were several rededications.
On February 14, the WMU lead in worship at the VA Hospital. Two prayed to receive Christ there.
On February 15, the WMU prepared and served lunch at the Georgia State University Baptist Student Union. The Acteens baked the cakes for the desserts.
Youth Week was held March 15-21. The young people 'replaced' members of the Church Staff for Sunday services, and also taught all of the Sunday School classes and all of the Church Training classes that day.
In March, the average Sunday School attendance was 353.
On June 13, the Summer Mission Reading Club was begun by the Media Library. All ages were invited to participate. This summer reading club was the most successful ever, in numbers of members participating.
July 17-24, 1982, was a big week in the life of our church as we participated in the Baptist Ministries to the World's Fair program. Tennessee: Youth on Mission saw 25 of our young people head to Knoxville to spread the gospel among the attendees of the World's Fair.
Steve Cooper was hired as the Minister of Education and Youth on September 19, 1982.
Rev. Bob Skelton resigned as Pastor to serve as Minister of Evangelism at Roswell Street Baptist Church, effective November 19, 1982. As a result, J. Howell Perry was called to serve as Interim Pastor.
On March 6, 1983, the church voted to call Dr. James Benny Braddy as Pastor. The percentage of approval, however, was not as high as Dr. Braddy preferred, so he declined the call.
Mrs. Evelyn Holton resigned as Church Pianist in April due to her husband, James', cancer diagnosis and declining health. Jessica Payne Beasley, daughter of long-time church organist Sara Payne, was hired as Evelyn's replacement in May.
We added a 2-year kindergarten class to our church school on October 3, 1983. Elaine Ridgway was the teacher. There were 12 students who attended classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am to 12 noon.
The Media Center Director position became a paid one beginning on October 1, 1983. The salary was $36 per week (9 hours at $4 per hour).
The church membership voted to call David B. York as pastor on October 9, 1983. Rev. York began this, his second pastorate at our church, on November 21, 1983.
Also in October, our media library was named as a Distinguished Church Media Library. To earn this distinction, our library had to accomplish 74 or more of the requirements listed in the Church Library Achievement Guide.
The average monthly receipts for 1983 were $27,986.20. The average monthly Sunday School attendance for this year was 290.
The church voted to purchase a new 15-passenger van, a Ford E350, at a drive-out cost of $14,157.39 at the conference on April 18, 1984.
Also in April, a Building Committee was established to study the church's facility needs going forward. This committee looked at the needs of the current membership, plus our responsibility to reach the lost in our community.
Media Library circulation numbers remained strong, with 344 items being checked out in May. This included 180 books and 164 audiovisuals.
In July, an anonymous donor blessed the church with $2000 to purchase a copy machine for the office.
On August 12, 1984, First Baptist of Mableton ordained William A. (Bill) Landers to be Associate Pastor and Minister of Youth at Trinity Baptist Church in Durham, NC.
The church adopted new, detailed policies regarding hosting weddings at our church on October 17, 1984.
In December, we purchased 5 tape players for the Homebound Ministry. Sunday morning services were recorded and copied, and the tapes were distributed by the Deacons to our homebound members each week.
Average weekly receipts for 1984 were $34,285.04. Average Sunday School attendance for 1984 was 292.
On June 2, 1985, upon recommendation from the Building Committee, Mableton First contracted with Jim Hall & Associates as architects for a new church building, at a cost of $78,750.00. Preliminary architectural plans were approved on July 14, 1985.
The church gave approval on December 18 to spend $575 for Christmas gifts for 3 families in our community. These 3 families had 13 children, total.
Steve Cooper, Minister of Education and Youth, resigned, effective December 31, 1985.
Average monthly receipts for 1985 were $45,843.05. Average monthly Sunday School attendance for 1985 was 303.
In early 1986, the Building Committee altered its building plans, dividing the project into four phases: I - complete the new sanctuary; 2 - renovate the current sanctuary; 3 - renovate the current fellowship hall; 4 - create new office space and classrooms.
On March 19, 1986, the church entered the world of new technology and purchased its first computer for the church office.
On May 4, 1986, Jerry Bailey was called to be the Minister of Education and Youth, effective May 26.
The church approved the purchase of a 3-octave set of handbells, with accessories, on May 21.
The body also approved the recommendation of Eddie Barton and Richard Peal to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, which met at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.
The Properties Committee recommended that the old tennis courts be used for parking space on September 17, 1986.
The church approved the expenditure of $3081 to fence the parking lots on November 19, 1986.
The average monthly receipts for 1986 were $69,202.80. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 300.
1987 began with the expenditure of $32,300 for a new roof on the current Fellowship Hall and the current Sanctuary. The church also bought 62 new choir robes in May at a cost of $4,650.
In July, the church recommended Jim and Pat Hughes for classes at the New Orleans Baptist Theological extension in Marietta.
Acclimating to societal trends, the church voted to allow the church staff to contribute to the Expanded Annuity Program. This would allow them to contribute designated monies each paycheck into a personal retirement plan.
Throughout the past year, our membership had celebrated its Centennial with a carefully planned series of church events each month under the umbrella title of "Celepraise 100". Then, on September 13, 1987, the celebration culminated as Mableton First Baptist Church celebrated its 100th birthday with the dedication of its new, permanent sanctuary. The sanctuary boasted a beautiful steeple with a cross, plus a large stained glass window of Christ shepherding his sheep.
Average monthly receipts for 1987 were $50,667.12. Average monthly Sunday School attendance was 284.
In April of 1988, Becky Ridgway was approved as Summer Day Camp Director. Summer Day Camp, at this point, consisted of a one week camp during the summer.
The vote to proceed with Phases 2 and 3 of the Building Plan was taken at church conference on April 20, 1988. Then in August, approval was given to proceed with the final parts of these phases, including "putting the floor in the old sanctuary (between levels) to provide a two-story educational facility, and the finishing of the remodeling of the present kindergarten and educational space."
The floor cost $200,000. The completion of the educational space, the fellowship hall, and the new kitchen cost $150,000.
On November 16, 1988, the church voted to sponsor a Spanish mission in Mableton, along with the Concord Association, the Home Mission Board, and the State Mission Board.
Average monthly receipts for 1988 were $53,188.73. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 294.
A Mother's Day Out program was established at the February 15, 1989, church conference. The teachers were Juewania Brown, Mary Payne, Karla Cornelio, and Betty Jean Brown. The Director of the program was Deborah McWaters. The program began on March 7, 1989. Childcare was provided one day a week, from 10a to 2pm, for children ages 8 weeks to 5 years.
The new Spanish mission held its first in-home Bible Study in April of 1989. Seven people attended. The Spanish community appeared very hungry for the Word of God. On May 31, 1989, the church called Rev. Ricardo A. Fachisthers to be the MFBC Spanish Mission pastor, starting immediately.
Our sanctuary for many years has been used for graduation Baccalaureate services by both Pebblebrook High School and South Cobb High School. This has been yet another way we have been able to serve and reach out to our community.
On August 16, 1989, the church granted permission for Rev. York to attend the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary extension at Roswell Street Baptist Church for a Greek language class to begin in the fall.
The average monthly receipts for 1989 were $48,355.52. The average Sunday School attendance for the year was 303.
In March of 1990, the church participated in a Mission Trip to Peru.
Always memorable in the fall of each year was the Fall Festival (later called "Light the Night") that we sponsored as a Christian alternative to Halloween for our community. Hundreds of children have attended over the years, and have enjoyed food, candy, games, and hearing about the love of Christ!
During 1989, Mrs. Nettie Hembree sacrificially requested to be taken off the church payroll as Media Center Director because of the financial condition of the church. She continued on with her regular duties as an unpaid worker.
Also in this year, the church recommended Charles Marshall to attend the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary extension in Marietta.
Average monthly receipts for 1990 were $52,330.62. The average monthly Sunday School attendance for this year was 327.
On March 10, 1991, Jerry Bailey resigned as Minister of Education and Youth to assume the position of Minister of Education and Discipleship at Gorham Baptist Church in Jackson, Michigan, effective April 8, 1991.
On May 5, 1991, Arthur Durand resigned as Minister of Music after 33 years of service, effective July 28, 1991.
At the conference on May 15, 1991, the church voted to sponsor a new mission at Castlewood Mobile Home Park to be named Castlewood Chapel. Eddie Barton lead all services there on a volunteer basis. On July 17, it was announced that there had been 5 professions of faith at Castlewood the previous Sunday. God was doing a mighty work at this mission.
Jeff Nave and Wendy Peal were hired as Summer Youth Directors on June 19, 1991. Jeff was paid slightly more than Wendy because he would be using his automobile in service. A permanent, part time Youth Director would be hired at a later date.
On August 18, 1991, the Personnel Committee recommended that we call Keith McBroom as Associate Pastor/Minister of Music and Education.
In late 1991, Sara Payne resigned as Church Organist and was replaced by former Church Pianist, Evelyn Holton. On January 12, 1992, the church hosted a lovely reception honoring Mrs. Payne for her many years of loyal service to our church.
The average monthly receipts for 1991 were $52,501.37. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 344.
On February 19, 1992, the church voted to approve the purchase of the Hayes property at the corner of Church and Avery Streets for $38,500 and a $4000 contribution credit.
Charlie Marshall was licensed by the church to preach on March 18.
In April of 1992, Mableton First Baptist held its first of many impressive Easter pageants under the direction of Minister of Music, Keith McBroom.
On April 26, 1992, Huey Bratton was hired as part time Youth Minister, effective May 10.
Jeff Nave was recommended to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as a seminary student candidate by the church on June 7, 1992.
On June 17, 1992, the Personnel Committee made the decision to withhold 25% from personnel staff salaries (excluding the custodian) for the three summer months, if necessary. Any amount withheld would be paid the following months.
Castlewood Chapel mission was fully constituted as a church on August 2, 1992.
The church held a revival on September 20-23.
Ten couples attended Marriage Enrichment at Ridgecrest on October 23-25, 1992.
We began a Ministerial Intern program on October 21, 1992. The first such intern was David Phillips, who interned for six months with us.
The membership voted to change the church employee health insurance coverage from 100% paid by the church to 75% church/25% employee, beginning January 1, 1993.
The church ended 1992 with all bills paid and "in the black".
Average monthly Sunday School attendance for 1992 was 292. Average monthly receipts totaled $43,426.14 (Feb-Dec.; no figures available for January.)
Our church continued its Truck Stop Ministry, holding morning and evening services at the truck stop every third Sunday. We also continued our ministry to the Atlanta Union Mission on the second Thursday of every month. Volunteers were constantly being sought to help with these two ministries.
On February 17, 1993, the Baptist Women set up Room 124 of the church as a prayer room, emphasizing the responsibility and privilege we have of coming to God in prayer.
Huey Bratton resigned as part time Youth Minister on June 20, 1993, to accept the position of full time Youth Minister at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Mableton. Craig Scroggins was hired as interim Youth Minister for the summer.
A 486 computer was purchased for the church office in October, 1993.
On November 7, 1993, Elias Al-Awabdy was licensed to the gospel ministry by our church.
The church recommended Richard Peal as a student to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on December 15, 1993.
Average monthly receipts for 1993 totaled $47,093.61. Average monthly Sunday School attendance was 295.
On January 19, 1994, the church voted to cancel the Sunday and Wednesday services on October 26 and October 30 to allow members to attend the Billy Graham Crusade services in Atlanta.
On April 20, 1994, the church voted to extend our Summer Day Camp for community children from a one-week event every summer to a full-time, summer-long camp. The dates for camp in 1994 would be June 6 to August 19.
A Bus Purchase Feasibility Committee was established on May 18, 1994, to study all things bus-related. The committee eventually concluded that we did need a new bus or van (holding at least 15 passengers) due to the age and condition of our present bus and van. This committee made a recommendation to the Finance Committee, who would handle the financing of the purchase. The church, in the interim, approved a plan to start a campaign for gifts over and above the normal tithe for this purpose.
On May 18, 1994, the church approved Augustin Pacheco as Pastor of the Spanish Mission being held in our church. This mission met on Sunday mornings in another part of the building at the same time as our worship service.
Our Summer Day Camp, as of June 15, had 126 enrolled, with an average daily attendance of 69 to 72. Camp provided a fun-filled, Christ-centered alternative for children. The camp director for 1994, 1995, and 1996 was Wendy Peal Bartlett.
On September 21, 1994, the name of our Kindergarten Ministry was changed to the Preschool and Children's Ministry due to the variety of services it provided: Kindergarten, Summer Day Camp, After-School Program, Mother's Morning Out, etc.
Charlie Marshall was ordained to the ministry at our church on November 13, 1994.
Average monthly receipts for 1994 were $53336.42. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 267.
Keith McBroom resigned effective January 29, 1995, to become the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Pleasant Grove, Alabama. The church then paid member Rhonda Sumners Brady weekly to lead the music until she was hired officially as part time Church Music Director on May 7, 1995.
On January 18, 1995, Charles Marshall assumed the position of Associate Pastor (unpaid).
The Church Media Library celebrated its 25th Anniversary on May 7, 1985. This date was also the last day of service for its Director, Mrs. Nettie Hembree, who had served as Director for all 25 years. Shirley Griswell replaced Mrs. Hembree as Director, but Mrs. Hembree remained on staff, working on the church history and assisting Mrs. Griswell as needed.
A Men's Breakfast was held on the first Saturday of each month for fellowship.
On June 10, 1995, the church voted to officially name its Music Department as the "Arthur W. Durand Music Department" and its Media Library the "Nettie R. Hembree Media Center" to honor these fine servants of the Lord.
Also in 1995, a Clown Ministry was begun to aid in sharing the gospel with the community.
Jeff Nave was ordained into the ministry by our church on the second Sunday in July.
On September 20, 1995, Patricia Warnock was hired as the Church Pianist, replacing Jessica Beasley.
The average monthly receipts for 1995 were $52,963.10. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 250.
Pastor David B. York announced his retirement on February 18, 1996, effective September 8, 1996.
Also in February, Evelyn Holton-Price retired as Church Organist, effective March 3, 1996.
A church Health Fair for the community was held on April 27, 1996. This event has been held for many years since. It is a tremendous outreach and service event.
As of June 19, 1996, the church's Discipleship Training Program (formerly Training Union) consisted of a Youth class and one Adult class. The church staff decided to conduct a poll of the members to determine the future of this program. A questionnaire was composed and it was distributed to 290 people during worship. Seventeen questionnaires were returned. Three voted to continue the Discipleship Training Program as it was, 7 voted to discontinue the program, and 7 voted to reorganize the program (but only 4 of those were willing to work toward that end). The matter was tabled until the new pastor arrived, or until October 1, 1996, whichever came first.
David B. York was named Pastor Emeritus of Mableton First on August 21, 1996.
Rev. Doug Couch was approved as Interim Pastor on October 6. Dr. Charles Yates was approved to lead Bible Study on Wednesday nights.
Average monthly receipts for 1996 were $52,262.66. Average monthly Sunday School attendance was 245.
On February 16, 1997, Rev. Timothy W. Childers delivered a trial sermon for consideration as pastor. The church voted to call him. His first Sunday was March 23, 1997.
The Church Council, consisting of staff and leaders of different church organizations, began meeting once per month for church planning and program coordination. During this time, the church resumed a structured visitation program, headed by Charlie Marshall.
On February 19, 1997, the church voted to change Mrs. Russell's title to Church Activities Director only, and approved Becky Ridgway as Kindergarten Director/Summer Day Camp Director.
On May 21, 1997, the church voted to have conference quarterly, rather than monthly, going forward.
Twenty-nine youth attended SuperWow at Jekyll Island in the summer of 1997. These youth also spent their summer holding Backyard Bible Clubs at Mableton Manor apartment complex and at Castlewood Chapel. "Experiencing God" was completed by 7 youth.
During this summer, the church did not offer a Summer Day Camp. Time was needed to re-think and re-vamp the program.
The Women's Missionary Union added a Day Group to its traditional Night Group in 1997.
Mableton First Baptist had previously begun a campaign called Project Nehemiah to reduce its debt. The loan principal had been reduced by more than $93,000 in 1996.
On December 15, 1997, Danny Balint resigned as Associate Pastor/Minister of Students to become a full time student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, beginning on January 25, 1999.
The average monthly receipts for 1997 were $44,162.03. The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 171.
In 1998, the Summer Day Camp program was re-introduced, bigger and better than ever. The camp continued its tradition of offering a safe summer full of activities and much fun, while sharing the love of Christ to the community children.
In June of 1998, Rhonda Sumners Brady resigned as Music Director. David Wilson lead the music on a week to week basis. Evelyn Holton-Price and Wanda Carey were playing the instruments on a week-to-week basis. Sara Payne filled in as needed.
A revised fund raising policy was proposed in early 1998. The old policy read:
"There shall be no projects or forms of entertainment promoted for the purpose of raising funds for the support of the church or any Auxillary or Department of the church."
The proposed new policy read:
"Fund raising shall be allowed upon approval of a written proposal outlining the purpose for ministry presented to the Pastor, Minister of Youth, Chairman of the Deacons, and the Chairman of the Finance Committee."
The revision of the policy was defeated on April 1, 1998.
On April 5, 1998, the Personnel Committee recommended Jim Caldwell for the position of Associate Pastor of Education and Administration, to be effective May 10. The church approved the recommendation and Rev. Caldwell accepted. As a result of this hire, it became necessary to change Danny Balint's title to Associate Pastor for Students rather than Minister of Youth and Education. The Personnel Committee also moved to create the position of Church Hostess, and this was approved.
The number of members formally committed to the new Prayer Warrior program was 127. "Prayer Warriors" were people who were committed to fervent prayer daily for the church and its members.
The number of members formally committed to the new Encourager program was 47. "Encouragers" were mentors for new Christians.
The Media Library continued to serve its people, as 195 items were circulated during the 3rd quarter of the church year.
On October 21, 1998, the church asked Bud Durand to serve as Music Director on an interim basis.
The average quarterly Sunday School attendance for 1998 was 244. The average monthly receipts were $58,515.59 (January-September only; October-December figures not available).
Summer Day Camp enrollment in 1999 was 143.
During the first part of 1999, the Pastor and the Board of Deacons were considering a partnership with an Assisted Living facility in the area, to be voted on in early 2000 by the church body.
In January, the Deacons served The Lord's Supper to all the shut-in members of the church.
On February 14, 1999, the Personnel Committee recommended that we call Mike Anderson as Associate Pastor for Music and Worship. As Mike joined our family, the Music Program was healthy and active. The Celebration Choir (Sanctuary Choir) averaged 34 each week, The Lighthouse (Youth Choir) averaged 19, the Sonlight Singers (Children's Choir), averaged 24, the Preschool Choir averaged 12, and the Joyful Aires (Senior Adult Choir) averaged 10.
On February 21, 1999, the Personnel Committee recommended that we call Clay Willis as Associate Pastor for Students (all ages - children, youth, and college). Clay immediately jumped in, evaluating, and then implementing, exciting opportunities for worship and fellowship for this population of our church. At the end of his first month of service, the Wednesday night youth attendance averaged 21.
On April 25, 1999, the church took up a special offering to cover the costs of paving the upper parking lot. $17,000 was needed to accomplish this.
On May 26, 1999, the church purchased a Roland XP-80 Synthesizer as a portable instrument to be used in worship settings and as part of a future church orchestra. The cost was not to exceed $4,000.
On Jun 20, 1999, Richard Harden resigned his position assisting the church with security. Melvin Bostic was hired as his replacement. Melvin began unlocking and locking the doors, effective June 21, 1999.
As time went on, the infusion of Mike Anderson's enthusiasm and new ideas made the music program thrive. A program called the "Summer Singers" was introduced, inviting members to join the Celebration Choir with a commitment for the summer months only. A musical would be presented at the end of the summer. As a result, the Celebration Choir enrollment increased by 63%, from 39 to 64 members.
Also, Praise Teams were added to worship. These teams of 3-5 singers per team lead the congregation in music, along with Mike. It was expected that this concept would help the congregation learn new songs easier and more quickly than before.
In September of 1999, the Children's Ministry began having KIDZONE - an opportunity to encourage growth in Sunday School, and an opportunity for children to bring friends to hear the gospel - one Sunday per month during Sunday School time. Songs, skits and a children's message in a large group were the activities during this dynamic time together.
In October of 1999, the Finance Committee moved that we partner with INJOY Stewardship Services for a 3-year stewardship and ministry emphasis. The goal was to retire the building and property indebtedness and to fund other ministry projects totaling 1.2 million dollars. The fee to the church for this service would be $4,100. The motion was carried.
During the 3rd quarter of the church year, we had to repair the white bus at a cost of $3,200.
In December, the church sponsored 54 children for Operation Christmas Child. Shoe boxes filled with small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, etc. were sent to needy children across the world through the Samaritan's Purse organization. This practice continued for many years at our church.
On December 2, 1999, the middle and high school students began meeting for their own separate worship service on Sunday nights. The attendance averaged 20 for the initial start-up of this service. Forming a youth praise band for this service was in the plan for the future.
The monthly average receipts for 1999 were $48,933.24 The average monthly Sunday School attendance was 249.
The church voted on and approved, in principle, the building of an assisted living facility and authorized the staff and trustees to further investigate the details of the agreement, enlisting the help of legal and health-care professionals, as needed. The church wanted to be assured that this ministry did not put the finances or other ministries of First Baptist Mableton in jeopardy.
The Youth Ministry experienced growth in numbers at the beginning of 2000. Many new activities, including Band Nights one Wednesday a month, Dare 2 Share, Student Life Camp, the World Changers Mission Trip and Disciple Now, contributed to this growth. The name of Wednesday night service was changed to GROW: Get Right On Wednesday. The name of the Sunday night service changed, as well, to SOAR: Sold Out and Radical. At this point in the youth ministry, two-thirds of our youth came from broken homes. This was just one more reason to share Jesus in our community!
In April, 2000, Gail Morris accepted the position of Keyboardist.
The Music Ministry presented Easter 2000: The Pageant with over 2000 people attending. Celebration Choir members sang, and 64 cast members participated in the drama.
The Kindergarten and MMO programs continued to thrive. There were 5 kindergarten classes (3 year, 2 day; 3 year, 3 day; 3 year, 5 day; 4 year; 5 year) serving 88 children total, and the MMO program served 43 children.
A new sound system for the sanctuary was purchased, and nursery, choir room and air conditioning renovations were done in the summer. The church held a 24-hour prayer vigil on November 3 and 4. RA Day was observed on November 12, with the boys taking the offering and saying the pledges for Sunday morning worship. Thanksgiving Around the Table was held on November 19. Giving was strong, and long-term debt was being reduced on a monthly basis, totaling $90,000 by year end.
Our Spanish mission was moved to Castlewood Chapel, and all related funds were transferred to the West Metro Association.
The Personnel Committee recommended, and the church approved, that a $300 per month allocation would be made to the Healthcare Spending Account of each ministerial staff member, effective October 1, 2000. The Personnel Committee also recommended that a new staff position be established - Associate Pastor for Education and Young Families.
Mableton Elementary School encouraged the church to be involved at the school by reading and mentoring, so members signed up to do so. Members of the church also helped to keep the school grounds. Rev. Childers was involved with the Citizens Advisory Council at the school.
Average monthly receipts for 2000 were $53,702.61. Average Sunday School attendance per month was 265.
On March 11, 2001, the church voted to recommend Kirby Shaffer to attend the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
A handyman ministry was begun to assist our senior adults.
Matt McInturff was hired as Student Ministry Intern for 9 weeks in the summer.
On July 15, 2001, the Personnel Committee recommended that the church call Craig Steedley to fill the position of Associate Pastor of Education and Young Families. This was approved by the congregation, and Craig accepted.
Our Youth Department began using the gymnasium at Mableton Elementary for Wednesday night recreation to accomodate the growth.
A praise band was added to the Sunday morning worship services. This band included the piano, keyboard, drums, and several guitars. As a result, the use of the pipe organ was becoming less and less frequent. Eventually, it would be removed from the sanctuary.
On September 4, 2001, the Lighthouse Community Ministries opened to minister to the Mableton community. Generous donations were received to stock the facility with food and clothing items. Many volunteered their time to make this a great success. Twenty-four students painted the Ministry House, inside and out, to prepare for its opening. The Ministry House was open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm to assist the community as needed. The priority of this ministry was to share Christ, while meeting physical needs.
The XTREME Youth Ensemble (youth choir) attended SonPower in Orlando, Florida, on July 9-15. Twenty of our youth attended. At the end of the week, the gathering of students resulted in the production of a praise and worship CD of all the songs rehearsed during the week.
Pastor Childers' vision for the church included Equip, Evangelize, Encourage and Exalt.
As Sunday Night Worship attendance had declined significantly over the years, new options were explored. First we began "Church 242" on Sunday evenings. It included dinner and small groups for Bible study. This was quite successful for a while. Later the church instituted a once-a -month praise and worship service for Sunday evenings in place of small group study.
The church radio station began operation with encouraging messages at 98.9 AM. Also, the church website (fbclight.org) was revamped and publicized to make more people aware that it existed. Many prayer requests were received via the website from non-members.
The year 2001 was the first year that the church budget was over one million dollars, and giving provided 92.5% of that budget by year's end. Sunday School attendance averaged well over 300 each month, and we were out of space in critical areas of the facility. The staff considered many solutions to this problem, including moving the Media Library to a smaller space.
The Celebration Choir received an invitation from Lari Goss and Phil Barfoot to record a CD featuring their music, called "The Anchor Holds". The recording took place on May 16 and 17, 2002, and the choir premiered the music on June 23. The Celebration Choir enrollment reached 100 during the month of April.
The youth averaged 70 students per week on Wednesday nights in 2002. There were also 33 on average for the Sunday night youth-led services.
The "A Time for Vision" campaign for church improvements and to reduce church indebtedness paid $94,069 for roofing repairs. Future plans were to renovate the restrooms on the sanctuary level. Church indebtedness had been cut in half since the arrival of Rev. Childers five years prior.
Harold Dunn requested that the Masons be allowed to meet at our church, but the Deacons voted to not allow such meetings.
The Personnel Committee recommended Russ Danser to be Associate Pastor for Missions, beginning July 1, 2002. The church approved.
The Spanish Mission Fund from Hillcrest Baptist Church in Mableton, which had earlier been dissolved, was given to our church to be used for "ministry and missions".
The Media Library was disassembled and that part of the building was used to house a new Children's Department area called Church Street Kids. All children's books were moved to a newly organized space on the Preschool Hall, and some adult books were moved to shelves in the hallway outside the church offices by the stairwell. An "official" library was disbanded, with no director, staff, or check-out system. All books were now borrowed on a self-serve, honor system basis.
Two new music ensembles were begun: one for ladies directed by Gail Morris, and a mixed ensemble directed by Dan Antonio.
Craig Steedley resigned as Associate Pastor of Education and Young Families.
In November, a group from our church, led by Wayne Newland, traveled to Haiti to help with a Christmas in November celebration at a recently constructed orphanage.
On December 12-14, 2002, we presented the "From Christmas to the Cross" live drama, with an outdoor set designed to represent the life and times of Jesus. The city included an inn, a bread shop, a basket shop, a candle shop, a fabric shop, and many more. From the time visitors entered the gates of Bethlehem, they were taken on a tour of the major events in the life of Jesus. Visitors in groups of up to 20 paid their "tax" and were guided by a host, a resident of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth, who told a personal story. Each host had lost his own son to the edicts of Herod the King. But as the hosts shared the story of the life of Jesus - his birth, his visits from the shepherds and the Magi, his learning carpentry as a boy, his miracles, his death and his resurrection - the hosts expressed the joy of discovering that God has send His own son to rescue them from sin and provide eternal life! At least 875 people heard the saving story of Jesus over the course of three nights to close out the year.
Budgeted receipts totaled $763,612.29 for the year 2002. This is an average of $63,634.36 per month. Sunday School attendance averaged 321 per month.
On April 18-20, 2003, "The Journey" easter pageant was presented to approximately 3000 people at the Mable House Amphitheatre under the direction of Mike Anderson and Bud Durand.
On May 17-24, 2003, Waymon Story, Clay Willis, Neal Hunter, Joseph York and Russ Danser traveled to Norwich, NY to assist a local church in renovations to a mission house.
In June, Michael York was a missions intern with Vertical Ministries in McAllen, Texas. He reached out to their Hispanic community by assisting with Backyard Bible Clubs and basketball camps.
On July 26 through July 3, a team of 8 volunteers traveled to Pattaya, Thailand to assist IMB missionaries with Operation Southern Cross, an effort to reach Chinese tourists traveling to Thailand. The team also worked in Pattaya's slums, as well as in an area children's home.
On September 29 through October 9, Darren Anderson, Russ Danser, Buzz Rowland and Joseph York traveled to the West African nation of Mali to work with IMB missionaries serving with a nomadic tribe along the Niger River. The team had the opportunity to prayer walk in the tribal villages and fish with local fishermen.
Wednesday night activities for the youth returned to the church from Mableton Elementary, primarily meeting in the Fellowship Hall. Attendance continued to be strong, averaging 60.
The Lighthouse Community Ministry House consistently assisted an amazing number of people each week. During the last quarter of 2003, assistance was provided to over 600 people, including 349 children and 5 senior citizens. It provided over 2.4 tons of food to people in need during the quarter. Seventeen people prayed to receive Christ.
Plans to open a Crisis Women's Shelter through partnership with Shaw Temple AME Zion Church in Smyrna did not come to fruition; however, plans were still being made to open a Women's Crisis Pregnancy House, with Russ Danser and Janet Vineyard leading the way.
Sunday School attendance averaged 294 per month in 2003.
In January, 2004, our Hispanic ministry started its first full semester of English as a Second Language classes. Attendance averaged 30 on Monday and Thursday evenings.
On January 19-29, 2004, a team of volunteers traveled to Pattaya, Thailand to again assist IMB missionaries with Operation Southern Cross. The team included Bill Boyd, Kimberlee Boyd, Russ Danser, Lindsey Kirkland, Michael Scarbro, and Kirby Shaffer. They distributed over 3000 Bibles and copies of the "Jesus" film in Mandarin Chinese to Chinese tourists.
March 21, 2004, a motion was brought to the church that we purchase the property (West house) at 5376 Church Street for $115,000. We had $100,000 in the Building on God's Grace Fund, and would take a loan for $15,000, to be paid off as more BOGG funds came in. This house would be used as the new Lighthouse Community Ministries house, beginning in late May. It would provide added counseling space and storage for ministry expansion. The motion carried with no opposition.
On July 18-31, a team of volunteers traveled to East Asia to assist local missionaries in ministering. Many people heard the gospel for the first time.
Also in July, Clay Willis and Kirby Shaffer led a group of 12 students to McAllen, Texas to work with Vertical Ministries in the colonias of southern Texas. Through a combination of construction projects, Backyard Bible Clubs, and sports camps, the team ministered to the growing Hispanic population of the area.
Joseph York was called as part time Minister of Missions on August 8, 2004. As a result, Russ Danser's responsibilities changed, and his title was changed from Associate Pastor of Missions to Associate Pastor for Children and Young Families.
Our Handyman Ministry traveled to St. George Island, Florida on August 15-20 to assist the local Baptist church in the construction of their retreat center.
Clay Willis resigned as Associate Pastor for Students on August 31, 2004, to become a Church Planter in the Cartersville, Georgia area.
On September 12, 2004, the Personnel Committee recommended that we call Brad O'Kelley as part time Minister of Students. Brad would be attending seminary while working for us. The motion carried.
On September 25, the LCM began a new ministry targeting the homeless within our community. In partnership with the City of Refuge, volunteers prepared and distributed sack lunches weekly to homeless men and women off Veterans Memorial Highway (the old Bankhead Highway) and Fulton Industrial Boulevard.
Royal Ambassadors, Girls in Action, and Mission Friends continued to see increases in the numbers of children coming each Wednesday night.
On December 3, the church hosted its annual Parents' Night Out. This gift to the families of our church and the community gave an evening of free child care so that parents could enjoy a night out or go Christmas shopping without children. This year, 31 adult volunteers provided care for 94 children.
On December 11, the Men's Ministry hosted its third annual "From Christmas to the Cross" Road Race. Over 40 people ran in the 5K race that benefitted Mableton Elementary School. The participants were treated to a paster dinner from Pasta Bella following the race, as well as a tour of the From Christmas to the Cross presentation.
Tithes and offerings at year end ($678,250.77) were not meeting budget requirements ($969,868.19). The average Sunday School monthly attendance for 2004 was 264.
On February 2-5, 2005, a team from FBCM traveled to Pattaya, Thailand to assist with Operation Southern Cross. They were able to reach thousands with the Good News of Christ.
On April 24, 2005, the Personnel Committee recommended that Javier Lopez be called as the volunteer pastor of our Spanish Mission. There were no objections.
Jim Caldwell resigned as Associate Pastor for Education, Administration and Community Ministries on May 29, 2005, effective June 12. He left Mableton to be the lead pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in River Ridge, LA (New Orleans).
The Lighthouse Women's Center opened during the second quarter of 2005, providing shelter and counseling for pregnant women.
FBC Mableton held its annual Vacation Bible School in a different manner this year. An outside area of the church was decorated to recreate a Jerusalem Marketplace, and the children moved from spot to spot in the "town" for their lessons. Susan Caldwell and Gina Lineberry were the VBS Directors, and did a superb job with this massive undertaking. 70-80 children learned about the life and love of Jesus each night.
The Women's Ministry hosted its annual Back-to-School event in the fellowship hall. This gift to the community's less fortunate families included eye exams, dental exams, hair cuts and the distribution of donated school supplies and backpacks. Over 400 people came, with attendance growing each year.
On September 2-8, 2005, Russ Danser, Jenifer Brooks,Kirby Shaffer and Chris Ayers traveled to Chiquian, Peru to assist local missioinaries in ministering to the Quechua people group in the Andes. Over 530 Bibles were distributed to every household in the village. Through the assistance of local interpreters, 46 people prayed to receive Christ in three days.
The worship center grand piano was completely refurbished and restored to its original quality in November. This piano had originally been donated to the church by accomplished musician Chris Ayres, beloved son of long-time members Brawnson and Janie Ayres. A dedicatory concert after the refurbishment was given by church pianist, Gail Morris, on April 30, 2006.
The Celebration Choir recorded a Christmas CD, "The Glory of Christmas". Its release was on November 27 at a special service. Two hundred CDs were distributed to the community through Christmas Caroling on December 3.
The church voted to make major facility improvements totaling almost $600,000 at conference on December 18, 2005. These improvements included work on storm water drainage, worship center roofing, parking lots, playground upgrades, breezeway, landscaping, foyer (decor, carpet, kiosk, elevator), worship center (multi-media, lighting, carpet, paint, choir chairs), chapel (projection system), fellowship hall (flooring, sound system, chairs), student center (lights, stage, sound system, multi-media, foosball table, pool table, pinball machine, gaming systems, televisions, tables, chairs), and a 15 passenger van. These improvements were made by securing a line of credit and rolling it into the loan already existing at Georgia State Bank.
Giving averaged $56,707.14 per month for 2005. This was an average of $15,785.73 per month short of budget requirements for the year. Sunday School attendance averaged 231 per month.
New video equipment and ministry was begun for live video in worship at the beginning of 2006. Cameras were installed in the worship center, and the sermon was projected onto large screens.
On April 9-22, 2006, a team of volunteers from FBC Mableton traveled to East Asia to assist missionaries with English instruction and prayer walking.
Also in April the Kindergarten and Mother's Morning Out programs hosted its first annual Art Show.
On July 29, the Forever Friends Women's Ministry teamed with the WMU, the Lighthouse Community Ministries and other local ministries to host our annual community-wide Back-to-School event to benefit families in need. This yearŐs event was bigger than before, with over 800 people in attendance and over 500 children receiving backpacks, school supplies, medical exams, and hair cuts. Many church members donated time, money and talents to make this event possible.
On September 23, the congregation of Primera Iglesia Bautista de Mableton celebrated its 2nd anniversary as a church. This was the Hispanic congregation that met in our church facility. Eventually this congregation would move to its own facility, the former buildings of the previously dissolved Glen Forest Baptist Church in Mableton.
On November 12, 2006, the church voted to pursue the purchase of the Avery Street property located in the heart of the church campus and belonging to the estate of Pauline Pruitt. Also on this date, the church voted to pursue the purchase of the duplex located at the corner of Church Street and Center Street at 959 and 963 Center Street for the asking price of $150,000. The Avery Street purchase was finalized in April, 2008. The Center Street purchase was not completed.
On November 27 through December 5, 2006, a three-person team traveled to Rwanda in central Africa. The team ministered in two area orphanages, as well as taught English in a local missionary's home.
Giving totaled $686,173.45 for 2006 ($143,053.22 under budget requirements). Sunday School attendance averaged 236 monthly.
On January 15-29, 2007, Pastor Tim Childers, Russ Danser, Kirby Shaffer and Julie McInturff traveled to Bangalore in southern India. The team ministered with Pastor Sharad Nirmal in his many village cell groups in and around the town of Talavadi.
New lines were installed in the worship center to enable in-ear monitors for the praise teams and praise band.
The Personnel Committee and Board of Deacons requested, received and accepted the resignation of Russ Danser, Associate Pastor for Missions and Administration, on Saturday, June 23, 2007.
Tim Childers resigned as Pastor of First Baptist Mableton, effective August 26, 2007, to become pastor of First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, Alabama. Dr. Nelson Price served as interim.
Monthly receipts for 2007 averaged $55,620.20. Sunday School attendance averaged 219 per month.
On January 27, 2008, the church membership voted to close the Lighthouse Women's Center. The contents of the house were given to the Lighthouse Community Ministry and Seamless Garment Ministry.
Kindergarten Ministry Day was held on March 2, 2008. At this event, all Kindergarten and MMO families were invited to worship with our church family. The children prepared special music to sing for the congregation and for their families. Many kindergarten families have become church members as a result of their affiliation with our program and our making them feel welcome at this annual event.
On June 22, 2008, the Pastor Search Committee recommended that we call Stephen Byrd as our pastor, effective July 20, 2008. The Byrd family would reside in the gray house at the corner of Church and Avery Streets, rent free, until the sale of his house in Louisiana was completed. 292 votes were cast, and the percentage of Yes votes was 99.8%. Rev. Byrd accepted.
The Personnel Committee recommended that the church purchase cell phones for the staff and add the cell phone usage to the budget. The church voted to approve.
Mableton First Baptist, as of July, 2008, was giving $667 per month/$8000 per year to the Cooperative Program.
The Lighthouse Community Ministry, for the months of July through September of 2008, served 169 families and distributed 8,486 pounds of food. An offering was taken once per quarter to support this ministry.
As of the beginning of the school year in August, 2008, 89 children were enrolled in our Kindergarten program and 41 children were enrolled in our Mother's Morning Out program.
On August 23 and 24, the Celebration Choir presented "We Will Worship" with the First Baptist Church Woodstock orchestra. We welcomed back many former choir members for a "Homecoming" performance. 90 voices and a 70-piece orchestra presented the music to a congregation of approximately 800.
Youth attendance had dropped to an average of 10 on Wednesday nights and 10 on Sunday mornings. On October 15, the student ministry held a parents' meeting to introduce a new vision for parents and students.
Average monthly giving for 2008 totaled $52,496. Average Sunday School attendance was 173.
Brad O'Kelley resigned as part time Minister of Students in March, 2009, effective in May.
On Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009, we opened our Church Street Cafe' in the upstairs breezeway area. The area was smartly decorated, and included WiFi, cafe' tables for seating and flat screens for viewing videos or worship services. Shirley Pattison, Church Hostess, and her committee began providing a light breakfast there every Sunday morning before Sunday School as a service to the members.
In August, Aaron Brookshire was called as full time Minister of Students and Education.
The church Constitution and By-laws had been under review for quite some time by the Constitution and By-laws Committee. The members of this committee who worked tirelessly were Neal Hunter, Jon Rowland, Becky Ridgway, Rod Nave, Chris Ayers, Ray Barnes, Rev. Mike Anderson, and Tommy Shoun, before his passing. The final revised draft was voted on and approved by the church on August 16, 2009.
After much discussion, prayer and research, the Children's Ministry Team decided to begin the AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) program on September 9, 2009. This program replaced the Royal Ambassadors, the Girls in Action, and the Mission Friends programs for children and preschoolers on Wednesday nights. The Awana program also included a time for music, replacing the children's choirs. It was hoped that this program would reach further into the community and bring many more children to the church to hear about Jesus. After just five weeks, the average Awana attendance was 75 children per week. The children memorized scripture each week, and the gospel was clearly presented to those in attendance.
Because of the depressed economy and lack of jobs, the Lighthouse Community Ministry House was receiving an increased number of persons asking for help. For the third quarter of 2009, the Ministry addressed the needs of 220 families and distributed 9,320 pounds of food. Even in that economy, God continued to provide the resources needed.
In October, our Kindergarten Ministry received the 2nd Place award for money raised from the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Atlanta District Hop-a-Thon. $1990 was raised for this cause.
Average monthly Sunday School attendance for 2009 was 178. Average monthly receipts for 2009 were $53,989.42. Our Lottie Moon giving totaled $8,033, which surpassed the goal.
A Security Committee was begun, policies and procedures were finalized, radios were purchased, and volunteers were recruited. This team was responsible for monitoring the church premises during Sunday School and worship services.
In February, 2010, FBC Mableton was the host church for the 2010 Sisters in Christ conference. Over 1300 women attended. Our Women's Ministry outdid themselves by parking cars, greeting attendees, welcoming and seating those in the worship center, serving coffee in the Cafe', and cleaning up afterwards.
God continued to bless in the Awana program in 2010. Average attendance remained steady, and children were being saved. By the end of May, Grades 1-5 had learned approximately 25 Bible verses and had learned either all of the books of the Bible or all of the books in the New Testament, depending on age.
The Student Ministry was re-named "Thrive", based upon the scripture in 2 Peter which instructs us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The mission of the ministry was to equip students to do just that. Attendance at youth activities was growing, slowly but surely.
Celebration Choir membership held steady at 55-60. The Technical Team consisted of 10 members. Belinda was student ministry intern from May 2010 to December 2010.
As a result of the struggling economy, the Lighthouse Community Ministry continued to aid increasing numbers of local citizens. During the third quarter of 2010, the Ministry House assisted 236 families and distributed 11,375 pounds of food.
Kindergarten enrollment for the 2010-2011 school year totaled 104 in 4 classes. Mother's Morning Out enrollment for the same time period totaled 39 in 3 classes. Summer Day Camp averaged 45 campers per day.
The first year (35 weeks) of the Awana program was completed on May 28, 2010. Nine children were saved in the first year, four of those from unchurched homes. Average weekly attendance was 71.
The Student Ministry added a 3-piece worship band on Wednesday nights in "Thrive Live". Many students assisted during Vacation Bible School, the Outdoor Movie Night, and the Mableton Elementary Spring Fling. Church members continued to bestow generous gifts on the student ministry, enabling students from lower-economic and unchurched backgrounds to experience the love of Christ.
A beautiful new 15 passenger bus was donated to our church in June of 2010 by long-time members Richard Peal and Pat Murner Peal. This generous gift was given in loving memory of Albert, Esther and Bobby Murner, Pat's parents and brother, who had also untiringly served the Lord at Mableton First.
The Love Loud Ministry was begun, ministering to local schools. The goal was to show God's love loudly throughout the Mableton community. Members of our church personally interacted with over 2000 students in the month of May. We had over 100 attend our Outdoor Movie Night, many from outside the church. In the fall, we partnered with Mableton Elementary and Skyview Elememtary for a couple of events. Our biggest event was our "Celebrating His Presence with Presents" event in December. The church provided Christmas for 45 children. We served a meal to the families on December 12, 2010, and presented the gospel.
Average monthly receipts for 2010 were $53,263.42. The church ended 2010 financially in the black. The loan was paid down by $113,000. Average monthly attendance in Sunday School was 184.
The church introduced (and applied) the concept of a PAC (Pastor's Advisory Council) Team that would meet with the staff in an advisory capacity relating to the vision and leadership of the church. The PAC team was comprised of the Chairmen of the Standing Committees. Also, beginning with the 2011 calendar year, each deacon was assigned to a specific area of ministry. Any ministry team that did not have an appointed staff member would have a deacon appointed to that team.
The Monday Morning Knitters began a recognition program to honor church members' loved ones serving in the armed services. A bulletin board just outside the worship center was dedicated to photographs of these service members and their families.
New, larger media screens were installed in the Worship Center.
In June, 2011, Aaron Brookshire resigned as Minister of Students and Education. Belinda Baker was approved as Student Ministry intern for the summer months (effective in May) until a permanent Minister of Students could be found. As it turned out, Belinda graciously agreed to continue her interim position past the summer into the winter while the Personnel Committee continued to search for a permanent replacement.
On July 31, 2011, Lana Ebert was hired as part time Children's Minister, effective August 1. Lana had been serving at our church since 2005 in the Weekday Ministry.
At the third quarter members meeting, the Properties Committee proposed a plan for a new childrenŐs wing. It included consolidating the classrooms and the chapel across from the music suite to make one large, enclosed childrenŐs area. The expected completion date was early fall. The children's area would be called "The Depot." The renovation plan was approved, and the new area opened on November 20, 2011. Note: All historic items removed from the chapel from the red brick church building were preserved and stored for future use.
The Student Ministry grew in number, averaging between 15-20 students on Wednesday nights.
Because of sacrificial giving on the part of the membership, and careful spending on the part of the church staff, the church received $81,000 more in contributions than it spent in 2011. At the end of the 2011 year, the church had reduced its long-term debt to a total of $344,000. This amount decreased significantly due to contributions to the annual Freedom Offering, whose singular intent is to reduce the debt.
Sunday School Attendance averaged 205 per month during 2011.
In January, 2012, Belinda Baker completed her interim service as Youth Director and returned to college as a full time student. The church continued to search for a permanent, part time Youth Minister.
The Discipleship Plan for the church for 2012 entailed an expositional, book-by-book study of the Bible for Sunday School, a study of theology on Wednesday nights, and practical application topical studies on Sunday evenings. There was also a desire to form accountability groups for more in-depth study and one-on-one discipleship.
Also in 2012, Pastor Byrd implemented a program called "Your Story - God's Story" where he hoped to meet with each church family to get to know them better and to hear how God had brought them to Him and worked in their lives.
On April 15, 2012, the Personnel Committee recommended Chris Barbee as part time Minister to Students. The church approved. On June 1, Chris and his wife, Amy, moved into the gray house at the corner of Church and Avery Streets as a part of his compensation package.
Also in April, a new Men's Ministry was begun, focusing on small-group discipleship.
Sunday School monthly attendance averaged 218 for the first six months of 2012. Awana attendance averaged 92 for the same time period.
During the second quarter of 2012, the Lighthouse Community Ministry served 236 families and distributed 11,740 pounds of food.
In late July, the church implemented the use of a new church membership software called Church Community Builder (CCB) that aided in the communication and connectivity of the church family on line.
Also in July, the Personnel Committee completed the compilation of an Employee Handbook, including employment rules, workplace policies, employee benefits, performance standards, payroll procedures, job descriptions, and an employee organizational chart.
Mableton First Baptist, by the grace of God, has grown from 20 charter members in 1887 to 808 resident members in 2012. The years ahead challenge us to continue to build on the sound foundation of our forefathers. Many have made Mableton First Baptist their church home. These have united with the descendants of the charter members to build a great church for God's glory. Let us continue to grow a close, united, caring fellowship that glorifies God to the uttermost.
The first pastor was called in October 1887. The pastor's names and years of service are as follows:
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