A Brief History of Providence Baptist Church
History of Providence Baptist Church
15th Anniversary Service
In Joshua 4:1-7, God instructed the children of Israel to set stones taken from the Jordan River as a memorial so that as future generations asked about the stones it would provide an opportunity for them to tell the story of God’s faithfulness to them that day. For those of us who have lived this history of Providence Baptist Church and for those who have come to Providence somewhere along the way…it is good for us to remember God’s faithfulness in bringing us to this day.
On May 4, 2003 over 100 people showed up on a Sunday afternoon at Crosspointe Church which at the time was on Slaughter Road. A significant division within our local church family led us to gather that afternoon to discuss plans to start a new church. The division was primarily regarding the teaching and preaching of the doctrines of grace. This was a bittersweet time for us…leaving our church family who we loved and still love so much was very difficult, but there was a lot of excitement about the potential of starting a new work in our community.
Providence Baptist Church was born out of that first meeting with Jess Smith serving as our pastor. We soon had the opportunity to move to Good Shepherd United Methodist Church on the corner of Capshaw Road and Old Railroad Bed Road. We conducted Sunday school and worship services on Sunday afternoons. This was a huge blessing…it was a facility that met our needs very well, it allowed us to begin developing and growing as a church body, and the very reasonable rent we were paying enabled us to begin building the financial stability that would be required to purchase land and ultimately build this building.
This was a great time in the life of Providence. We owned nothing and were very aware of our dependence on God (our first purchase was ultimately hymnals). Enlisting volunteers to serve in various capacities was easy…our members were excited to serve. Most physical needs were met via donations from our members. Most importantly, we had the time and freedom to be obedient to God’s leading in becoming who He was calling us to be.
In those early months we were incorporated, developed the Constitution and By-laws, developed a vison document, began K-Groups on Wednesday nights, called our first elders, established some ministry teams, performed baptisms in the Patterson’s swimming pool, enjoyed sitting under biblical teaching and preaching and genuinely worshiped God together.
We also established a team to search for land. There were a couple of disappointments when promising opportunities fell through. But God led us to some land that was not actually for sale. We knew the family who owned the land had been unwilling to sell the land for the development of a subdivision, but we approached them to see if they might sell it for the development of a church. They liked the idea of the land being used for a church and agreed to sell the land to us at a reasonable price. In March 2004 we approved the purchase of the land we currently occupy.
We then established a Building Ministry Team who led the overall site planning, the development of the property and the construction of the building…with the help of many volunteers along the way. In August 2005, as we were finalizing the building plans and were nearing the start of construction, hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. This resulted in a huge spike in the cost of building materials requiring significant changes to the original plans. One of those changes was the elimination of the planned education space…replacing it with rented portable buildings to meet our education needs. In January 2006, the revised plans and associated budget were approved. God blessed us by enabling us to pay the land off completely prior to the beginning of construction. If I had time I would like to be able to tell you about the design of this property and building…but for now, I will just say there was an overriding purposefulness with an intent to bring glory to God and to promote worship. On March 25, 2007 we held our first service in this building.
In 2011, due to growth in our membership and in particular the need to provide more focused leadership in our ministry to our students, we called Brian Milby as a part-time Minister. Then in 2012, we called him as a full-time Minister.
In October 2012, due to a moral failure, our senior pastor resigned. This was obviously a very difficult time in the life of our church body. As He always does, God had a plan. He had already placed within our body a man whom He had prepared to lead us. We called Blair Waddell as interim pastor and then a few months later we called him to serve as our Senior Pastor. During this time God led us as individual believers and corporately as a church body to evaluate our lives and our relationship to Him and ultimately led us to understand once again that God builds His church…that it is not dependent on our plans, our abilities or on any man…this is a very good thing to remember.
We have continued to grow numerically but most importantly spiritually. In particular we have grown in our missions work, supporting many missionaries in the U.S and around the world and by personally participating in missions work in the U.S. and other places around the world.
We now have another Building Ministry Team beginning to plan for the building of the education space that we had to eliminate from the original plans. We gather here today as evidence of God’s faithfulness…in a way, we are the stones. We also gather to celebrate His faithfulness. God is truly good.