The history of the Fayetteville, GA
church of Christ
In the early 1950s, out of the 59 counties in the state of Georgia, it was almost embarrassing to see how many counties did not have at least one congregation of the Lord's church. Fayette was no exception. Out of the whole county, there could not be found a congregation of the church.
The elementary work that took place in the early 1950s through cottage meetings at the home of Mrs. Bennie Davis was actually the introduction of the Lord's church to the Fayetteville area. Bible correspondence courses were distributed and several people put on Christ in baptism. Most of the Bible correspondence courses were graded and distributed by women of the East Point and Hapeville congregations.
Tent meetings were found to be effective and the new members of the area requested there be one. Brother Roy Welch, an elder of the East Point congregation and Cliff Nash of the North Ave congregation took two young men down to Fayetteville to clean off the lot where the old Railroad Depot is today for the purpose of erecting the tent. (Wayne Nash who served, (for many years) as one of the five elders was one of the boys that cut those weeds and grass). This tent meeting being successful, there were more planned. On August 28, 1955 the church at Fayetteville began its regular meeting following a ten day Tent meeting conducted by Brother Horace E. Huggins, minister in Griffin Georgia. Eddie Hamilton was the song leader for that first tent meeting.
The American Legion Post House was secured as a meeting place for a rental fee of $2.00 per week.
On February 19,1956 a meeting was held and it was agreed that the church would purchase a lot just four doors south of the primary school building (now the City Hall) on south Glenn St. This, of course, later became the property for the first building to be erected. But the congregation was small and things couldn't happen as fast as some would want them to. In March of 1956, the American Legion Post House became unavailable to meet in any longer. The church made arrangements with the school Board to meet in the former School Band House for a rental fee of $3.00 per week.
August 26 through September 5, 1956, David East, minister of the North Ave. congregation in Hapeville, Georgia, held a tent meeting. The excellent meeting only convinced the brethren more of the need to have a permanent meeting house. In 1957 plans were drawn up for the building to be located at 300 South Glenn on the lot owned by the church. Monies were not plentiful, but the labors of faithful men were. Through the efforts of faithful members the building was finally completed for occupancy in September 1959. The first services were held in the new building on October 4, 1959.
Many souls were led to Christ at the location on Glenn St. Young men and women set their goals to be preachers, homemakers, school teachers, etc. from this place. The young were born, couples were married and the dead buried from this location. Other congregations sprouted from the efforts of this congregation like Peachtree City and other mission efforts were supported from the giving of the members.
When one grows accustomed to the place where they worship their God, there is a great void when one is uprooted from that location. The church continued meeting in the Glenn St. location until July 1982.
After much growth and blessings, the leaders of the congregation presented the idea of selling the building and building a new larger one in order to have a better place and more tools to serve the Lord. So, the building was sold and vacated in July 1982.
With the dedication of about 40 members and the blessings of the Lord, plans were put in place to build the building located at 1765 Highway 85 North.
There is a story worth remembering about the church ending up here on Highway 85 north. The church already had property on Highway 54 west of the Court House but it was decided that it just was not buildable for the church and it's parking. Scouts went out to find a more suitable piece of property. A long time resident of Fayetteville informed us of the property adjacent to his property. This property was once the old Highway 85 Drive-in theater. He stated that the property next to his was not actually for sale but if approached properly, the property could possibly be purchased. This same long time Fayette resident told the elders at the time we purchased the property, that he would give the church an option to purchase his property, just as soon as we out grew our corner property.
Little did he know or we, that his health would get such that we could not exercise the well intended option.
While the construction of the new building a temporary meeting place was acquired. The chuch acquired the use of the Fayette County Jr. High lunchroom for Sunday morning and evening worship. However, the church was not allowed to use any classrooms for Sunday school classes nor could the church meet in the school on Wednesday for mid week Bible study.
Have you ever had the responsibility of setting up for a worship service or tearing down after? This becomes very, very rough before the new building is finished. People burn-out quickly, nerves become very frail and touchy.
Even with the headaches and problems during construction, this body of Christians grew both in number and spiritually. Since the church could not meet on Wednesday night for Bible study in the School, the elders divided the congregation up into LIFE groups. These five groups met in homes studying the same outlines as provided by the elders. This temporary arrangement lasted for approx 12 months. The congregation continued the LIFE group concept many years after moving in to the new building. The L.I.F.E. group concept is not to be confused with some of the Small group concepts in operation throughout the churches today. The letters meant: L-Love, I-Involvement, F-Fellowship, and E-Evangelism.
Construction completed, the church took occupancy June 6, 1983. This was not a lock and key package. The deacons still had to landscape and do many other chores to make the new facility home.
From the small number of members who dedicated themselves to build a new building in 1982 (being about 40) until 1987 the Lord had increased the number of members to more than 200. Expansion was necessary, the elders tried to exercise the option on the property next door with intentions of one day expanding big time. The owner of the property next door had become disabled and the verbal option was void. The best we could do was increase the seating as much as possible and increase the classrooms. Plans were put in place to become part of the city and hook on to sewage so the septic field drain could be turned into more parking.
With the expansion of more classrooms and 138 more seats, the church still sees a need to expand. Then came approaches to purchase our building. All kind of offers being made causes the leadership to question the overall plans to expand at the expense it would take, verses the results of what we would have since we are boxed in on 3.4 acres.
The discussion was made to entertain an offer for the sale of our building. Wal-Mart representatives approach the elders with an offer. After months of council meetings Wal-Mart withdraws due to opposition of the surrounding neighborhood.
Immediately another developer takes up the offer. Using the best yard-stick the elders could, a price was agreed upon. Property was purchased on Redwine road consisting of ten acres and a house. Immediately an architect was employed to develop a rendering (Drawing) to present to the City council. We submitted application to be annexed into the city and the Zone changed for a church.
The Lord has blessed the Fayetteville congregation beyond expectations. It is hard to believe that this congregation has come so far; from the mere 40 members to now over 300, yet it has had its set backs.
The Riverdale congregation which was established in the late 1960s suffered some bad times in 1997 and 1998. The elders found themselves in a dilemma. The congregation had dwindled to a number so small that they could not continue the support of their minister without the help of sister congregations.
This came as a terrible blow to the dedicated members of the Riverdale congregation, having done so much good work in the past. After much prayer, the elders approached the Fayetteville congregation with the idea of merging the two congregations. This idea was welcomed with open arms. The two congregations have merged into one big family and all members are comfortable worshiping together.
The Fayetteville congregation got the better end of the merger. They got an experienced Preacher and elder as well as many good hard working deacons and members. With the blessings that have come Fayetteville's way, it is not uncommon to find 300 or more in attendance on Sunday morning.
With the sale of the property on Highway 85 North. The church had a deadline date of Dec. 31, 1998 to vacate. Agreement was made with the purchaser to let us salvage the Fellowship Hall. This building would then be reconstructed on property that the Fayetteville congregation had helped financially to purchase for the Palmetto Church.
As of the end of 1998 the church had many blessings for which to be thankful. Arrangements were made to rent space in one of the county schools but we continued to look for a space that the church could set up and worship on Wednesday night as well.
A space was located. We then had a place to worship in without anyone regulating us. The space could be utilized for all our services. The rented space was going to be tight and crowded, but with everyone having the right spirit, we got through and became stronger because of it. There were plans to have a closed circuit TV for any overflow we might have had.
There is a unique thing about the rented space for the church. In the early 50s when the first cottage meeting was held, it was held on this very piece of property at the home of Mrs. Bennie Davis. In fact, her house sat less than 50 Ft. from where the rented auditorium is now.
The church here will celebrate a 50th anniversary before long. Hope is that this church has by then, made an impact on this county that the Lord will be satisfied with. As was stated, in the early 1950s there was not a church of Christ to be found in the county of Fayette. Today there are three who call themselves by the name church of Christ. Our work is not over yet. The fields are still "WHITE UNTO HARVEST".
(Webmaster's Note) This exposé is not complete. We are in the process of finishing the history of the Fayetteville Church of Christ as it is today. Please check back later.