Churches are made up of people, and while the faces in the pews change, for a church that is truly a church, there is one thing that doesn’t: the reflection of Christ in our community.
Since its founding in 1959, Highland Baptist Church hasn’t been immune to such changes. Some have been good, including growth of its facilities, which has allowed for more ministry. Others, however, have brought challenges. Yet, with those challenges have come opportunities to lean on, and grow in, the grace of God.
After initially meeting in a chicken house, the church moved to its permanent location in 1964. In 1980, the congregation dedicated a 28-foot-by-32-foot addition. A shelter house was built in the 1990s, and, in the early 2000s, the church underwent its most extensive renovation when it added a 2,600-square-foot education wing.
The additional space not only has helped alleviate crowded Sunday school classes, including allowing the youth to have their own area, but it has been beneficial to the church being able to provide an effective day care, sharing the message of the Gospel with children and families who otherwise might not hear it.
Each pastor, from Harold Allen, the 26-year-old seminary student who led what was then Edwardsville Baptist Mission in the chicken house, to Charles Raley to Bryan Ragan to Shamus Drake and all those in between, as well as every music leader, Sunday school teacher and congregation member, has played a part in making Highland Baptist Church a special place for more than a half-century.
While reminiscing is important and enjoyable, it’s more important to look to the future and realize the opportunities afforded to us by Christ, the opportunities to share His love both inside and outside the walls of Highland Baptist Church.
Highland Baptist Church began in 1959 and has helped share that love for over 50 years. By God's grace she will continue to do so.