The Church of the Highlands, the new name for historic Highland Park Baptist, will open its new ministry in a new location with a Saturday Community Block Party that should live up to the declaration by Dr. Jeremy Roberts that, along with its serious side, the church will be "the funnest church around."
The church announced last fall that its extensive church plant on Bailey Avenue in Highland Park would be sold and the congregation moved to property on Hunter road at Chickamauga Lake in Harrison where for years they have owned lake property and operated Camp Joy.
The church, organized in 1890, experienced its greatest growth under the leadership of the late Dr. Lee Roberson, but in recent years has decline in membership. Currently few members now live in the Highland Park area, so soon after Dr. Roberts was called as pastor, the pastor and leadership began exploring ways to renew the church vision.
The result was a new vision without losing its historic commitment to ministry.
"Our church has a 1-2-3-4 ministry," Dr. Roberts said. There is one church, Church of the Highlands; "we minister in two languages, English and Spanish"; three locations–"worship services are in Harrison, Spanish service at Phillips Chapel at Union/Orchard Knob, or worship with us via our online service at 10:45 a.m. at TheHighlands.cc"; and there are four services, 9:15 and 10:45 in Harrison, 11 a.m Spanish service and 10:45 online.
"Our church is thrilled to experience a fresh start as we re-plant and become Church oft the Highlands. This Sunday, as we launch into the future, Church of the Highlands will be able to live-out our mission of reaching our community, America, and the world for Jesus Christ," Dr. Roberts said.
"We’ve been trying to intentionally serve our community as much as possible so they can see the love we have for Jesus through our action. (In the past three months) we gave away 85 bikes to needy kids, painted the administrative offices of Ooltewah Middle School, and served lunches or desserts to the teachers of quite a few schools in Harrison and Ooltewah."
One teacher at Brown Middle School wrote: "I just want to take a moment to let you all know how much we appreciated the delicious lunch you brought to our staff! It was such a treat and with this crazy time of year a very welcome change for the teachers. I know this area is lucky to have your church here."
"One of the things that really excites me about our church," Dr. Roberts said, "is that we are deeply biblical, relevant, and fun. Our unique setting right on Lake Chickamauga with a swimming pool and waterslide, Chattanooga’s only indoor skatepark, and horses we’re about to acquire, give us opportunities to reach out to people with different interests and then present the Gospel to them."
The Community Block Party for the whole family will be on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Indoor activities will include giant bounce houses, face painting, crafts for kids, skate park and live music. Outdoor activities will be campfires with Smores. Food includes hot dogs, hot chocolate, hot cider, chili, Smores, and desserts.