Northern Heights Baptist Church
During the third week of June 1951, Cordele First Baptist Church held a tent revival held on the corner of Seventh Street and Third Avenue. Several people attending this revival recognized a need in the Northern Heights section of Cordele and decided to start a mission in the community.
Services began as a mission of the Cordele First Baptist Church on July 1, 1951 in the Northern Heights School building. Rev. Charles Ellis, a student at Norman College, was called as pastor. He accepted the call and began his ministry on September 1, 1951.
On January 6, 1952, the mission was constituted as the Northern Heights Baptist Church with 39 charter members. In November of the same year, the church purchased a beautiful building site on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Second Street.
The ground breaking service was August 29, 1954. The first unit, of a four-part construction plan, was to be built for educational space and accommodate worship services for a short time. The first service was held in this building on April 10, 1955.
The contract was then let for the second unit. This part was to be the chapel in the original plans. The chapel was utilized for services for the first time on May 6, 1959. The membership at this time was 171.
In 1964, a need for more educational space, a social hall, and kitchen was needed. Construction promptly began and soon the annex was completed. The move in date for this third unit of the construction plans was in October 1964.
On November 11, 1970, Morningside Baptist Church began as a mission of NHBC. The following Sunday, November 15, Sunday School and Worship Services began for Morningside Baptist Church.
In November 1975, an extensive remodeling program was begun. The second floor, of the original two-story educational building, was carpeted and totally remodeled into a more efficient floor-plan. The ground floor was also remodeled and carpeted a few years later, in October 1981, to also make its floor-plan more efficient.
August 1982 brought more remodeling work. The exterior of the church was completely bricked. Beautiful stained glass windows were added to the chapel. Membership at this point was 368.
February 1987 brought the addition of a steeple to the chapel. The chapel had become our sanctuary since the sanctuary in the original blueprints had never been constructed.
Final preparations had been made, in January 1991, for the installation of a new baptistery. The new one being better located for visibility, and convenience of use, in the wall behind the choir loft. The old baptistery was located in the floor of the platform. The old one was hard to view and difficult to use since it had to be uncovered for use.
On Saturday, February 2, 1991, the evening prior to the new baptistery being used, a plane crashed into the sanctuary. The plane’s three passengers (William H. Barger, Mitch Barger, and Richard Carter) all lost their lives in the crash.
Not one service was missed due to the fire. Sunday worship services were held the next morning, February 3, 1991, in the chapel of Hughes & Wright Funeral Home. This would be our sanctuary for the next 18 months. A building committee was elected to begin the task of planning and rebuilding God’s house of worship. Many gifts were given to the building project, including money, labor, equipment loans, and land.
July 12, 1992, found us worshiping in the new building. We had relocated from 601 East Fourth Avenue to 1102 East Eighth Avenue. The congregation continued to grow without a physical church building and membership was 386.
The beginning of 1995 found the choir working on a new and different Easter program. It was the first time that they would incorporate drama with the Easter cantata. The response from the public was overwhelming and the church sought to improve its ability in this area. Following years found the drama being performed as many as five times in a week near Easter.
A note burning service was held on July 20, 1997 to formally acknowledge that the building debt was paid. A loan for $130,000.00 had been paid off in five years, instead of the originally planned 10 years.
Pastors Who Have Served At NHBC
Rev. Charles Ellis 1951 – 1956
Rev. T. L. Moody 1956 – 1961
Dr. LeRoy Boatright 1961 – 1962
Rev. Cecil Becham 1962 – 1967
Rev. Lanier Beasley 1967 – 1971
Rev. W. N. Hodges 1971 – 1974
Rev. Malvin L. Miller 1974 – 1978
Rev. Robert H. Watts 1979 – 1981
Rev. Franklin McWhirter 1981 – 1985
Rev. Royce Freeman 1985 – 2002
Rev. Eric Jackson 2003 - 2004
Rev. Damon Fountain 2006 -2013
Rev. Don Cole - Transitional Pastor and Associate 2013 - 2016
Rev. Damon Fountain 2014 - 2016
Rev. Don Cole - Transitional Pastor 2016 - 2018
Rev. Max Rodgers, Jr. - 2018 - current
Northern Heights Baptist Church
Post Office Box 5080
1102 East 8th Avenue
Cordele, Georgia 31015