VILLA RICA — From an apartment to a chapel built by the pastor’s grandfather to an abandoned storefront, the most recent home for HighView Church is suiting its growth needs … for now.
“The planning process for our church began three years ago in January 2013,” says Pastor Chad Williams. Highview began as a nondenominational congregation before going through certification with Georgia Baptist Mission Board Church Planting Ministries and NAMB.
“We’ve now grown to a couple hundred in attendance on Sunday mornings,” adds Williams. “This would not have been possible without the [GBMB].”
As with most young, growing congregations, need for space has been an issue for HighView. At its beginning five people met in an apartment before moving on to a small chapel built by Williams’ grandfather in a section of his yard. “My grandfather retired from full-time ministry in 2005 after 55 years as a pastor and took a chunk of his life savings to build the chapel,” said Williams. “He wanted it to be a place where churches could start. I was working at Chick-fil-A at the time coordinating grand openings across the country.”
His grandfather died in October the same year he built the chapel, not knowing that years later it would become a home for his grandson’s congregation.
“We could get around 30 people in it,” Williams added. “In the summer we’d have to open the doors so people could stand outside in the overhead porch area.”
The storefront mentioned by Williams had a history commonly connected to the building-boom-bust of the 2000s. Completed in 2007, expectations for the building on Edge Road no doubt were bigger. But, it soon became victim to the housing market collapse and remained without a tenant. Ready to fulfill a purpose, but remaining empty.
The commercial building was “just a shell” said Williams, but with money saved through meeting in the tiny chapel HighView was able to build out the storefront to accommodated 100 attendees. Soon though, the church outgrew the new location.
Through common connections, Williams and HighView leadership came to know of an area church, Cornerstone Baptist, that had dwindled to about a dozen members, yet with space for many more. Months of meetings and prayer led to HighView assuming Cornerstone’s property with every member of the preceding congregation going through HighView’s membership process.
“We had a joint worship service at the new location in January 2015. Afterwards each respective congregation voted on making it happen. God’s hand was in it, with both churches voting unanimously,” says Williams.
The actual move to the new location happened last March and included about a month’s worth of updates to the building relating to children’s areas, class layout, and technology upgrades.
“When our church was planted we had $200 as a church and now 2 1/2 years later we own 19 acres of land, a building, and are completely debt free,” Williams states. “God is moving mightily here in the west Georgia area!”
Reflecting its current location, HighView is ready to fulfill a purpose and nowhere near empty.