HOSCHTON — On Jan. 26, 2012 The Christian Index published an article titled, “The urge to merge will likely cause this church to surge.” The article was prophetic.
In 2011 First Baptist Church of Hoschton and Zion Baptist Church in Braselton voted to merge and had their first service together on Dec.18. Russ Harbin was pastor of the Hoschton church and Zion was without a pastor. First Baptist Hoschton was experiencing growing pains and Zion Baptist purchased an enormous industrial facility in 2004 less than a mile away from the Hoschton church, encountering a substantial financial challenge.
Circumstances were ripe for combining the two churches. That is precisely what happened and Harbin became the pastor of the combined congregations now called Northeast Church. The church is strategically located within five miles of four different counties and positioned adjacent to Interstate 85.
More than 150,000 people live within a 10-mile radius of Northeast Church, but Harbin has stated that only 16 percent are in church on any given Sunday morning. “The potential is unlimited,” he says.
Everyone become a part
The church is developing a myriad of programs to make a place for everyone to plug in and become a part of what God is doing at Northeast. Harbin added, “We desire to lead people in their transformation toward becoming fully-devoted followers of Christ, and we aim to have both the breadth and depth of ministries to meet people wherever they are on their spiritual journeys.”
On this coming Sunday, Nov. 13, Northeast will celebrate God’s provision by dedicating a new 11,000-square-foot state-of-the-art children’s space called “Kidz Lodge.” This new addition to the church’s overall campus design is patterned after a mountain lodge where children will be welcomed through the large barn sliding doors into a log cabin-style foyer with forest creatures and woodsy décor throughout.
Beyond the foyer the children will walk through the meadow into a spacious worship area that will seat 272 children in front of a theatrical stage designed for both music and drama furnished with cutting edge audio and visual medial systems and the latest LED energy-efficient lighting technology.
There are also sizable lodge-themed classrooms, a library/resource room, and a spiral tube slide that the children are sure to love.
A safe a secure environment
Tim Chapman, Northeast’s Worship and Media assistant, stated, “The Kidz Lodge provides a secure and safe environment for children through our check-in system. Parents need to know that all of our volunteers have been equipped to insure the well-being of all children by virtue of their Ministry Safe training.
“One of the best things about this whole project is that the Kidz Lodge was completed without the church incurring any debt.”
Although the new children’s area is already being utilized, an official ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening will occur on Saturday morning, Nov. 19. Bill Orr, the mayor of Braselton, will be on hand to assist in the ribbon cutting ceremony.