In 1981 God called a small group of people to start a campus ministry in Athens, Georgia in order to reach out to University of Georgia students. Athens was a much smaller town then, but just as vibrant with the sounds of screaming students rooting on their beloved Bulldogs. Those years began the era of Herschel Walker, REM, The B-52’s, Widespread Panic, Georgia Square Mall, the Loop and four-lane roads into and out of Athens.
Within a local church of Christ that sponsored that budding campus ministry, that small group of people grew by some ten students becoming Christians during its first school year in 1976-1977. During its second year, there were some fifty students converted to Christ. Many of those are still faithful to Jesus and are now located all over the world.
A group of about ninety students and very young adults formed the Heritage Church of Christ and met in a number of rented facilities for three years. That small church of very young, committed disciples in 1983 raised enough money to purchase eight acres on Research Drive for the construction of a building with the help of local bank financing. Nervously, but in faith, nearly every employed member of our young congregation personally guaranteed that bank loan with their signature. We didn’t know then that we were “too young and inexperienced to buy land or attempt to build a building,” yet God blessed our faith and our faithfulness to him.
In late 1987 in dire need of spiritual revival, most of the members of the Heritage Church of Christ agreed to merge with and become part of the newly formed and dynamic Atlanta Church of Christ. For about a year and a half we drove back roads to Atlanta, with our babies in tow, via Hwy 29 through Winder and Dacula before getting to the four-lane Hwy 316 to get to services on Sunday mornings and midweek meetings on Wednesday and Friday nights. Yet, despite challenging logistics, God blessed our trust in Him with much growth and rich generosity among our members.
Though relatively obscure among the larger churches of Christ, the impact of our faith in Athens has always been felt throughout the world. Year in and year out, we have consistently given faithfully and sacrificially to the work of God’s kingdom both here and in the mission fields. Without arguing or complaining, we drove countless miles to worship with our brothers and sisters in Atlanta. Our faithfulness did not go unnoticed by God. He has continually blessed our sincere faith.
On May 4, 2003, after nearly sixteen years of being part of the Atlanta Church of Christ, and with their good wishes and prayerful support, we re-formed our congregation here in Athens The confluence of events at that time brought us the opportunity to have Sam and Geri Laing come to lead our young (again) church. Under their leadership, the Athens Church has been able to attract a growing number of disciples from throughout the country and other parts of the world who have moved here to raise families or attend The University of Georgia.
- 2004: Kevin Thompson answers the call to become our Campus Minister
- 2007: Appointed our first elders, Mike Shapiro and Sam Laing
- 2008: Appointed our first deacons
- 2009: Sent out our first Church Planting – Clemson, SC
- 2009: Moved into our facility on Mars Hill Road
- 2010: Appointed three additional elders: Robert Goodwin, Sonny Sessions and Jim Webb
As we see how God has blessed us, we are thankful. But we believe the best is yet to come! God is calling forth our hope and commitment to respond to new opportunities and challenges. With faith and hope we look forward to God doing even greater things among us and through us!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21