Published October 21, 2004
First Baptist Church of Winder was born in 1893 with 21 members. At the time the membership comprised ten percent of the town's population. The first facility was a white frame building located at the corner of East Candler Street and Park Avenue.
Seventeen years later the church relocated to the corner of Broad and Stephens Streets and constructed a sanctuary that would seat about 500 people.
In recent years under the ministry of pastor John Talley, the Winder church has experienced renewed growth but found it impossible to expand its facilities on the location that served the church so well for more than 90 years.
The desire to approach the new millennium with faith in the future prompted the church to relocate. The church adopted a passage from Jeremiah as the watchword for the challenge before them: "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
With a renewed commitment to reach the rapidly-growing mission field in Northeast Georgia, the church voted to move to a 72-acre tract of land just two miles north of town on Jefferson Highway.
The church broke ground for the new buildings on October 6, 2002 and moved into the new facilities on July 11th with more than 900 in worship. The new church complex includes an interim worship center, a childcare center, a music ministry area, an administrative area, classrooms and parking.
However, the hallmark structure on the new campus is the Prayer Tower that rises to a height of 180 feet. The majestic tower is not only the signature structure on the campus, but has a prayer room which is the centerpiece of the church's focus and ministry, according to pastor Talley.
The construction costs for the building of the new facilities total $7.5 million. The "old" First Baptist properties are estimated to sell for $2.5 million.
Talley condenses the ministry of the church into one statement: "Our mission is to be a caring family of God, living and sharing God's Word and the love of Jesus Christ with all persons."
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