ATLANTA (BP)–First Baptist Church of Atlanta held its last Sunday worship service in the 68-year-old downtown facility April 6. All Bible studies and worship services will be held at the church’s northside location beginning April 13.
“We’re continuing the church’s 150-year movement up Peachtree Road,” said Geral D. Spicer, administrative pastor. “Next Sunday is Family Reunion Day because it will be the first time in five years our church family has worshiped in one location. We’re anticipating a brand new day at First Baptist.”
The 15,000-member church has planned to move out of the downtown location for several years but has been unable to sell the 12-acre site. Five years ago, the church began holding services at both locations.
“We will still maintain our ministries to the homeless in downtown Atlanta as well as to international and college students,” Spicer said. “Also, our Wednesday night service and administrative offices will remain downtown for some time.”
More than 6,000 people attended Easter services at First Baptist this year, Spicer said, describing the spirit of the church as very positive. The congregation has weathered several difficult situations in recent years related to sale of the downtown property and challenges to the leadership of senior pastor Charles Stanley.
“We’re having nearly 30 additions to the church every week. This has always been a visionary church and this move is repositioning us for the 21st century. Our opportunities are unlimited at the new site,” Spicer said.
The worship center at the new site, purchased 10 years ago, is a remodeled warehouse which will seat 3,000, according to Spicer. The site offers nearly 250,000 square feet of space under roof which will be remodeled when the downtown property is sold, with added plans for a new auditorium.
Stanley’s international broadcast ministry, “In Touch,” will continue to be videotaped during the church’s worship services.