Our Story
Celebrating 56 years
History of Hillcrest Baptist Church
1957 – 2013
 
For several years prior to the organization of the Hillcrest Baptist Chapel, the pastor and leaders of the First Baptist Church of Enterprise had felt the need for a church in the eastern section of the city. A mission Sunday School was held for a time in the office building of Carmichael Homes, and later in the Junior High School building, which was then located in this area. Tent revivals were conducted for two summers and a Vacation Bible School was held.
 
With the continued growth of this section of town, the need became more acute. In February of 1955, Dr. Brady R. Justice, pastor of the First Baptist Church, learned that the city was selling surplus land in the area. He made a survey of the available property, and decided that land on the corner of East Watts and Alberta Streets would be a good location for a church. Other church and associational leaders were asked to look over the property and evaluate it for this purpose.
 
A committee of deacons from the First Baptist Church ascertained that the property could be secured. The First Baptist Church purchased a plot 330 feet by 500 feet in size. A little later the size of the lot was increased by the purchase of additional land. A revival and Vacation Bible School were held on the location in a tent July 10-24,1955.
 
On October 30,1955, groundbreaking services were held for the first unit of a building. This 36 by 74 foot building was completed at a cost of $20,000. It consisted of educational space with a temporary auditorium. This building was formally opened and dedication services were held March 4, 1956. 
 
Sunday School was opened on April 1, 1956, with 69 in attendance. By April of 1957, the Sunday School enrollment was 170 and Training Union was 48.
 
In the fall of 1956, the First Baptist Church of Enterprise authorized the construction of an annex to the first mission building. This was to be a two-story structure with a larger temporary auditorium to seat 250 people, and additional educational space. This building was completed in October of 1957 at a cost of approximately $40,000, including air-conditioning.
 
On April 15, 1956, Rev. Harold L. Cumbie became associate pastor of the First Baptist Church to be in charge of their mission church, Hillcrest Chapel.   While he was pastor, Hillcrest Chapel grew rapidly and was constituted into Hillcrest Baptist Church on Sunday, April 7, 1957. Those who had joined the First Baptist Church through the mission became charter members of Hillcrest. Many others joined on the day of organization. The period of charter membership was extended for one month, and the total number of charter members reached 99 by the end of the period.
 
Rev. Cumbie resigned as pastor in November 1958, and was succeeded by Rev. John Frank Lindsey on March 18, 1959. Groundbreaking services were held for an auditorium on August 28, 1962, and the building was completed in June of 1963 at a cost of more than $100,000.

 

Rev. Lindsey resigned as pastor at the end of December 1964 and Rev. Thomas R. Lee followed as pastor in May of 1965. Hillcrest continued to make progress under the leadership of Rev. Lee. The membership reached 411 by the end of 1966. The WMU and the Brotherhood were organized and functioning. 
 
Rev. Lee resigned from Hillcrest on December 15, 1968 and the church then called Rev. John K. Smith as pastor in May of 1969. During the time Brother Smith was pastor, improvements were made; the parking lot was paved, a Yamaha organ and grand piano purchased and a full-time minister of music and youth was hired. A van and a 45 passenger bus were purchased to be used for church-related activities.
 
At the end of March 1976, membership had reached 700. Plans began to be made for expansion of the educational space. In April 1977, ground- breaking ceremonies were held for a new education building. This building was completed in 1978.
 
Rev. Smith resigned as Pastor in December 1977. Hillcrest was
blessed to have Dr. Brady R. Justice serve as interim pastor at this time.  

Dr. Justice was the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Enterprise and responsible for starting Hillcrest as a mission church.
 
Dr. Travis Coleman, Jr. accepted the call as Pastor and came to Hillcrest in June 1978. Hillcrest Baptist Church membership increased to 1,000 and Sunday School enrollment to 770. In 1981 two modular buildings were purchased as temporary Sunday School classrooms. With continued growth, a new two-story educational/fellowship hall was built and completed in May 1986. Also during this time a staff position was added for associate pastor.
 
Dr. Coleman gave a letter of resignation on September 20, 1989 effective October 5, 1989. On September 17, 1990, Dr. Gerald Walker Haley accepted the call as Pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church, to begin on October 24, 1990.
 
Under Dr. Haley’s leadership Hillcrest saw the need to plan for a new worship center. A capital stewardship program was started and plans for the new building were well under way. Another full-time staff member was also added. Dr. Haley resigned on December 15, 1993, effective December 31, 1993.
 
Dr. W. Mack Amis, Jr. was called as pastor on June 12, 1994. Dr. Amis began his ministry on July 25, 1994. Hillcrest continued to grow and so did the need for space. A groundbreaking service was held on June 2, 1996 for the new worship center/administration building. It was a very exciting event for Hillcrest when the steeple was put into place on April 23, 1997. After moving into the new building, the church went from holding two worship services on Sunday morning to just one service. Additional property was also purchased on Alberta and Watts Streets.  
  
Dr. Amis resigned in February 2002 to accept a position in Mississippi. Rev. J. Ernest Bailey, a church member, accepted the position of interim pastor in March 2002. He served in this position until April 2003 when Dr. William (Billy) F. Joy accepted the call of ministry as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church.
 
Under the leadership of Dr. Billy Joy, Hillcrest continued to grow. The church began holding two worship services on Sunday mornings with two Sunday Schools. Again it became apparent that Hillcrest needed more educational space. Hillcrest began making plans for a new educational building and fellowship hall. Groundbreaking for this new building was held on February 13, 2005 and a dedication service was held November 5, 2007. Having agreed to the call from a sister congregation in Tuscaloosa, Dr. Joy resigned on May 20, 2009 after a very fruitful ministry.

 

On February 22, 2010 Hillcrest welcomed her current pastor, Dr. Michael Mynatt.Through Dr. Mynatt the church has answered the call to missions on local, national and international soil. Currently, we are ministering in Costa Rica, Haiti and Ethiopia by providing medical, family and pastoral training ministries. The church has also focused her response to Christ's great commission by developing the Disciple Life model of ministry. The four pillars of the Disciple Life are worship, Bible study, missions and service. On top of these pillars all ministries of Hillcrest are built, developed and brought to fruition.

God has truly blessed Hillcrest Baptist Church with Godly pastors, ministers and lay people throughout her 55+ years. He has provided the resources necessary to accomplish His work in miraculous ways and continues to fulfill His purpose to His glory. May He alone receive all honor and glory and praise for all the things that have been done!

 

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