How it all started...

The story of Woodlake Baptist is one of joy and excitement. The word miracle comes to mind. I don’t toss around the word miracle very often, but it’s true. God has had his hand on this church from the very beginning.

In early June of 2005, a small group of folks met at the Rosebud clubhouse for bible study and prayer. The possibility of a new church was being discussed, but from my perspective, I was dragging my feet a bit. I was still in the process of dealing with other churches that were without a pastor. I had preached in view of a call at Horizon Fellowship and had been asked for resumes by three other churches. It wasn’t long before discussion began about a new church start.

One Wednesday night, during our prayer time, Lynn Long suggested that we have a church service in her and Huey’s garage. Many of the people had already left and Lynn even had to talk to Huey about it. The word got out, and we had our first service in Lynn and Huey Long’s garage. On July 7th, 2005, we had our first service. The numbers increased over the next several weeks until we soon had 65 people coming. Lynn Long and I stood in their garage in amazement as the cars just kept coming up the driveway.

In several weeks we were out of space in the garage and knew we needed a place to worship. The group decided to find a place to go. I (Bro. Jerry) found a warehouse on Highway 81. We moved there in August of 2005 with bare floors and no air conditioning. We stayed there for almost eight years until the building we have now was finished. The first Sunday we were in the warehouse we had 90 people. Some folks over the years have asked me how I started Woodlake. I had to tell them, “I didn’t start the church, God did, and He started it in spite of me.” That 90 people grew steadily over the months and God provided funds like I have never seen before.

In September, we rented the warehouse across from us and it became what we would call building B. We started Sunday School and used building B for fellowships and youth ministry. The children’s ministry has had great success since day one, as has the youth ministry, and has grown even until this day. We put a full-sized baptistery in that warehouse that was used to baptize new believers.

Shortly after this, we had so many things given to us that it was unreal. It was truly a “God thing.” A copier, a piano, furniture, electrical supplies, sound system, sanctuary chairs, nursery preschool supplies, tables, chairs, office furniture, and anything of which you may think.

Several months later, a house in the subdivision, behind building B, came available. We rented it and made a nursery preschool and children’s ministry building out of it. There were countless hours of painting, building, stacking, and mopping. I have never known a harder working, committed, or godly people, than the folks of Woodlake. They had a mind to work.

In October of 2005 we had our charter member service. One hundred twelve people signed the charter member document. We also have had many who have come to us over the last eighteen years that have moved on, or gone to be with the Lord. All sent here by God for whatever amount of time to help us do kingdom work. We are grateful for every person that came and help us grow.

I was always grateful for the warehouse because it kept us from setting up and taking down for every service. We also had a place to call home. The office had permanence, and we put ourselves on the map. We soon picked up folks from Annistown, Mountain Park and other local churches. Many were moving into this area and gave us a needed boost.

I knew that God had put it on my heart to have enough land to never be land locked. I didn’t want the church to ever have to move again. We soon began looking for land. Before we knew it, the property we are now on became available. One of our members saw the for-sale sign and called me. The trustees and I met on the property and wondered how we would ever get a million dollars to buy it. Some how, The Community Bank of Loganville allowed us to buy the land. We were running about 175 people at the time. I still say I have never seen a group of people so committed. On February 14th, 2007, we purchased the land on which we now reside. In four short years we had paid the loan on the land down to about 350 thousand dollars.

The biggest bump in the road was the economy. After the economy dropped off, the value of the land fell as well (2008). We wanted to get a building on the land so we could grow and have the space we needed. The economy was in the tank and we were out of space. We did have decent facilities, but it’s
hard to grow when you are in a warehouse and 8 years old. The bank just said no.

We seemed to always be about 250 thousand dollars short on collateral or funds. We were stuck. Then it happened again. God showed up in a big way. We received the “pay it forward funds” from First Baptist Grayson. The funds were originally given to Wieuca Road Baptist for a recreational facility and training for the volunteers. After Wieuca Road paid for their facilities, they paid the money forward to First Baptist Grayson. They built a family life center, and then saved the same amount of money that had been given to them, and passed it forward again. We were the recipients of this awesome gift. All this was started by an anonymous donor who lived long enough to see the gifts passed on three times. Woodlake has since raised 250 thousand dollars and passed it on again to a great church in NC.

Shortly after this awesome gift, we broke ground, and in a short 10 months, we are here thanks to Garland and Associates and their subs. This happens to be the short version of all that has happened. My heart is filled with so many wonderful events, and a desire to give God all the glory, that if I told all the details, it would take many hours. The one thing that must be said here is that no man can do this alone. We have had our ups and downs and a few scraps along the way, but for the most part, we have had unity at WBC. The people are to be thanked and praised for their “mind to work.” The giving and working have been over and above in all categories.

A special thanks must be given to Lane Bridges for all his hard work and for watching over the project while we built it. Owen Daniel has also been a great asset with his advice and experience from a construction perspective. I thank the staff for their hard work and being flexible no matter where we were or what we had to do.

I have great people all the way around but I must also thank the greatest new church resource in America today. I call them the untapped resource. Senior Adults! They have desire, maturity, money, ideas, spiritual maturity, energy, and leadership. We have told them to sit quietly in the corner long enough. If you want to start a church and be successful, get a group of bible thumping Senior Adults. They get stuff done.

With this being said, we dedicate this building to the glory of God and His kingdom. I ask my deacons to come forward to help me anoint my pulpit and this building. They gladly came, and we did just that.
The oil represents the healing power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This was simply our way of recognizing our need for the Spirit’s power and presence in the House of God. I pray that WBC will be a place where hurting families will come to hear the life-saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that there are people in this community that need us and our God. I pray we are a place of encouragement and love. I pray we leave a legacy.

As of 2023, we are in our 18th year. I pray we will continue to grow and see many people saved. Each week, I stand to preach the Word of God with expository messages for our good and His glory. We have a full ministry program from top to bottom and dedicated Christians who passionately work for the kingdom. I am grateful for all their love and support. I love being their Shepherd. We would all love to be your church family too.

~Pastor Jerry Grey~