The history of MeadowBrook Church started in 1951 when Baptist leaders from the Montgomery Baptist Association and the Etowah Baptist Association determined the need to plant a church to minister to the growing community.

Seven years later, nearly 9 acres was purchased with the help of the First Baptist Church of Gadsden, the Etowah Baptist Association and the Alabama Baptist State Executive Board.

On Aug. 23, 1959, that dream came to fruition as MeadowBrook Baptist Church held its first service in a borrowed tent. Margaret McDaniel’s family came from First Baptist to help start the new church. She vividly remembers that day.

“It was hot and humid, sawdust on the floor. But the tent was full, and everyone was so excited, there was such an atmosphere of adventure,” McDaniel recalled.

The church gathered under a tent — 60 years and two days later — with that same sense of adventure and excitement. This time, members met reflecting on 60 years of successful ministry and looking forward to new opportunities to minister for decades to come through the construction of a new worship complex.

The construction of a new worship complex is a vision that has been more than 13 years in the making. In 2006, the church moved from its sanctuary to the church gym, which had been converted for Sunday gatherings, anticipating the future construction of a new worship complex. However, sensing a need to pause just prior to the economic downturn in 2008, the project was put on hold.

Pastor Randy Gunter and church leaders began to reevaluate the best way to approach a large building project. Through much prayer and consideration, it was determined to wait and raise money in hopes of building the new building debt free in order to reduce the financial limitations that a debt of that magnitude could have on the church’s ability to minster.

Gunter expressed that the goal is to not only build a space for worship that reflects the magnitude and glory of God, but to do so without any restrictions on MeadowBrook’s ability to serve our community and global mission partners. The anniversary celebration on Aug. 25 coincided perfectly with the ground breaking for the new building.

Having raised three-quarters of the money required to build the new facility, MeadowBrook is beginning construction with faith that the money required will be completely raised by the end of construction in late 2020.

Construction will be underway while local and global ministry efforts such as Way of the Cross, Open Hands, Serve Days, Good News Clubs and the eight to 12 international trips the church takes annually on five different continents continue at a record pace.

MeadowBrook’s founding was inspired by the goal to reach the community with God’s love, and that same goal continues to be the driving purpose 60 years later.

Kristi Nichols is children’s minister and Daniel Doak is communications minister at MeadowBrook Church.