From conception, Grace Baptist Church of Georgia emerged with marvelously rich history. Partially emanating from within the well-established powerful legacy of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, hundreds of believers as well as many new parishioners joined together in pursuit of a higher calling and expanded vision. Together, they launched out to do an even greater work on behalf of the causes of Christ. Led by Reverend Clinton McFarland, the vibrant congregation represents not a beginning but the continuation of a century of determined commitment and faithfulness to God’s Kingdom. Filled with a hunger and thirst for God, many others in the metropolitan Atlanta area also embraced the charge upon a son of God who promised years ago to do His will.
In 2009 Reverend McFarland was consecrated as Pastor of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church of Atlanta after an exhaustive search by church leaders. Upon examination and review of many qualified candidates, Reverend McFarland emerged as the most qualified and experienced aspirant with a proven track record of effectiveness in many areas. As a result of this transfer of leadership, Mt. Pleasant experienced phenomenal growth in all areas. In March of 2012 Rev. McFarland led the church into a major expansion by establishing an additional location in the Lithonia, GA community. Hundreds of new members became connected to this Lithonia church.
Over the course of six years he, along with the members of Mt. Pleasant, had gratefully benefited from the grace of God as He blessed the church with tremendous growth, stable finances, much-improved physical facilities and willing Kingdom workers. Even with tremendous success, Reverend McFarland admits bewilderment as he clearly received the mandate to resign as pastor of Mt. Pleasant Atlanta but continue the work that was started under his leadership in Lithonia. In obedience to God, and at peace with both the process and direction, he then made ready to embark upon the newer and challenging task assigned to his hands. On November 30, 2014, Pastor McFarland and the members of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church of Lithonia reorganized and became Grace Baptist Church of Georgia. The first worship service was convened in the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center on Rainbow Drive in Decatur, Georgia at 9:30 am. The atmosphere was jubilant as the auditorium filled to capacity with hopeful believers whose presence signaled willingness to remain aligned with a spiritual leader who, under the auspices of God Almighty, had deposited much into their spiritual growth since his arrival in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Each Sunday the numbers increased and the people embraced a yielded servant of God as described in Acts 2:47, “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” On the first Sunday in December 2014, Grace Baptist Atlanta convened service at the Mountainside Seventh Day Adventist Church as Pastor Saunders and the congregation graciously opened their doors to the ministry. So committed to the true purpose and existence of the church, the Grace congregation gladly welcomed the opportunity to–simply worship. More thankful than anything else, they had no problem continuing in faith as a “church without walls.” On December 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm, Grace Baptist Atlanta convened its first annual End of Year Service in the newly erected theatre of Southwest DeKalb High School. Again, the facility filled to capacity immediately.
Reverend McFarland declared that each edifice in which they worshipped would be sanctified and become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Grateful for the power and convenience of technology, Reverend McFarland convened Bible study and prayer calls using teleconference technology communication. A native of the digital age, he also maintained constant and close contact with the congregation and community through social media. With great enthusiasm, hundreds of individuals availed themselves to these modern-day methods of connection.
At the very first Sunday service at Mountainside it became necessary to add chairs in every available space in the sanctuary so that God’s children could share in the “Grace Experience.” The worshippers then overflowed outside of the sanctuary into the lobby area. Without complaint, the congregation remained encouraged and thanked God for another opportunity to gather and be used by Him. As in Nehemiah 4: 6, the Grace congregation had fully embraced a willingness to be led, to trust God, to worship Him with all of their being, and—TO WORK!
“In Pastor McFarland’s words, “Grace Baptist started with zero dollars” yet God again proved He will always provide. During its first month as a congregation, the faithful and unselfish giving among the people immediately began to generate sufficient funding for weekly operation and maintenance of a “shoestring”, yet highly capable administrative staff and a team of skilled musicians who minister under a powerful anointing each worship service. The message each Sunday reminded the people that God’s true banner over His Kingdom is love.
Eyes have not seen; ears have not heard what it is that God will accomplish through an obedient servant, a willing congregation and the indisputable power of the Holy Ghost in full operation within the hearts of this group of people!