How to donate
Cross Plain Missionary Baptist Church is raising funds to build a new sanctuary. Donations may be mailed to the church. Volunteers also are needed to clear the land.
Address: Cross Plain Baptist Church, c/o Kevin Brown, 3230 Cross Plains Road, Gainesville, GA 30507
More info: 770-519-8226
When Harvey Young first came to Cross Plain Missionary Baptist Church as a child, he arrived by mule and wagon.
After 66 years, the church has changed a lot.
“Times have change and ... it’s about time for us to go into a different building,” Young said.
Now chairman of the deacon board, Young and fellow church leaders are hoping to build a new sanctuary as part of their vision for future generations.
But first the church has to clear a few hurdles as well as land.
The first hurdle was getting the Hall County Board of Commissioners to rezone the land for the new sanctuary. It was zoned as light industrial and agricultural-residential, but the church sought to have it rezoned as agricultural-residential only. The County Commission approved the plan Thursday.
With both blessings, Cross Plain can begin clearing the land, raising money and devising a construction plan.
Built in 1962, Cross Plain’s current sanctuary has required a lot of money for maintenance. Rather than put money into the aging structure, the church decided to build a new one.
“We just assume that it would be better to build rather than just putting new wine in an old bottle,” Young said.
Therefore, the church is kicking off a campaign to raise about a half million dollars for the project while celebrating its 138th birthday this year.
“We also saw that as a blessing,” said Kevin Brown, board of trustees chairman and music minister at Cross Plain. “We didn’t have to pay a penny (for the property) and we got some more land. It basically doubles the size of the land we have here right now.”
While no formal building plans have been drawn, Brown said some rough drafts have been sketched. The church hopes to build a 9,000-square-foot building to double its size. The new single-story sanctuary will be built on adjoining property donated by Hanson Aggregates, a nearby quarry.
“We really don’t want to have a basement,” Brown said. “We have a lot of seniors, and we don’t want to be going up and down stairs.”
The current building will be used for education and other events. For example, church leaders hope the larger facility will allow Cross Plain to host events for the Northwest Baptist Association.
Brown admits the congregation hasn’t outgrown its current facility, but said a new sanctuary helps the church prepare for its future.
“We can’t build the church just for us,” he said. “We want to build it for our children and our children’s children, just like those who came before us.”
He explained Cross Plain has always looked to improve the facility. In his more than 20 years as a member, he’s seen big and small improvements. The pews have been padded with cushions, the choir stand expanded, lighting and sound systems improved and an organ added.
“But it’s time for bigger and better things,” he said.
Young agreed, noting the church didn’t always have a kitchen.
“I can remember, as a little boy, that we all had to take turns fanning the food to keep the flies off the food,” Young said. “That was one of our main jobs. I used to hate that job.”
At 138 years old, church members understand the facility must evolve with the times and progress to be around for another 100 years.
“It had to take a lot of other people before us to have the same vision to look ahead,” Brown said. “That’s what we’re trying to do ... when we’re gone we want the church to still prosper and grow.”
Leaders also understand they need fresh faces in the church to survive. Raleigh V. Reid, assistant chairman of the deacon board, hopes the new sanctuary will attract a new and more diverse congregation.
“This has really been a family church here, and we really want it to become a whole people’s church to be able to pray and serve the Lord together,” he said. “That’s one of our hopes and dreams.”
To make the dream happen, the church is accepting donations of time and money from congregation and community members. Church leaders said they also are looking for people to help clear the land for the new sanctuary. Brown said donations can also be made in exchange for wood.
“We know it’s going to happen,” Brown said of the new sanctuary. “When God is ready for it to happen, He will make it happen.”