Chattanooga's Highland Park Baptist Church relocating and changing its name to "Church of the Highlands"

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

This story is posted in two places. Perhaps the mods can combine the threads so the discussion is united.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Not surprising to me. I was leery of attending TTU when I started my grad work in 1999, after the turmoil and direction the school had chosen in the late 80s and early 90s. However, I was reassured by a board member I knew that the school was back on track and firmly re-entrenched in the fundamentalist camp. Unfortunately, my three summers on campus attending the school and church revealed a number of things that caused me to believe the direction of the institutions had not reverted but simply slowed.


On a side note, it was notable to me that the story related the decision to relocate, change names and shift philosophy was made without congregational consent. I hope that is simply an oversight in the report.


The AACS national office used to rent space on campus in the old medical facility. Does anyone know if the AACS relationship with the school and  church is going to continue?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Charlie's picture

Another church will buy the existing property and the Highland Park neighborhood will be even more effectively reached for Christ.

This made me laugh. It sounds like, "Whoever buys this church couldn't possibly do a worse job than we did!"

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Jim's picture

My guess is that the neighborhood has changed and that suburbanites are driving into the city for services.

I'm sure they have done their homework: where their people live ... where it is best for them to be .. etc .

So I will not criticize them for moving.

I used to live in that neighborhood: 1111 South Holly Street. It was a duplex at the time.

Jim's picture

  • Once (30 years ago) had 57,000 members
  • Its $3.7 million, 5,700-seat Bailey Avenue auditorium -- completed in 1981 -- and seven other buildings will be liquidated
  • only nine families in the church still live in Highland Park
  • a plurality of its members -- its weekly attendance is 370 -- live in the Harrison/Ooltewah area.
  • The property where the congregation will erect a multipurpose building, with a large glass window overlooking the bay, adjoins the church's Camp Joy
  • The church has become a "drive-in church" and, despite trying many different things, has not been able to minister effectively in its neighborhood
  • the long-range planning committee, the deacons and a diverse group of members unanimously approved the relocation plan

One has to feel for the church where you have 370 people rattling around in an 5,700 seat auditorium!

Jonathan Charles's picture

I lived in Chattanooga from 1989 to 1998. from the era of Jennings into Bouler.  While the church did run a bus ministry, no other effort was made to reach the community in which it was placed.  While their are surely lost people out in Harrison, TN, the white suburbs have more churches than you can shake a stick out, especially in the south.  There is a large Southern Baptist Church already there, Bayside Baptist Church.  The gospel is desperately needed in the Highland Park neighborhood.  I left in 1998 but have returned over the years and the neighborhood is still rife with poverty, drugs and prostitution. 

But I also understand that the church, whose budget according to the Hamilton Baptist Association is only $750,000/yr. can no longer afford to spend $350,000/yr. to maintain buildings they no longer need: 4 church auditoriums, an office building and 2 S.S. classroom buildings. 

It is sad to see what has become of HPBC/TTU; it didn't need to be this way.   

Robert Byers's picture

I was present at a meeting in 1980 when Dr. Lee Roberson spoke about what was then the under construction 5,700 seat auditorium.  It was designed and engineered, he told us, so that a balcony could be added later to accommodate an even larger crowd. 

The fact that less than 400 people now attend Highland Park is staggering.


Jonathan Charles's picture

Their present auditorium no longer holds 5700.  A major renovation downsized the auditorium.  While it was originally built debt free, due to the recent renovation, the bank now owns most of the building.