You may not be aware that this entire month our city of Mountain Brook has been celebrating its 75th anniversary. (I have to admit that it slipped up on me as well.) While May 24 is the precise anniversary date, local schools, businesses, and organizations have been marking the moment with various activities, each designed to celebrate our city’s story.
I do hope that our church members have been active in these celebratory functions because of how vital this community is to the mission of our church. “Neighborhood” churches like ours must put down deep roots into their communities in order to ensure their long-term viability. That’s not to say that the reach of Mountain Brook Baptist Church stops at the city limits, but it is to say that if we aren’t effective in reaching the Mountain Brook community, our witness will not be nearly as effective as it needs to be.
Moreover, our own church’s story is inextricably tied to that of our community. Go back to the decade of the 1940s and you will read how World War II had made gasoline rationing necessary so that most citizens were limited to five gallons a week, a limitation which resulted in sharp declines in church attendance from “over the mountain” residents. As a result, in February 1943, the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now, the North American Mission Board) called on Southside Baptist Church to sponsor a Baptist mission church in the Crestline Heights and Mountain Brook area. Consequently, the HMB purchased a lot on Jackson Avenue in front of Crestline Elementary School, where the Mountain Brook Baptist Church was formally constituted on September 3, 1944, some two years after the city of Mountain Brook was established. The church remained in that location until 1951, when the church relocated to our present location at the corner of Overbrook and Montevallo.
It’s important to note that as our city has grown, so has our church. There is no question but that our congregation has benefitted immensely from the strength and stability of this community, and I’d like to think that over the course of time our church has made Mountain Brook a better place to live. In fact, I’m certain of it.
So, on this signal anniversary, let us celebrate how far Mountain Brook has come from being a sleepy village to a robust center of economic, educational, and philanthropic accomplishment. But let us also consider how our church can leverage our strategic location in this community, along with our incredible array of talents and abilities, to move Mountain Brook to even greater heights, not only in terms of those various civic arenas but also in terms of moving our community closer to the cause of Christ. After all, that’s why God planted our church here in the first place, and the surest sign of our faithfulness to that holy calling will be whatever we can do to make God’s Kingdom come and His will be done here in Mountain Brook, as it always is in heaven.
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jer. 29:7).