STATHAM, Ga. — In 2019, Tommy Fountain, Sr., pastor of 1025 Church in Monroe, began to be impressed by the Lord to expand his church to have four new campuses. The prospect of fulfilling that vision was temporarily interrupted by the pandemic, but with faith and determination, Fountain never abandoned his vision.
His giftedness in the areas of preaching, church growth, assimilating an effective staff, shepherding a flock, motivating people to serve; and fundamentally his desire to seek and follow God’s will most assuredly lead to an extension of his ministry from Walton County into the town of Statham and Barrow County.
As Fountain was praying for direction about the next step in his quest for extending his church’s ministry to another campus, he discovered that First Baptist Church Statham had an aging congregation, had suffered a significant setback due to the COVID- 19 virus, and was seeking a pastor.
Chris Conner, the missionary for the Apalachee Baptist Association, was working with the Statham church to help them find out how they could ensure for their small congregation a secure future. When other options looked unfeasible, Conner suggested the possibility of merging with another church and was aware of Fountain’s goal of adding another campus to 1025 Church.
Conner was aware of the strength of the church Fountain served and described him as a leader, enthusiastic, focused and Kingdom-minded. The 1025 pastor and staff began a dialogue with the lay leadership of the Statham church and by the second quarter of this year it was mutually agreed that First Baptist Church Statham would become a second campus for 1025 Church.
Todd Gaddis, who was serving as interim pastor of the Statham Church at the time the decision was made to merge the two churches, stated, “Under the leadership of Tommy Fountain, Sr. the new venture will surely make a great impact in Statham and beyond.”
The leadership of 1025 Church resolved to call the new campus 1025 Church Statham and enthusiastically launched a renovation makeover for the new campus. The red brick exterior of the church was painted with fresh coats of grey paint. A large, beautifully constructed church sign identifying the merger with the Monroe church was strategically placed in front of the newly acquired facility identifying the campus as 1025 Church Statham.
The nursery of the church was completely refurbished, because 1025 Church has a strong and passionate interest in attracting young families to the Statham campus as it has successfully accomplished at the Monroe campus where a concentrated appeal is constantly being made to reach every demographic and all generations.
The shrubbery and trees that were obscuring much of the building from those who drove by the facility were removed and replaced with Indian hawthorns, Encore azaleas, Drift roses, Knock Out roses, Canyon Creek abelia, kaleidoscope abelia, muhly grass, and creeping phlox. Fresh sod was also added, and the revitalized transformation has greatly enhanced the attractiveness of the new 1025 campus.
The cost of the renovation was approximately $160,000, but Fountain explained that much of the work was done by members of his church that likely saved them another $100,000.
Fountain and his leadership team did not embrace the concept that “if you build it, they will come.” They prayed and put feet to their prayers by canvasing 600 homes on two separate occasions in the month prior to the first service. In that first service, the church observed the ordinance of baptism, an 18-year-old was saved, a 79-year-old man was saved, and a new family joined the church. That is not surprising, because the 1025 church has baptized every Sunday for 16 consecutive weeks.
Fountain exclaimed that 217 people were present for the first service with only about 35 percent of them being members of 1025 Church Monroe. Some of the members at the Monroe campus will continue to be involved in the worship and ministry of the new church until it is well on its way to being a thriving congregation. Adam Schwarzenbach, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, will serve the new church as associate pastor, working under Pastor Fountain’s guidance. Amy McEachin will serve as ministry assistant.
1025 Church Statham will have the same worship style and music as the primary campus. A very talented group of Christian musicians will lead the worship time each Sunday morning. Ben Statham, another recent graduate of UGA, will serve as the worship leader. Furthermore, the sermons will not be videoed on a screen, Pastor Fountain will be preaching live each Sunday morning at the 10:00 am service. He will also continue to preach at the 9:00 am and 11:00 am services at the Monroe campus.
Stephen Fountain, Tommy and Dianne Fountain’s son who is pastor of First Baptist Church in Buford commented, “Praying for the Old Man as he starts preaching three times at two campuses. It’s pretty unreal to see how God continues to use him.”
“A kingdom-minded pastor,” as Chris Conner described him, Tommy Fountain, Sr. understands the words of our Lord who said, “I must work the words of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes when no man can work” (John 9:4).