What is the history of Briarlake Church?
Briarlake is innovative and relevant in order to reach people in our
post-modern culture, the church has actually been in existence for over
50 years. On the first Sunday of February 1958, 125 people met at
Briarlake Elementary School for the purpose of starting Briarlake
Baptist Chapel with sponsorship from the Clairmont Hills Baptist Church
and the Atlanta Baptist Association.
Clay Manley served as the mission pastor until the church
constituted on August 2, 1959. On August 2, 1959, Hoffman Harris was
called as pastor and served in that role until his retirement in 1988.
Ground was broken in October 1959 for Briarlake's first building, a
chapel seating 250. In the years to come, five educational buildings, a
sanctuary seating 950, activities building, a ball field and tennis
courts would be added.
Accepting the church's call to become their second pastor, Don
Bouldin began his ministry on November 5, 1989 and served until January
1999. Briarlake's third pastor, Bill Patterson, served from June 2000
through July 2002.
On Sunday September 26, 2004, Dr. Tommy Ferrell became the pastor
of Briarlake, serving until February 2021. In 2005, the activities
building was renovated to accommodate the church's new contemporary
styled worship service, Backlot. Other renovations have occurred to keep
the campus relevant and appealing.
Throughout its history Briarlake has been missions-minded, with
strong support of the Cooperative Program and in sending out mission
teams to North American and international mission sites. Briarlake
sponsored the establishment of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in DeKalb
County; Atkinson Road Baptist Church in Gwinnett County; and has given
financial support to numerous other mission churches across the United
Three ethnic congregations, Hispanic, Arabic and Mandarin
Chinese, have been started at Briarlake. Beginning as a Sunday School
class in 1979, the Hispanic work grew, moved from Briarlake into a
modular building in Norcross in 1996, and then into its own facility in
1998, constituted as the New Jerusalem Baptist Church. In 2007 the
Chinese congregation relocated to Gwinnett County in order to be closer
to Mandarin population clusters.
Briarlake’s emerging mission and church planting strategy centers
around church to church mission partnerships, which include sending
financial support as well as short term mission teams from Briarlake to
serve alongside indigenous churches both in the United States and
internationally. We currently have mission partnerships in Capetown,
South Africa; Hyderabad, India; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Bluffton, South
Carolina; and Connecticut.