Frequently Asked questions

What is the difference between Cornerstone and Backlot, the two worship services at Briarlake?

Cornerstone is our traditional worship service that utilizes a choir, an orchestra, and a beautiful pipe organ. Many of the songs in this service can be found in the hymnal. This worship service is in our Sanctuary filled with natural light. 


Backlot on the other hand, is usually led by a full band, and sings contemporary worship anthems. It is located in the back of the church campus, and is converted to our basketball courts during the winter.


The sermon is the same in both worship services.


How can I find a Life Group?

Click the Connect tab at the top of this page! We have many types of Life Groups. Many of the Life Groups meet on Sunday morning, but others meet during the week at various locations. 


How do I learn more about what there is to offer my family at Briarlake Church?

Check out the Briarlake Kids and Student Ministry sections of our site. You'll get a glimpse of what Briarlake offers children throughout the year. Also, you can contact the ministry directors of the appropriate ministry for more information.


How do I become a member of Briarlake Church? 

In the most simple and direct terms, membership at Briarlake Church is a spiritual commitment to believe in and follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord along with a desire to walk in fellowship with the Briarlake congregation.


Trusting Jesus as Savior and Lord and professing your faith publicly through believer’s baptism is a Biblical and meaningful way to express your faith and desire to join Briarlake Church. Click on this link to learn more about believer’s baptism.


If you are already a follower of Christ and have already been baptized by immersion as a believer, then you can join by transferring your letter of membership from another church of similar faith and practice, or by statement of your faith if no such record is available.


One of the most convenient ways to join the Briarlake Church family is to stop by the Starting Point Station after one of our Sunday worship services and express your intent to join by filling out a membership card. 


Once we have received your completed membership card, you will be invited to one of our membership classes that are conveniently offered on an as-needed basis immediately after the Worship Services. Those who have previously filled out a Membership Card will receive special notification and an invitation to the New Member’s Class in advance.


After you attend the New Member’s Class, you will have an opportunity to turn in your membership card and discuss your interest in membership with a staff member. It is our desire to grow as a church and to help those who sincerely wish to grow closer to Christ by offering the benefits of membership in a dynamic church family of faith like Briarlake.  


Do I have to be a member first to volunteer?

No, you do not need to be a member of Briarlake to volunteer. But we do require a background check on volunteers serving with children. We also recommend going through the Living Your Strengths assessment and class to find out the ideal volunteer position for you.


I am interested in using your facilities. How can I submit a request?

Please email Shirley Poulton at s-poulton@briarlakechurch.org Be sure to include as many details as possible about the facility needs. 


What is the history of Briarlake Church? 

Though 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, Briarlake began a new journey with the pastoral leadership of Tommy Ferrell. 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 States.


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; Merida, Mexico; Bluffton, South Carolina; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Connecticut.