Building God a new house

Reverend Lamar Lee evangelized for eight to ten years before he started pastoring full time. He came to Baxley to pastor the Baxley Church of God in 2006. He is originally from Hortense, Georgia.

“I feel like it’s been one year after another of renovations since I got here,” Rev. Lee said. “We are trying to better the looks and make it more modern and contemporary at the same time. We discussed again whether to remodel or totally rebuild. We had a vision in mind. We’ve always had a desire to build a new sanctuary, but the real need for one took place about four or five years ago. We were too full. About three years ago, we really got serious and started planning. We wanted something that every age demographic would be proud of, something that our folks would be proud of as well as the people who came in to worship with us. We wanted to tie all our buildings together. Everything is under one roof now. A canopy runs from the youth building to the sanctuary. Everything downstairs is complete, but we are still working upstairs. We still have to repave the old parking lot; at that point, everything will be new.”

It all started in the rainy season in 2019 along about January, but the actual construction work started in February or March of 2020. Several things slowed the construction process, not just the rain. The red tape of state codes played a role as well. Because the building can seat around 900 people, it fell under the supervision of Atlanta. The certificate of occupancy arrived the day before the grand opening. Rev. Lee admitted being just a bit nervous when it was so late, but all’s well that ends well.

A crowd of 500 attended the first service, which was really good for COVID times especially. They are planning a dedication of the sanctuary on March 28 at 10:30 and the state administrative bishop of the Church of God will do the service. Everyone is invited to attend and worship with them. The church has six full-time staff members and one part-time one.

The congregation has been growing for quite some time. Back before COVID started, Lee had around 80 adults in his Wednesday night class. COVID hasn’t been kind to them, to Lee himself actually. He had a serious case of the virus eight months ago, and he says he’s here today because so many people prayed for him. He saw the doctor this week and was delighted to find out that he still has antibodies in his blood to ward against the virus right now.

The Lee family consists of Lamar, his wife Kim, Landon (22), Lacey (14), and Logan. On March 7, Kim and Lamar will have been married for 29 years.

“She knows how to handle this life as a preacher’s wife,” Lee laughed. “After all, she was a PK (preacher’s kid). There were no preachers in my family though.”

The church has been 100 percent supportive and is a fantastic group of people. Everything has balanced throughout this project. There’s been no bickering as is expected in such a project.

“We have represented God the best way we can,” Lee said. “It is His house, not ours.”