After the Bristol Highway was expanded into four lanes, officials with the Southern Baptist Convention felt the need to start a new church in an area that was beginning to see a lot of growth.
The Rev. James Cambron, a bi-vocational church planter, told church officials he was available after feeling led to helping establish a new church along the highway.
On Oct. 26, 1986, 22 people met in Colonial Hill Health Care, which is now NHC Healthcare, after reading an ad that was run in the newspaper for the possibility of a new church. That group met again on Nov. 9 and voted to start a mission out of Pinecrest Baptist Church.
While they didn’t have a permanent home, the group held its first worship service on Nov. 16, 1986, marking the first official gathering of what would become Mountain View Baptist Church.
Twenty-five years later, the church has grown to have about 500 resident members and has moved from a temporary location at Tysinger Hampton & Partners Inc. to a space atop a hill overlooking Bristol Highway.
That milestone in the church’s history will be celebrated Sunday with Cambron’s returning to the pulpit after retiring at age 62. He’s 78 now.
Looking back at the last 25 years of service to the community, Cambron recalled the humble beginnings of Mountain View — a church that was born out of a desire to reach people rather than being based on a split or conflict among a congregation.
In short, Cambron said Mountain View began because the people knew there was work to be done.
“It’s just exciting to see God work. In the 25 years of this church, we have seen over 1,000 professions of faith in Jesus — that’s in all the ministries. We have baptized, locally, almost 500 people,” he said.
Two years after the Pinecrest mission formed, the church was officially constituted as Mountain View Baptist Church with a total of 114 charter members on April 17, 1988. A few years later, the church purchased the property where it now sits at 4005 Bristol Highway and moved to its permanent home there in 1993.
The church has grown significantly since then, both in terms of its members and the many ministries that are operated through Mountain View. Ministries include a daycare program, counseling services and ties to missionaries who work across the globe.
“It’s just very exciting to see what the Lord has done and be able to rejoice in that. A number of young men and women who grew up here in those early days are now in full-time Christian service,” Cambron said. “God isn’t finished here yet. The light’s still burning, the gospel is still being preached and another generation will continue this.”
That’s a sentiment that was echoed by Mountain View’s interim Pastor Rich Murray, who served as youth pastor at the church for more than seven years.
Murray believes the church is at a crossroads that will lead its people to many more years of service to the community.
“The best days are still ahead of us. Mountain View has reached numerous people, but I really believe with all of my heart that our best days are still ahead of us,” he said.
The anniversary service will begin at 11 a.m. Lunch will provided following the service. A church spokesman said all former members, visitors and friends of the church are welcome to attend the service.
For more information, visit www.mtnviewbaptist.com or call 282-3262.