by Cass DuCharme

As the old saying goes, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  Highland Hills Baptist Church has been on a journey for almost 59 years. The very first step was taken when five couples met to talk about a new church on “this side of the river.” Since those early years, we have continued to take many “first steps” together. Some of those steps have included buying a piece of property and meticulously caring for it, calling pastors who have helped us grow physically and spiritually, becoming a part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, becoming one of the first churches to financially support The McAfee School of Theology, ordaining women to the ministry and as deacons of our church, and sending our church members to minister through missions in Macon and all over the world.

One of the greatest steps our church has taken was calling Jim Dant to be our pastor 15 years ago. His leadership took us through many first steps including increasing women’s leadership roles in the church, dedicating babies by walking them down the aisle, making our worship services more liturgical, introducing the burning of the Palms and Ash Wednesday services, and his thought provoking twelve-minute sermons. I’m hoping we can stick with the twelve-minute part for years to come. Jim has helped make our church what it is today; a church that truly loves everyone where they are and blesses the gifts that God has bestowed on them.

Jim will surely be missed, but with his leaving, our church must now take the next “first step” on our journey together. Under the leadership of our deacons, led by Jim Netherton, steps are being taken to secure committees who will find for us our interim pastor and the next pastor of our church. This part of the journey may take a little while, but I am confident that the next step in the life of our church will be taken just like the steps before, with much prayer, support, love, and vision of what God wants our church to be.

Please keep our church, deacons, and staff in your prayers as we continue on this journey. The first step is always the hardest. I’m glad we’re taking it together.