“The Decatur Highway Church of Christ exists to exalt Christ, equip the saints, and evangelize the lost.”
On May 3, 1981, the Decatur Highway Church of Christ began meeting in a rented building located on Highway 31 in Gardendale, Alabama. The church met in this location for fourteen months. The establishment of the church in Gardendale was a result of the work of Jack Black, Lewis Rice, and others who recognized the community of Gardendale as a fertile mission field. Brother Black served as the minister, and there were 40 in attendance for the first worship service. It became evident that classrooms were needed for Sunday School, and rooms were formed by curtain partitions. During Bible class, the teachers’ lessons were overheard from class to class, because there were no solid walls. The kitchen facility was used for the teen classroom and teen devotionals were held in the homes of various members. The church initially received some financial support from other congregations, but quickly became self-supporting and purchased property in 1982. The property was located on Moncrief Road. Plans had been drawn, the lot cleared, and groundbreaking was only two weeks away, when a church building with classrooms at 1750 Decatur Highway became available for purchase. The building had been in use only 11 months. The proposal to buy the building was presented to the congregation and a unanimous decision was made to purchase the building and property. The first meeting in the new facility was in August of 1982.
Since its early beginning, God has blessed Decatur Highway Church of Christ with solid growth, both spiritually and numerically. Since the property on Decatur Highway was purchased, 14 classrooms have been added and other rooms converted for various uses. The largest additions have been the new auditorium (January 1990), which will seat around 500, and a new fellowship facility (November 2000). In 1994, brother Black retired from his position as minister, and Mike Winkler was hired as pulpit minister. Mike and Pam Winkler served the church for six years. We thank God for them and their service. In 1999, Miles Stutts was hired to serve as pulpit minister. He and his wife, Carla, and children, Drew, Ella, and Abby, moved to Gardendale from Florence, Alabama. In 2004, the church went forward with a plan to expand the main auditorium. In December of 2004, the construction began. The new building would be able to seat over 1,000 people. It would also add several new classrooms and enhance the overall facility. The construction was completed and the main auditorium was re-opened in May of 2005. In March of 2005, brother Miles Stutts and his family left DHCC to move closer to their family. We are all very grateful for the service that Miles and his family offered to both us and the community. He will be missed. In May 2005, our youth minister, Michael Whisenant, took over the role as minister. He and his wife, Debbi, and children, Erin and Rachael, came to Decatur Highway from Arab, Alabama. He served Decatur Highway for five years. In February 2006, Paul Spurlin began his work with us as our associate minister and directed our youth program. He and his wife, Stephanie, came to Decatur Highway from Maryville, Tennessee. A daughter, Laney Rose, was added to their family on January 7, 2008. Paul served with us for four years. At the end of 2010 John McMath and his family (Angela, Taylor & Kaleigh) began working with DHCOC. As a church family we are happy and excited to begin working with him and his family. In April of 2011, Jared Johnston took on the task of serving as Youth Minister. He was joined in service by his wife, Martha and daughter, Jenna. Jared served with us until February 2012. In April 2012, Jordan Ware began his service with us as youth minister. He & his wife, Holly, have both grown up in the Decatur Highway family and now have taken on the task of working with the congregation on a full time basis. Jordan and Holly are blessed with two sons, Levi & Liam.
God has always blessed our elders with the wisdom necessary to lead Decatur Highway Church of Christ. Brother Black and brother Rice served as our first elders. The church now has three elders and eighteen deacons. We are certain that with God’s blessings, the wisdom and leadership of our elders, the ability to preach the gospel by brother John McMath, the desire and ability to work by our deacons, teachers, and the members of the congregation, we will continue to be blessed, as in the past, with spiritual and numerical increases.