History of TLBA

HISTORY OF TUSKEGEE LEE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION

The District Association is the oldest denominational body among Baptists, dating back to the 17th century in England.  Because they are autonomous, Baptist Churches tend to voluntarily seek out others of like mind for fellowship and cooperation in carrying out the Great Commission.

The churches of East Central Alabama began to come together in associations soon after they were organized by the pioneers that crossed the Chattahoochee to claim land formerly occupied by the Creek Indians.

The present Tuskegee Association, now 50 years old, is one of the modern extensions of associational work begun in this area in the 1840’s.  The present Tuskegee Lee is the result of the merger of the Tuskegee and Lee Associations in 1969.

On February 1, 1969, Rev. Paul Dixon was called as Director of Missions for both Lee Association and Tuskegee Association. Work began to merge the two associations into one. Tuesday, October 21, 1969 at 4:30 PM, messengers from the 33 churches and four missions of the recently disbanded Tuskegee and Lee Associations met at Auburn First Baptist Church for the 1st session of the Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association. The new association adopted a budget of $19,208.88. Rev. Dixon was installed as the first Director of Missions of the newly formed Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association. Rev. Dixon served the association from 1969 to 1980.

At the 1974 annual meeting, the association was asked to support the BSU budget. The policy adopted by the State Convention was that all BSU centers would be owned by the State Convention and all leadership personnel would be employed by the convention. Gradually over the next few years support was forthcoming until the BSU became established in the associational budget. Today the Tuskegee Lee Association gives 15% of gifts from the churches of the association to Baptist Campus Ministries.

Following the retirement of Rev. Paul Dixon, the association extended a call to Rev. Don Johnson. He accepted and began his work on March 1, 1980. His wife, Mary Alice Johnson, was employed as the office secretary. Rev. and Mrs. Johnson served in those ministries for the next twenty-six years. Both retired on July 31, 2006.

The permanent office building became a reality in 1987. It had been approximately 15 years since the West Point Pepperell Manufacturing Company had donated $1,500.00 toward the realization of an office building. Over the years the fund grew to $25,000.00. Several sites on Hamilton Road (currently Gateway Drive) were examined but found to be too expensive. One of the developers was contacted and he agreed to drop the requirement of 4,000 square feet to 3,000 square feet making a building more affordable. On June 7, 1987 a recommendation was presented to the Executive Committee that we contract with Henderson Realty and Construction Company to build a 3,000 square foot office building on a lot in Hamilton Place on Hamilton Road. The total cost of lot and building would be $157,500. On June 30, 1987 representatives from 14 churches voted unanimously to adopt the recommendation of June 7, 1987. Groundbreaking was held on July 7, 1987. A dedication/open house was held on Sunday, November 8, 1987.

Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 1994. The budget was $120,000. Of the 36 churches in the association, 18 had less than 200 total members and 23 have less than 200 resident members.

On April 15, 2007, Dr. Bill King became the third Director Missions for Tuskegee Lee Baptist Association. Dr. King and his wife, Jean, served for almost 15 years retiring on December 31, 2021.

In 2007, the interior of the association building was updated with new paint and new hardwood flooring in the front offices and hallways. Hardwood flooring was later added to the main meeting room and kitchen. In 2019, the counselors’ office was repainted and new hardwood flooring installed.

While Rev. Don Johnson served as Director of Missions, the association became involved in Disaster Relief ministry. The association’s first Disaster Relief trailer was bought and equipped in January 2000. Numerous Disaster Relief trips have been made by the association since then, all over the United States. In January 2015 a new and larger Disaster Relief trailer was bought and equipped.

Other than Disaster Relief mission trips, numerous other mission trips have been planned and carried out by the association since 2007. These have included ministry teams and construction teams. International trips have included Guatemala, Ukraine, and Haiti. Trips within the states have included Alaska, Mississippi, Texas, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Alabama. Besides those mission endeavors, since 2010, the association has partnered with Master Builders in yearly construction mission trips across the state, as well as in other states.

In 2008, the association entered into a partnership with The Alabama Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries to begin a counseling ministry at the association. The small meeting room was dedicated to this purpose. Scott Estes was hired as our counselor, to be in the office one day each week. Some years later this ministry was expanded to two days per week. In 2017, Sarah McCrory was added to the counseling ministry. Effective December 31, 2021 TLBA will not have a counselor onsite, however, Parkway Baptist & Opelika First Baptist will have counselors available by appointment.

The association continues to minister to pastors with a weekly minister’s meeting, annual retreat and other ministry related activities. The personnel at the TLBA office are available to assist churches and ministers as needed.