In 1907, Reverend William Sellers (known locally as Uncle Billy) lived near a developing area of town just south of Birmingham, AL. The area became known as Shades Mountain. Reverend Sellers, burdened for local children and passionate about the Bible, began a Bible study under a prominent shade tree. As attendance swelled, the meetings moved into a nearby schoolhouse. The Bible study grew into a small congregation led by Sellers that, for nineteen years, met in that one room schoolhouse.
In 1911, four years after the first Bible study, the group formed White’s Chapel Baptist Church. Two years later they held their first service in the new chapel and renamed the church “Shades Mountain Baptist Church.”
Since Shades’ founding over 100 years ago, only five senior pastors have served the congregation: Rev. William Sellers, Rev. Hugh Chambliss, Dr. Carl J. Giers, Dr. Charles Carter, and current pastor Dr. Danny Wood. This strong legacy of pastoral leadership positioned Shades to be a light at home and abroad.
In 2002, after forty days of church-wide prayer and fasting, Dr. Wood unveiled the 2010 Vision. This expansive and bold vision challenged our members to live on mission, give to missions, and participate in mission projects around the globe. It was a local and global missions challenge to the church in hope that by the year 2010 Shades would: have missionaries serving in all 24 Time Zones, plant a churches in all 11 International Mission Board regions, do mission work in all 50 states, adopt a Strategic Focus City (NYC), and plant 5 Churches in the U.S. and 1 Church in Canada.
In March 2002, Shades hosted its first Global Impact Celebration (GIC), a five day conference with more than 50 missionaries from across the world. This inaugural event radically affected the church body by allowing members to know missionaries personally and to partner with them in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. GIC remains an important event in our church calendar every February/March.
When the goals of the 2010 Vision were complete, Dr. Wood presented Touch the World 2015, which combined evangelism with compassionate justice to address issues such as poverty, human trafficking, and homelessness. The great impact of Touch the World 2015 required focused work with specific partners in targeted places of need on five continents.
As 2013 came to a close we launched into a new season of active preparation for God’s next chapter of ministry for us. The Chapters Campaign set three goals to be completed by the end of 2016: complete the facility master plan, renovate older buildings, and pay off remaining debt. When we “Turn the Page” to 2017 we will have a blank sheet of paper! No facility issues. No debt payments. We will be wide open asking, “God, what God-sized plans do you have for Shades?”
The ”God-sized plans” included a greater emphasis on reaching and serving our community and expanding our ministry to the 32 SEND Cities of North America. In 2018 we entered into NEXT… The Time is Now which centers around spiritual transformation and facility modification. All of us are being challenged to an increased level of bible engagement, gospel conversations, missions participation, and sacrificial giving. Our 30-year-old worship center is being remodeled and our lobby is being repurposed with a completion date scheduled for the end of September!
In the midst of this, we strive to be a church sending transformed people who influence their world for Christ.