In 1958 the Homewood church of Christ purchased property on top of Shades Mountain on Alford Avenue with visions of beginning a new congregation in this area. Establishment of the congregation was spearheaded by Bill Baxley and Jim Gambill. These men personally visited with each family in the Bluff Park area who were members of the Ensley, Homewood, or West End congregations to see if they would be interested in forming a congregation here on the mountain. As a result, and with the full support of the Homewood congregation, a group of about forty families banded together to establish the Shades Mountain church of Christ. Nine of those original families, representing fifteen individuals, are still members at Shades Mountain church of Christ.
The congregation first met in the Bluff Park Community Center at 517 Cloudland Drive on Sunday, October 2, 1960. Less than a year later the brethren had moved into the building at the present location at 959 Alford Avenue.
Over the past fifty years, eight preachers have served the Shades Mountain congregation. Robert Turner was the pulpit preacher who served the first year of the congregation’s existence from 1960-1961. Franklin Camp came in 1962 not long after the building was built and stayed until 1972. For a period of time after 1972, brother Camp remained as a member of the congregation and was supported by Shades Mountain to teach and write. Franklin died in 1991. Rex Moorer labored with the brethren here from 1972-1974. In December of 1974, Dan Jenkins came to serve as the pulpit preacher at Shades Mountain. Dan was no stranger to the congregation because they had supported Dan and his family in the mission field of New Zealand for 18 months prior to his move to Birmingham. Yarbrough Leigh came to the church here in 1982 and served until 1990. Yarbrough passed away in 2000 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. From 1990-1991 Dale Willis worked with the congregation. And in 1991, Fred House came from Tennessee to preach for Shades Mountain. Fred remained until November of 1998 when he moved to Fulton, Mississippi to preach for the Lord’s people there. Then Mel Futrell, our present preacher, moved here from Columbia, South Carolina in February of 1999.
For the last fifty years the Shades Mountain church of Christ has not ceased to be actively involved in both local and foreign evangelism. The congregation’s evangelistic efforts have literally been world-wide. In addition to these labors, the congregation has aided scores of men in training to become gospel preachers while attending a variety of brotherhood preacher training schools. These works are currently overseen by Rick Hale, Lester Wright, Jim Hooper and David Day.
The Shades Mountain church of Christ continues to stand fast in the true faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) and to preach the word (2 Timothy 4:2). While many congregations have wavered and waffled in regard to the truth, this body of believers remains dedicated to Jesus Christ and His cause.
Don Thornton – Hong Kong
L.T. Gurganus — Ukraine & SE Asia
Jim Waldron - India
Stacy Ferguson - Pacific Islands Bible College
Caunr Gregory - Memphis School of Preaching
Steve Gober - World Bible School
Gavin Bearden - Northwest Florida School of Biblical Studies