Our purpose, where we've come from, and where we're headed as a church family
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. (Luke 10:27)
What an exciting time to be in God's church! The world is battling through a time of uncertainty, misplaced authority, distrust, and an identity crisis. All of this results in a people who are longing to be loved, guided, and changed.
We whole-heartedly believe God has called Parkway to make a difference in this community. This can be done from a church that is not concerned about our own needs but rather the needs of those around us.
In 2014 we launched our new purpose statement which God has established in our church: Love God. Love People. The continual establishment of God's Word as the final authority in our church and the extension of the love of Jesus to those around us is key to the success of our ministry.
At Parkway it is our desire to develop a spirit and attitude of worship that permeates our day-to-day lives. Sunday mornings provide an incredible atmosphere for corporate worship, and we are encouraged to take that same adoration with us throughout the week.
We also encourage each of our members and regular attenders to be discipled. Our goal is to provide this in many facets; adult connection classes, Bible study, prayer groups, the Discover Parkway class, and through one-on-one discipleship.
To truly love people we have to come out of ourselves and sacrifice for the benefit of another. Every member of Parkway Baptist Church is encouraged to have a ministry in the church and a ministry beyond our walls. We help assess everyone's spiritual gifts so they can be plugged in to that which they enjoy and are most passionate about.
We realize we are not the only good church in Lakeland. However, we have been commissioned and challenged to make a difference in our community. Our heartbeat is to communicate the Gospel message with love and compassion.
In 1978, Highlands Baptist Church was founded by Johnny King at People's Baptist Church, an outreach of the Bible Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. The church originally began meeting in the Lakeland High School band room. In July of 1978, the church bought the old property of the First Baptist Church of Highlands City, FL. The church reorganized and changed its name to Highlands Baptist Church.
One year later, in July of 1979, the church called John Richardson to be their new pastor. In 1980 the church moved to a location on New Tampa Highway where they changed their name to Liberty Baptist Church. While on New Tampa Highway, the church experienced many good years of growth and productivity.
In 2003, Liberty was in need of bigger facilities to accommodate their growth. It was then that God led Temple Baptist Church to contact Pastor Richardson with a proposal. Temple had plenty of facilities, but no pastor to shepherd the flock. After much prayer and consideration, the two churches merged together and reclaimed the name of Highlands Baptist Church.
Two years later, in March of 2005, God led New Testament Baptist Church to also join together with Highlands Baptist Church. Through both mergers it was truly amazing to see the unity of the people at Highlands.
In October of 2012, God brought Peter and Natalie Grant from Macon, Georgia to team with Pastor Richardson in the ministry at Highlands. The church voted unanimously in September 2013 to make Peter the Co-Pastor with the intent of becoming the Lead Pastor after Pastor Richardson's retirement. On July 26, 2015, Pastor John Richardson announced his retirement, and Peter Grant became the Lead Pastor of Highlands Baptist Church.
In April of 2018, after several years of rapid growth, the church changed its name to Parkway Baptist Church for the purpose of more effectively reaching Lakeland and the surrounding area.
What's the bottom line? More than ever, Parkway Baptist Church is committed to fostering a family built around God's Word. Because of this, we have hope for the future. A vision for better. Expectations of progress. Excitement about Who Jesus is and what He can do. And as we move forward as a church family, inclusion and belonging remain at the center of who we are as followers of Christ. We're excited to continue making an impact in the community for the glory of God!
What does this mean for you? Most importantly, you're always welcome at Parkway Baptist Church. We're saving a seat for you. Wherever you're at in your faith journey, you'll always be accepted as part of the Parkway family.
Beyond that, if you're ready to plan your first visit, click here. If you want to learn more about our beliefs as a church, click here. Or if you'd simply like to get in touch with a person on our lead team directly, click the button below.