WHERE WE'VE BEEN
From the outside looking in, Harris Creek appears to be a church plant or a fairly new church. In reality, we are one of the oldest churches in Waco and have been a church for over 135 years. In 1872, Aquilla and Delila Jones gave a 1.6 acre site for the construction of a new church, schoolhouse, and cemetery in the McGregor area (just outside of Waco, Texas), which is now known as Harris Creek Baptist Church. The official date of the constitution for Harris Creek was 1879, but church services were held in the Jones' home prior to this date. On Friday, August 8, 1879, the church was granted full membership into the Leon River Baptist association.
The church experienced initial success after its formation, but went through a period of decline and eventually ceased meeting from 1893–1904. However, under new leadership, the church was reconstituted and received full membership into the Waco Baptist Association in September of 1904. That year the church reported 30 members, an offering of $70.05, and nine people were baptized. Obviously many things have changed over the past century.
Among the many unique facts in Harris Creek’s history is the period of time between 1932 and 1960. This is when the church shared their facility with a Methodist congregation. The church alternated between a Methodist and Baptist preacher on Sundays, and the two congregations even held joint revival meetings each summer under the spread of an oak tree. In 1960, the Methodist congregation decided they had enough resources to sustain themselves, so they replanted their own church, once again. This forced the existing members of Harris Creek to make some decisions. At the time, there were only 13 members left that belonged to the congregation. This small group of people had to decide whether to close their doors or re-launch the church in a new direction. They ultimately decided to keep the doors open and kept Harris Creek alive during these lean years.
The next two decades brought stability and slow, but steady, growth to the church. Based on this growth, a new brick sanctuary was constructed in 1977 on the original site of the first church building. The 1990s brought on more growth with the average worship attendance growing from 65 to 150 people. The annual budget doubled in this time period, as well, and the church moved to two worship services. In 2004, the church felt led to, once again, imagine where God was calling them in the future. These discussions led to even larger changes that truly shaped what Harris Creek is today.
Through a number of conversations, the church adopted a new constitution and moved to an elder model of leadership. In 2007, Harris Creek made another big move by building a new facility and moving from its historic location to the current location of our Sunwest Campus on Highway 84. Over the past few years, the church has experienced rapid growth, which meant undergoing additional changes. In 2011, Harris Creek launched the Downtown Campus in the heart of Waco marking the move to a multi-site approach to ministry.
Through all the changes, the current leadership, elders and staff, simply want to be good stewards of the storied history that has been entrusted to us. We are thrilled to add new chapters to Harris Creek’s story and desire to be faithful to our mission of seeking the welfare of the city.