Mars Hill Baptist Church

circa 1950

Mars Hill Church is one of the oldest established churches in Georgia. This church was established in July, 1799, not far from its present-day location in Oconee County, Georgia. At that time, the church was located at the very edge of the American Frontier and points west were referred to as "Indian Territory" on contemporary maps.

The church has historically served the community as a typical "country church" for most of its history. The church survived a devastating fire in 1995 when lightning struck the steeple and ignited the pine timbers from which the church was constructed. In just a few short hours, the building was reduced to cinders. The church membership agreed to rebuild the sanctuary and a new fellowship hall on the spot of the previous building, however, enlarging the size of the facility to accommodate the needs of a growing church. The new sanctuary and fellowship hall was dedicated to our Lord at its opening in the fall of 1997.

The name "Mars Hill" is straight from the Bible. In Acts Chapter 17 tells of the Apostle Paul in Athens, Greece. Paul was taken by the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers to a meeting on the Areopagus. Areopagus means "hill of Ares". In the Greek culture, Ares was the god of war and thunder. The Romans borrowed this god from the Greek culture and renamed the god Ares to "Mars". Paul proceeded to share God's message of salvation to the Stoics and Epicureans on Mars Hill.

Tradition says that the 1805 building was torn down around 1860 and the men of the Church helped the Negro members to build a church building for themselves out of the lumber from the old church building. In fact, Mars Hill provided both labor and material to help former slaves start three Black Churches in our area.