Editor's Note: This is the first of a series of articles about Dawson County churches and their histories.
Kilough Church by the Lake was founded in the late 1960s.
The originally small congregation built the church themselves, the same church building that is still used today.
After many years of ups and downs, a growing and shrinking congregation, the formerly Baptist church decided to go in a new direction when they recruited pastor Jeff Burrell to lead the church eight years ago.
While the church remains friendly with the Southern Baptist Convention, Kilough Church by the Lake is now considered a Pentecostal, charismatic church.
According to Burrell, while many of the fundamental theological beliefs remain the same between the church's Baptist heritage and Pentecostal rebirth, the styles of music, preaching and outreach are the difference. Burrell believes the church's music is more contemporary and expressive and the sermons and outreach methods are more progressive and focused on the times in which people currently live.
"We remain in touch with what's going on in the world today. People need a church that is in touch with that reality and can meet needs on a practical level," said Burrell.
When Burrell first came to Kilough, there were a mere 8 members left in the congregation. Today, there are over 400 members.
After nearly 40 years in the same building, the congregation has simply out grown the current building. Plans are in the works to construct a new state of the art facility and new parking lot. The current building only seats 125. The new 16,000 square-foot building will be designed to seat at least 400.
"The turning point for the church was when we developed a purpose for being a church. The purpose is for learning, living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Burrell.
Since there is only one member left from before Burrell came to the church, Burrell views the congregation to be a completely different church than the one that existed prior to his arrival.
"We have just gone in such a completely different direction. It was like starting a new church in an old building," said Burrell.
Burrell believes the church has experienced such huge growth because of the congregation's shared vision and diverse background.
"We are church with a Baptist background and Pentecostal emphasis," said Burrell.
"We are a blend of all different kinds of Christians. Believers from different denominational backgrounds can come to our church and feel comfortable, understood and accepted," explained Burrell.
"But the biggest fact contributing to our growth is that our church is here to support the growth of the community, to support the family system and to help those who hurt to heal," said Burrell.
Kilough Church by the Lake is located at 321 Kilough Church Road, Dawsonville. To find out more information about the church or upcoming events, call (706) 216-1440.