The History of Summit HeightsDuring the latter part of 1987 the Piedmont Baptist Association requested the South Carolina Baptist Convention New Work Department assist them with developing and implementing an exciting part of the association's long range planning. The Northern part of Anderson County and the Southeastern part of Pickens County is a rapidly growing area due to the high number of new housing developments. After studying all the demographics and personally seeing the population growth, Rev. Tom Jones, director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association, led the association to start a new church in the Powdersville area.
Working with dozens of volunteers from the 46 Baptist churches in the association, and utilizing the new program of "This Phone's for You" a Christian Tele-ministry tool, more than 13,000 phone calls were made to homes in the target area. The callers were clear in their assignment; this church is targeted to reach those in the community who were not attending any church and especially those without any Christian affiliation. On May 3, 1988, the Summit Heights Baptist Church met for the first time in the auditorium of Wren High School. After renting the high school for two years, the church rented facilities from the Friendship Wesleyan Church in Powdersville in 1990.
Sensing that it was God's will for the church to have a full-time pastor, the association's Steering Committee, the sponsoring body for the church, called Rev. Jim Tippins to serve as the Pastor of Summit Heights Baptist Church. Jim, Bonnie and their two children, Emilie and Carter, began their ministry with Summit Heights September 18, 1988.
During the planning stage for the church several potential sites were identified as ideal for a permanent home for the church. After many months the very first choice location was purchased. The church bought 8.9 acres on the corner of Brushy Creek and St. Paul Road in Anderson County. A long time resident of the area said, "There once was a country store on this property. This corner used to be the gathering place for the community, and now it's going to happen again." The intention of the church was to build wisely, with vision toward the future, but also with the desire to welcome the community. Summit Heights is also committed toward the starting of other churches.
Even though the church is young, it was recognized by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as a Quality in Ministry Church because more than thirty people have enrolled in theological education, preparing for ministry and ten others have gone to serve other congregations in some particular area of a ministry.
In the summer of 1998 more than 130 volunteers from the Chilton Baptist Builders Association, from Chilton County Alabama, invaded one small parcel of land in Northern Anderson County. At six oclock on the morning of June 15, 1998 prayer was held in an open red clay field. At 6:10 that same morning the first walls to Summit Heights Baptist Church were raised. Within one weeks time the volunteers from all these different organizations had the entire 15,000 square foot building in the dry. After two weeks of dedicated work, the teams left for their homes in Alabama. With much work still needed at the new church building , a dozen volunteers from Jesup, Georgia churches, as well as many local volunteers from the Piedmont Church Association and Summit Heights Church members pitched in to finish the work. After eight months of seeing God work through the talents of many different individuals, the congregation of Summit Heights Baptist Church moved into their new, permanent home at 1938 Brushy Creek Road, Easley, South Carolina.
Summit Heights now has more than one-hundred-fifty members and is known as a caring, open congregation. The majority of the congregation comes from previously unchurched backgrounds. Those who attend, and those who are familiar with Summit Heights, know this is a church with a vision and a hope, a people seeking God's heart, and by the grace of God, a congregation of people who desire to be what God has called the church of Jesus Christ to be. Summit Heights will be a light and a harbor in this growing community.