Jason Haynes had a rough night.
Two of his four young children had wet the bed. Then, when they went to put the sheets in the washing machine, they realized the machine had died. Dirty clothes were piling up. Jason and his wife Whitney didn’t have enough money to buy a new washing machine, and Christmas was coming soon. That’s when Whitney posted a plea on Facebook, asking if anyone knew how to repair a washing machine.
Within 10 minutes of her post, a member from Morningside Baptist Church, where the Haynes family attends, showed up to fix their washing machine. Then, a woman from the church came over to take Whitney to her house so she could do laundry. Later that day, another member from Morningside brought them a brand-new washing machine.
This story doesn’t end with those church members doing nice things for each other. Jason’s father had always been agnostic. But, when he heard about the outpouring of love from the members of Morningside Baptist Church, Jason’s father said he wanted to come to a service with the family the next time he was in town.
Jason welcomes this baby step.
“I’ve prayed for this for so long, so anything in that general direction blows my socks off,” Jason said.
The Haynes family has been coming to Morningside Baptist Church for almost a year now. Jason was raised going to church sporadically, but Whitney is the daughter of a pastor. The Haynes said they aren’t fans of the larger churches around town. Instead, they prefer a place where people can really get to know each other.
A place like Morningside Baptist Church.
“They’re warm; they’re welcoming, and there’s no beating you over the head with a Bible,” Jason said. “It’s just a friendly family environment.”
The Best Kept Secret
Before Morningside, Jason had been to a number of churches. He was a Navy brat growing up, so he moved around a lot. He enlisted in the Army after high school and served for 11 years. When Jason and Whitney settled in Huntsville, they decided to visit Morningside since that’s where Jason’s parents attended.
“As soon as I walked in the door, I instantly felt welcome,” Jason said. “I’ve been to many churches, and I can’t stand huge churches with giant congregations because it doesn’t feel as personal…I’ve honestly never been in a church that took time to stop the service to go around and meet everybody. That really struck a chord with me.”
Marty Jordan, pastor of Morningside Baptist Church, describes the congregation as “Huntsville’s best-kept secret” because of the location. People drive by the church on Bailey Cove Road every day without ever noticing it. In fact, Jason has even had people meet him at his house and taken them over to the church because they never noticed it was there.
But the heart of Morningside Baptist Church stands out in a city of mega churches. It’s a place for people who don’t want to get lost in the crowd, or who crave a more intimate relationship with other members.
“We know you by name, love you and miss you when you’re not there,” Marty said.
That’s a sentiment echoed by the members. Even though the church only has about 120 active members, they break the congregation down even more, into small groups, so everyone has the chance to form relationships with other people at the church.
“Its more than a church,” Jason said. “It’s a family.”
It’s not just the fellowship that sets Morningside apart from other churches. Jason praised Marty’s sermons for the lessons they can take outside the church walls and apply to daily life.
“They don’t just talk about the Bible and what Jesus and the apostles did in the past,” Jason said. “They actually take it…and apply it to issues that are going on today.”
And they don’t shy away from the more controversial topics either. Some of those issues Jason referred to include transgenderism, legalization of marijuana, politics and co-habitation.
The Greatest Reward
Jason and Whitney have four young boys: Christian, 9, Gabriel, 7, Jason Jr., 5, and Luke, 2. Over the year, the Haynes have seen their children grow hungry to go to church—asking questions about baptism and being saved and telling their parents what they learned in Sunday school.
Jason described this as one of the best things coming out of Morningside.
“It’s really rewarding, as a parent, to see your child going down the right path,” Jason said.
If you’re looking for a place to go on Christmas Eve, be sure to check out Morningside Baptist Church’s Christmas Eve service and living nativity at 5 p.m. at the church.
And if you’re looking for a place to go to church, don’t wait until Christmas Eve. Morningside has weekly services on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with Sunday school at 9:15. They also have a mid-week service on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.