The gospel came to Northwest Georgia through work of both early pioneers and the Moravian missionaries. The Moravian missionaries came to Northwest Georgia in the 1820’s. The desire of the Moravians was to reach the Cherokee Indians with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through their dedication to reach these Cherokee a local mission was established; it was named the Oothcalooga Mission. The Oothcalooga Mission transformed into an established church in the 1830’s as the Indians were moved to Oklahoma.
As the region was becoming settled and churches were being planted, leaders sensed a need and desire to cooperate and coordinate the spread of Christianity both locally and abroad. The end culmination of this ambition was seen in 1846 when the churches in Northwest Georgia were organized into the Salaquoy United Baptist Association.
The Salaquoy United Baptist Association was established and organized for the purposes of: fellowship, strengthening the local churches, and cooperative in the joint mission of the Great Commission. The name of the Association was later changed to Salaquoy Baptist Association in 1847, and later the next year, was again renamed to the Middle Cherokee Baptist Association. This name would remain the name of the Association until 1999, when it was renamed the Bartow Baptist Association. Bartow Baptist Association better reflected the general region the association covers even up till this present day.
The churches in this region have a long and rich history of cooperating together to reach the region and the world for Christ. The missional influence and heritage of those original Moravian missionaries has produced a great missions heartbeat throughout the centuries. A great example of this is Lottie Moon. Lottie was in Cartersville when God called her to missions in China. Many others have heard and answered the call to GO in every generation. God has blessed our Association, and region, with a great heritage of which we are still presently trying to build upon.
In conjunction with our rich history, we started praying in 2009 that God would redig the spiritual wells within our region; just like Isaac had to redig the wells in Genesis 26. God answered those prayers in some very unusual ways. On April 27, 2011, multiple tornadoes hit Alabama and Georgia on causing great damage and loss of life; many will remember the devastation laid to Tuscaloosa Alabama. On that very day, one of those tornados hit the heart of Bartow County. This tornado ran on the ground within Bartow County for 21½ miles. On that following Saturday, the County government put the Body of Christ in Bartow in charge of tornado recovery. On Sunday, the following day, over 500 people assembled in one place from across the Body of Christ; coming from all denominations within our county. They assembled with the purpose of walking the entire 21½ miles, in order to, minister to every person impacted by the storm. The disaster recovery ministry lasted several months and made a huge and lasting impact.
In was in 2013 that another tornado hit in Bartow. This time it touched down in Adairsville. The damage was significant. The Body of Christ was better prepared; and again was asked to lead the recovery effort. The first work day saw 1,867 people from the local Body of Christ out cleaning up. The response from the Body of Christ lasted eight months - until the last person was returned to their home. At the end of the recovery efforts, God was proved gracious and was mightily glorified as this disaster response had been reported to be the best response in the history of Georgia. The local government credited the Church with over five million dollars worth of work that was volunteered in Adairsville (only $107,000 of actual dollars was given in donations to help with recovery). Based on what the Church did in Adairsville, the Georgia state emergency management plan was changed to include houses of worship. The end result of the disaster recovery was the response of the Body of Christ. was written up and sent to Washington as a model of the Body of Christ responding in a tangible way to meet a very real need in the midst of a local disaster. To God be the glory.