Welcome to Downtown Baptist Orlando
At Downtown Baptist Orlando, we believe in connecting Jesus with Orlando. Our Church has a long history of serving the downtown Orlando area and we are proud to continue this tradition. We offer a wide range of services that help our members grow closer to God and become better members of our community. Join us and be a part of our mission to spread the love of God.
The prelude to Downtown Baptist Church history began in 1858 when Rev.
Miller came from Apopka to organize a congregation with 10-12 members, the first organized church of any denomination in the county. These early beginnings
were disbanded during the Civil War.
On March 5, 1871, in Orlando, nine men and women met with Rev. G. C. Powell from Oviedo to form a church.. The Bethel Baptist Church was in a log courthouse at Central and Court Streets. In 1879, three men of the Baptist congregation were appointed to secure property for a church building. These men were W. B. Hull, A. Bell, and S. D. Russ. Donations were begun in 1880, and in 1882 a frame church was built at Pine and Garland.
Because of the growth and other circumstances, it became expedient for the church to relocate. Land was then purchased at Magnolia and Pine Streets. One of the first steeples to rise among the oaks and pines of Orlando was First Baptist in 1897. From that point, there was steady growth and activity which became a pattern for First Baptist Church.
By 1913, such crowds were attending church that Dr. E. T. Poulson felt the need for a new auditorium. A brick building was built at the corner of Pine and Magnolia Streets.
During the ministry of Dr. J. Dean Adcock, a Sunday School annex was added. Plans for the second annex were completed before Dr. J. Powell Tucker retired. The building was put in use in 1950, and a third was build after Dr. Henry A. Parker became Pastor in 1956. The Pine Street Sanctuary was dedicated in May of 1961. A Christian Life Center was added at the corner of Pine Street and Magnolia Street, on the site of the original Sanctuary building, before Dr. Parker retired in 1977.
Dr. James B. Henry came as Pastor in September in 1977 . The church family voted to purchase the present site of First Baptist Church on L. B. McLeod Road in September 1981.
When the new worship center was completed in February of 1985, approximately 800 members continued to worship Downtown. As a result, the Church maintained two campuses until it was decided by the Downtown congregation to become the fifteenth church birthed by First Baptist Church.
The Downtown congregation purchased the Sanctuary and the Education Building from First Baptist Church in August of 1985. Its charter membership of 841 was completed in September of that same year. At that time, Downtown Baptist Church consisted of only one full time employee. The remaining leadership was comprised of experienced volunteers.
From January 1986 to December 2014, there were several Pastors who held leadership positions in the Church. Each of these Pastors was instrumental in developing a strong desire for missions. (A list of these Pastors is below.) Missions were always the primary emphasis of the Church throughout its history. Dr. Jim Henry was called as the Senior Pastor of Downtown Baptist Church in December 2014, and he has continued the Church’s emphasis on missions as the primary focus of the Church.