First Baptist Church (Atlanta)

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First Baptist Church Atlanta
LocationDunwoody, Georgia
CountryUnited States
DenominationSouthern Baptist Convention
History
Founded1848 (1848)
Founder(s)David Gonto Daniell
Administration
DivisionGeorgia Baptist Convention
Clergy
Senior pastor(s)Charles Stanley
 
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First Baptist Church Atlanta
LocationDunwoody, Georgia
CountryUnited States
DenominationSouthern Baptist Convention
History
Founded1848 (1848)
Founder(s)David Gonto Daniell
Administration
DivisionGeorgia Baptist Convention
Clergy
Senior pastor(s)Charles Stanley

First Baptist Church Atlanta, Georgia, is a megachurch located at 4400 North Peachtree Road at Interstate 285 in Dunwoody, Georgia. It is commonly known as First Baptist Atlanta. It is an evangelical, Christian church, and is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Charles F. Stanley, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been Senior Pastor of the church since 1971.

Details[edit]

The church has two Sunday morning services, a Wednesday night prayer meeting, extensive Sunday school and midweek Christian training programs, and other meetings throughout the week. Dr. Stanley typically preaches at both Sunday morning services. The newly renovated sanctuary seats 3,000, excluding the overflow room. In addition to the sanctuary, the church building includes a chapel, a theater, a large youth facility (including a coffee shop, a rock climbing wall, and a gym), dining facilities, a bookstore, rotunda and other spaces typical of megachurches. The church is a theologically conservative congregation, and Dr. Stanley has longtime links to Jerry Falwell, Bill Bright and others in both evangelical and Baptist circles.

Addressing social and spiritual concerns such as parenting, finances, personal crises, emotions and relationships, FBA guides believers through the inerrant word of God for the purpose of personal spiritual growth. Through an applicable reference to God's Word, FBA focuses on prayer, the character of God, fellowship through the Holy Spirit and the Person of Jesus Christ. First Baptist Atlanta continually works to service the needs of believers, followers, and seekers of God's holiness through various missions, ministries, and programs.

First Baptist Church Atlanta began a television and radio ministry in 1972, one year after Dr. Stanley became the senior pastor. It is now known as In Touch Ministries. Together, the teaching of Dr. Stanley and beliefs of FBA are available globally—translated into more than 100 languages—via radio, television broadcast, audio- and videotapes, CDs, DVDs, pamphlets, books and a monthly devotional magazine, In Touch.

History[edit]

First Baptist[1] was originally located in the downtown of Atlanta, Georgia, in Fulton County, Georgia. In the late 20th century, a commercial facility was purchased on Atlanta's Interstate 285 and the church relocated to the larger, more accessible, property in Dekalb County. The trend of churches relocating adjacent to major interstates and highways is not uncommon in commuter-oriented cities such as Atlanta.

The history of First Baptist Church Atlanta:

1848: David Gonto Daniell was sent by the Baptist State Convention to the tiny railroad town now known as Atlanta. He gathered 16 other men and women together and First Baptist Church was born. They met where they could find space, usually in a small one-room schoolhouse. In June, they dedicated their first church building on the corner of Walton and Forsyth in downtown Atlanta. Unfortunately, during the Civil War the building was heavily damaged and many members were wounded or killed. Even still, the members trusted in God to provide a new building.

1869: God was faithful and they dedicated a new building on the same lot debt-free.

1903: At this point, the church had grown and was in need of a new building. Because of Atlanta’s growth, they were now surrounded by the business district and wanted to move to the suburbs north of Atlanta. They sold the Walton and Forsyth site for $81,000 and purchased a lot in the residential area across the street from the Governor’s Mansion on the corner of Peachtree and Cain streets. The sale was to the U.S. government which built the new post office on the site (the building is now a court of appeals), and they used $40,000 of the proceeds to purchase the new site.[2]

1906: The new building opened for worship on June 3.

1920: By this time, once again, the church had outgrown the building and was surrounded by the business district. Sunday school had grown so much that parents were having to send their children to neighborhood churches because there was no room for them at First Baptist. When the site was bought it was in the residential area, but now the business area was closing in again, leaving them no room to grow. To accommodate the current membership and provide room for growth, an entire city block was purchased in the new residential area north of the business district at Peachtree and Fifth streets. Again the church did very well with the transaction: Edward C. Peters traded the block where his father Richard Peters' home stood for $325,000 in cash plus the corner of Cain and Peachtree. While waiting for the new building to be erected worship took place in the Lullwater building at W. Peachtree and Grant Place (now occupied by Crawford Long Hospital).[2]

1930: The sanctuary was completed. Many people thought the building would take care of the needs of the church forever.

1969-1971: Dr. Charles F. Stanley was called as Associate Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta.

1971: October 1, Dr. Charles F. Stanley was called to be the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta. (16th Pastor since 1848)

1973: FBA began "The Chapel Hour". Two stations to telecast: Channel 11 (8:30-9:00am) and Channel 46 (11:00am-1200 noon) and WGST 920 radio.

1974: FBA purchased Elks Lodge, 736 Peachtree St., NE

1975: Super Sunday had an attendance of 5,000 in church.

1976: "The Chapel Hour" TV program at 8:30 AM now broadcast from Dr. Stanley's study and not congregational service from the Sanctuary.

1977: First Baptist Atlanta began the "Life of Christ Pageant" at the Civic Center. Later to be renamed "The Atlanta Passion Play" in 1980.

InTouch Ministries was founded. Televising three times each Sunday. New title, "In Touch" broadcast 7:30 am, Channel 17, "Chapel Hour" from the Chapel at 8:30 am; "Morning Worship" 11:00 am on Channel 46.

Double Sunday to start February 13. Worship and Sunday School at both 9:30 & 11:00 am.

1978: "In Touch" broadcast moved to 11:00am service from 7:30am.

1979: First World Missions Conference started December 4–9. First Faith Promise, a program that raises funds above and beyond tithes to support FBA Missionaries, had a goal of $250,000. That goal was exceeded when the church gave $313,785.

1980: Faith Promise Offering was $331,000.

FBA celebrated 50 years of the present church location and building on April 20.

Life of Christ Pageant changed name to Atlanta Passion Play.

Elks Lodge was renovated and the church remained debt-free.

Church acquires West Peachtree property.

Church purchased the Gabriel and Lucifer Club which became "First Place" for singles.

FBA began the international TV ministry in Haiti

FBA's Second Annual Missions Conference, Nov. 9-16.

A sacrificial revival allowed the church to purchase Capital Cadillac property for $2,850,000 without borrowing money.

1983: FBA purchased property at 777 West Peachtree Street, the "Cuba Building"

1984-1988: Dr. Stanley was elected as President of the Southern Baptist Convention on June 15 and served two terms.

1984: Church voted to purchase the Suncoast Building and trusted God to provide $1,083,834 by December 31.

1985: FBA owned 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land and 13 buildings downtown.

1988: In March, the church body voted to sell downtown property and relocate to North Atlanta in order to grow.

November 1988, First Baptist Atlanta purchased 55 acres (220,000 m2) from the Avon Corporation in the Dunwoody area with plans to renovate the building to meet its expanded needs as a congregation.

1990: Contract signed for sale of downtown property for $43,500,000.

1992: April 26, Andy Stanley (Dr. Stanley's son) began preaching at "FBA North" in the Avon building, to allow growth downtown and begin outreach at the new location.

June, a second worship service was added at FBA North.

1993-1996: Renovation of the "FBA North" Location.

1997: The congregation moved to its current location in April.

1999: Sale of downtown property positioned the church as a debt-free church with a significant reserve a money to do future expansion. With increased giving, that reserve continues to grow.

2005: FBA renovated the "FBA North" worship center in 80 days. This is the current worship center seen on the In Touch program.

2007: September, Dr. Charles Stanley celebrated 50 years in ministry, 38 years at FBA and 75 years of life.

2009: September, Dr. Charles Stanley celebrated 40 years as Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta.

References[edit]

  1. ^ First Baptist Church Atlanta
  2. ^ a b Garrett, Franklin, Atlanta and Its Environs, 1954, Vol.II, p.854

External links[edit]