The church faced many struggles in the 1890s but after the turn of the century found itself on a much more stable foundation. Literally that foundation was poured and the present sanctuary was built in 1914. Of course, it has been upgraded and remodeled several times with the most recent being the rebuilding of the front steps and the tower project in 2002-2003. Yes, the bell does ring again after being silent for more than 20 years.
A new parsonage was constructed in 1940 as the first in a series of building projects. One of those auditorium remodeling’s took place in 1949, and the very next year the first phase of the educational building with kitchen, dining room and pastor’s study in addition to classrooms was completed. The parsonage served as home for three pastors and several other staff persons. For some time it was used as educational space and also rented to the Lutheran Services as an office and counseling center. After serving its purpose well for more than sixty years, the parsonage fell into disrepair and wad removed in 2004.
After the Great Revival of 1951 when 137 new members were added (88 by baptism), it became necessary to reenter the building program. A recreation/fellowship building with a kitchen and restrooms was completed in 1952. The next year the coal furnace was replaced with an oil furnace which has now been replaced by natural gas. Also in 1953 the second phase of the educational bui9lding was completed by October, which gave access to a total of 31 classrooms at the beginning of the Sunday School year. With all this activity, the church trustees and deacons felt it necessary to move to a unified budget system, which was put in place October 1, 1953. Continuing in its strong commitment to missions, in 1959 the church stepped out to meet a special need with the South Maple Street Mission Station. Today that mission has grown into a fine church in the association. Dallas Baptist is proud of its sister church, Gaston Baptist.
Eighteen members have gone from this fellowship into Christian ministry with 14 being ordained into the pastoral ministry. At one point over 50 years ago, the church membership grew to more than 475. The current membership roll is 336. Beginning in the 1970s additions were made to the ministry staff and there have been a number of part-time and full-time associates in ministry, youth and music.
During the 1980s the office area and educational area had extensive remodeling. A 15-passenger van was purchased in 1980, which greatly enhanced the children and youth program.
The building of a large lighted parking lot and new activity/fellowship building was completed in 1985 at a cost of more than $185,000, which was paid off in just over two years. This facility was dedicated on May 5, 1985. The building includes a commercial kitchen, formal parlor, large handicap accessible restrooms, storage, giant fireplace and tables and chairs to seat more than 250 for fellowship meals. The interior of the fellowship hall was remodeled and made more sound friendly in 2006.
After extensive study and committee work in the late 1980s and early 1990s a constitution and by-laws for Dallas Baptist Church were presented and approved in 1991.
In 1995 a second 15-passenger van was added at the request of the Live Embers/senior adults to use for their field trips. Of course, it is available to all church groups and organizations to use. The first van, a 1980 Ford, was discarded a few years ago after becoming unsafe for transportation purposes.
During the past six years a sound system with hearing-impaired capabilities has been installed in the sanctuary. Also projection equipment with a large screen enhances the announcement time and music ministry.
The church entered into a program of planning for incorporation in the late 1990s and became fully incorporated in 2002.
During 2007 the 17th pastor was called to serve the church. Also, during this time, the trustees and property and space committee began seeking the purchase of the Hanna property. The deal was completed in 2008 and the house is now being used as educational and storage space. During 2008 a new organ was purchased and placed in the sanctuary.; Those two large purchases plus the fellowship hall renovation, added up to more than $135,000.
Well a short history lesson may not be really practical when you try to cover 130 years. The lesson shared is really not about all the things mentioned but about the wonderful folk who made these things possible This church has been blessed from day one to have dedicated Christians with a multitude of talents. Their effort to use those talents according to God’s will as outlined in Matthew’s account of what is called The Great Commission is what continues to pump lifeblood into this congregation year after year and generation after generation. We continue to develop special interest programs and a variety of worship experiences to reach out with the love of Christ to our Dallas community.
Our closing thought is no doubt the most important of all and that is acknowledging the gifts brought to Dallas Baptist by the 17 God-called men who have pastored the flock with compassion, wisdom and knowledge steeped in the Holy Word. Thanks to these men of faith – our Dallas Baptist pastors. Be reminded of them one more time. BOOTH – STROUGH – WHITE- HISKSON – ROSS – VIPPERMAN – FLANDERS – WATSON – SHINN – EPPS – NEWTON – BAUCOM – HUGGINS – BRASWELL – BRYANT – STRAUSS – ABRAMS.
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