In the spring of 1898 a few Christians with a passion for Christ and a heart for the city of Daytona Beach gathered for worship in an Opera House above a hardware store on the corner of South Beach and Cottage Lane. By summer they had purchased a lot on North Palmetto Avenue with the hopes of establishing a permanent location to proclaim the gospel in Daytona Beach. Following a coastal storm, a deacon and his young daughter stumbled onto a vast amount of driftwood lumber from a sunken ship that washed up on the beach. Visionary members carried the lumber from the beach to the Halifax River where they floated it across the river to the lot on North Palmetto. That lumber became the framework for the first building to sit on the present downtown campus.
Of course, the original building no longer exists and the downtown site that was once a vacant lot now encompasses multiple buildings that take up nearly an entire city block. And today, First Baptist has more than 200 acres of additional property west of downtown just off of Tomoka Farms Road. The strategic location of this land at the junction of Interstates 4 and 95 ensures that First Baptist will continue to be a regional ministry impacting lives beyond Daytona Beach to eastern and central Florida. In January of 2013 FBC kicked off Saturday Evening Services at our West campus on Tomoka Farms Road. First Baptist has been led by many gifted senior pastors in it's rich history, most notably by Dr. Bobby Welch who served as senior pastor for more than 32 years. In September of 2011, Dr. Mark A. Howell was called to be senior pastor to lead First Baptist from where we are now to what God has for us next. Yes, times have changed from our humble beginnings but the commitment of that early group of believers for reaching the nations with the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been stronger. First Baptist is a church in the heart of our city with a heart for our city.