Past, Present, & Future
Dallas in the mid-1800s was wild and reckless. Several Baptist churches were run out of town before eight women and three men formed our determined little congregation and put down roots in 1868. Our first building on Akard cost a whopping $6,000. We soon outgrew it. The cornerstone of the historic sanctuary where Day One Worship is held today was laid in 1890. The campus now covers six city blocks. That definitely puts us in the category of large churches; however, one thing our members have been able to do through the past century and a half is maintain the feeling of a warm, intimate community. We hear it over and over again: This doesn’t feel like a huge church.
Through the years, First Baptist Dallas has been a downtown anchor and a nationally recognized beacon of Bible teaching, a tradition that began with the earliest of First Dallas’ legendary pastors, George W. Truett. For 47 years, Dr. Truett led First Dallas to a place of worldwide acclaim and phenomenal growth.
Truett’s successor, a visionary leader and riveting preacher, Dr. W.A. Criswell, took charge of the next great transformation of First Baptist Dallas. He brought young families back to the church, and he led a program of aggressive expansion.
Another shepherd, Dr. Robert Jeffress, was called as pastor in 2007. His arrival brought a much-needed tidal shift. Dr. Jeffress is a thoroughly down-to-earth teacher, known for sharing practical and often surprising principles from the scriptures.
Clearly we’ve stood the test of time, and now there’s a fresh energy in the church. But we’re certainly not resting on our laurels. In 2013, we completed a $135 million re-creation of our downtown campus. The project is the largest in modern church history and serves as a “spiritual oasis” covering six blocks of downtown Dallas. With the historic 1890s sanctuary standing gracefully at our center, our new campus now enables First Dallas to remain a spiritual oasis and a testimony of God’s love and truth in the heart of Dallas for generations to come.