The founding of First Baptist Church-Dallas goes back to the 19th century, and for most of the 20th century the pulpit there was filled by two well-known preachers: George W. Truett for the first half of the century, and W.A. Criswell for the latter. Each served for more than 45 years – Truett from 1897 to 1944, and Criswell from 1944 to 1990. Under Truett the church grew to more than 7,000 members, making it the largest church in America at the time.
Current pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress – who became senior pastor in 2007 – says as many churches sought to leave for the suburbs, First Baptist-Dallas decided to stay put.
“My predecessor, Dr. Criswell, really believed that every city ought to have a downtown church – and he was committed to keeping the church here,” the pastor tells OneNewsNow. “And our members are committed to doing that [as well].
“… A few years ago we opened a $135-million recreated campus in downtown Dallas,” Jeffress continues. “[And] we’re getting ready now to announce a new $35 million addition to our children’s building because God is so blessing the church with new members, Sunday after Sunday.”
Jeffress – an evangelical advisor to President Trump – acknowledges than when many churches reach 150 years, they are either dead or in the process of dying. But First Baptist-Dallas is thriving, he explains, because it’s a church built on the Bible.
“For 150 years, [this church] has preached the Bible – and because of that when the winds of adversity and criticism have blown against this congregation, it has not fallen because it has been built on the eternal and unchanging truth of God’s Word,” he concludes.
The 13,000-member church will celebrate its milestone with special services on Sunday, July 29. Special guests expected to attend include Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.