Our Purpose

We exist that Jacksonville may know Christ!

Our Predicament

  • Location First Baptist Church is located in downtown Jacksonville, far away from the thriving areas of growth.
  • Attendance 11 straight years of decline; 2019 first year of growth.
  • Space Based on attendance, we need 182,000 square feet of space. We have over 1.5 million square feet.
  • Maintenance Our actual annual maintenance costs $7 million (52% of budget). We are only spending $5 million annually (37% of budget).
  • FINANCES 2 options we can't afford
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The Solution

These challenges confront us with an opportunity to change our model of ministry to one that is more cost-effective and makes investments in PEOPLE rather than PLACES; in MINISTRY rather than MAINTENANCE.

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The Cost

$30 million over 6 years, repaid through regular tithes, offerings, and special gifts towards the project from our members.

Q & A

What happens if membership grows more? How do we fit them in the Hobson?

We are praying that our church will grow, and we expect that we will. Our plan is to accommodate growth through multiple services and multiple locations.

We’ve heard over and over that the church will not spend money it doesn’t have. Do we have the money in the bank?

The reason this project is required is because our church is already spending money it does not have. First Baptist can no longer afford the tens of millions of dollars in maintenance that is required to take care of a sprawling campus that we do not need. The purpose of this project is to allow us to stop spending money that we do not have, and be able to live within our means on property we can afford.

How soon will we see changes?

We will see changes as soon as we arrange financing and schedule the contracting work to begin— we hope in the next few months.

What do we do with classrooms in the interim while the buildings are under construction? When will my Sunday School Class have to move?

We will be communicating with Sunday School teachers and students in the near future about how their classes will be accommodated in transitional space.

Are we selling every building we are not using?

We have not made any concrete plans about any piece of property that our church currently owns.

What do you have to say to church members who are weary of change?

Change is hard. And we have had a lot of it in the last several years. As hard as change is, it is also a necessity. There is no way for any organization to thrive without change. The reality is that our church has experienced the most catastrophic season of decline in our history precisely because we have avoided change. Our church has a choice: we can change, or we can die. As unpleasant as change is, it is far more pleasant than irrelevance and death. And so we must embrace change as God’s instrument to increased effectiveness in our ministry.

How quickly can we do this debt free?

The value of our assets allows us to do this while maintaining a strong financial position. In other words, the value of our property exceeds the amount we will borrow. As a church we will maintain a net worth, even though we will have a loan which will function as a cash advance on the value of some of our property. Still, we desire to eliminate our loan as quickly as possible. We will do this through a combination of increased revenue that will come with the savings of being on a physical plant we can afford, and through the future sale of land.

What will happen to the Academy?

We are working with the head of school and the FBA board on transitional and long-term plans for the school.
Click here for more questions and answers.

Share Your Story

At some point, each of our lives have intersected with the story of First Baptist Church. Did a friend or neighbor first invite you to church? Perhaps you came after watching the broadcast ministry on television or were picked up faithfully each Sunday by the bus ministry. It is God’s grace and the people He has used for many years that have brought us to where we are today.

We want to hear your story! Share with us below how and when you came to First Baptist Church. Recount the milestones you have celebrated here-the salvations, the baptisms, and the weddings among so many others. Remember the people – who first invited you? Who have you invited since? Retell your story so that generations to come can witness the faithfulness of the great God we serve.

Click here to share your story