Church History

On the second Sunday in July 1921, thirteen inspired Christians formed a fellowship in the Dalworth community from which St. John developed. They were W. L. Thames, Hattie Thames, Arch Long, Allen Famon, Lula Famon, Charles Dixon, Nancy Littlejohn, Bettie Reed, Sallie Baker, Delia Terry, Romie Hill, and Verna Tallie. The Evening Chapel A.M.E. Church opened its doors to them on the first and third Sundays for several months. In the latter part of the year, services were held at the Dalworth School. Reverend W. Scott was the first pastor.

The church’s first building was an old store purchased from funds received from a July fourth picnic in 1923. The building was moved to El Paso Street where it remained through the following nine pastors: Reverends W. Scott, C. J. Morse, Jordan, C. J. Gearnerett, S. G. Gooden, T. P. Thompson, J. W. Singleton, N. F. Huff, and N. R. Washington. The tenth pastor, Reverend J. V. Williams, purchased the site on Spikes Street and gave the old store building a new look. Rev. M. Davis Giles and Rev. L. A. Hancock were the 11th and 12th Pastors. The Chairman of the Trustee Board, Bro. David Daniels, was granted permission from the city of Grand Prairie to solicit funds to purchase an army chapel for worship services. The thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth pastors were, respectively: M. R. Lester, B. E. Collie, Leonard Jordan Sr., and Emanuel Lupo. Under Rev. Lupo’s administration, St. John moved from 2133 Spikes St. to our present location 1701 W. Jefferson Street.

On May 5, 1991, God sent our seventeenth pastor, Reverend Denny D. Davis, a young, spirit-filled preacher, who wears the mantle of his higher calling magnificently, yet humbly. Under Reverend Davis’ pastorate, our church has expanded to over 60 ministries; four morning worship services; added over 11,000 new members; completed choir stand, wings, balcony, and church furniture additions, parking lot expansions and children’s building; purchased passenger vans and three shuttle buses; retired a half-million dollar mortgage note in 1995; completed renovations on the Sherman St. building; “Vision 2000” capital stewardship program; Phase I (Vision 2000), built a four level building including a gymnasium, running track, 30 classrooms, administrative facilities, video surveillance, aerobic room, game room for the children, a courtyard playground, a commercial kitchen and banquet hall, with an estimated cost of 3.5 million dollars completed Fall 2000 debt free.

In October 1999, a second location, the St. John North Family Fellowship was established and began meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Grapevine, Texas. About the same time, a group of believers hosting an in-home Bible study, with the intention of planting a church along the 121 corridor, chose to merge with the St. John North Family Fellowship. Shortly thereafter, the St. John North Family Fellowship began meeting at the DFW Marriott in Irving, Texas.In May 2000, the St. John North Family Fellowship moved to a temporary location in a warehouse building located in Southlake, Texas. On Palm Sunday of 2003, the St. John Church began a third worship service at NextStage city auditorium in Grand Prairie to better serve the overflow crowds at the Grand Prairie campus. In 2004, St. John Church broke ground on the capital plan to build a full church facility to better serve the Southlake community. In December 2007, the St. John Southlake Campus, an 80,000 square foot facility that can support 2400 worshippers was completed. The St. John Southlake Campus provides Bible studies, numerous ministries for adults and children, as well as Sunday morning worship services. In 2005 as a result of our efforts to meet the needs of Katrina victims, the Hope Center, a full-service outreach center was created. In 2009, a Counseling Center was developed to meet the growing needs of our community and membership.

As we reflect upon the many years of remarkable strides in the life and development of the St. John Baptist Church, we believe that those thirteen charter members from July 1921 rejoice in thanksgiving with us as we glorify God, our Father, in deep gratitude for our continuing growth in spirit and in discipleship. To God be the Glory!