More than 50 Years of Christian Tradition in Tallahassee
In the late 1940’s, Tallahassee began expanding in the Northeast region. The Missions Committee of First Baptist Church carefully surveyed the area and chose 1950 Thomasville Road as the site for a new mission. Located near Glendale, Betton Hills and Los Robles, it was an opportunity to establish a church in the growing heart of Tallahassee.
On March 17, 1948, the proposal was made to First Baptist Church and on April 11, 1948, Reverend D. O. Alderman preached the first sermon at the Thomasville Road mission. The mission grew and by March 16, 1952, it was constituted as Thomasville Road Baptist Church with Reverend Jack Bridges as pastor.
Over the next 16 years, Thomasville Road Baptist Church would continue to expand as many joined the church and become active in ministry. They established Thomasville Road Baptist Church’s commitment to children through Sunday School and missions programs. There were multiple groups for adults to engage in missions. The foundation for the vital worship and music ministries was set.
Whether meeting in rooms, a basement (1954-1959), a sanctuary, or a tent (after a fire in 1964), Thomasville Road Baptist Church was on the go, bringing faith to the heart of Tallahassee.
On September 4, 1968, Reverend Kenneth Holland became pastor of Thomasville Road Baptist Church. During his ministry, the church had a living nativity in front of the church, a youth revival for the City of Tallahassee (1969), and set up a crisis closet and bus ministry. The church also realized the growing need for ministry further out along the Thomasville Road corridor.
From 1974-1977, they worked to establish a mission at Bradfordville which, today, is First Baptist Church of Bradfordville. By the mid-70’s, the church had outgrown its location and began looking to move. Nine acres were purchased at 3131 Thomasville Road and on September 18, 1978, Thomasville Road Baptist Church moved to its present location.
It wouldn’t take long for the church to expand again and in the late 70’s, Thomasville Road Baptist Church established a college and career ministry to minister to the students in the area. In June, 1980, the church hired Bill Davis as the first full-time minister of Music & Youth. The expansion of the music and youth ministries brought an added layer of faith to the heart of Tallahassee.
In November, 1983, Dr. Billy Cruce became pastor of Thomasville Road Baptist Church. Having been a missionary to Uganda and Tanzania, he was very committed to missions and evangelism. Thomasville Road Baptist Church was involved in going on construction missions in the United States and Haiti, as well as youth and college mission trips. The women’s missions’ groups were involved in Mission Friends, GAs, and Acteens. They also had a cookie ministry to the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Florida State University, Ronald McDonald House, the Homeless Shelter and nursing homes. Ministries making blankets for the Neonatal ICU and turbans for the American Cancer Society were other ways to share faith in the heart of Tallahassee. Brotherhood, the men’s ministry, was active in blood drives for the blood bank, assisting the Tallahassee Housing Foundation with home repairs for needy families and helping with maintaining the church buildings and grounds. A prayer ministry was developed to pray for people both here and abroad.
By 1986, it was evident the church needed to expand again. The current Worship Center was constructed, and on April 23, 1989, the first services were held.
The early nineties saw an expansion in two areas of missions. First, yearly construction trips were scheduled to help churches throughout the country build new facilities to enlarge their ministries. At the same time, the church also focused on reaching out to the community through ongoing evangelistic visitation, sharing Jesus with the heart of Tallahassee.
The 90’s saw an expansion of ministries at the church, including the Academy of the Arts for music lessons, the Counseling Ministry, the Singles Ministry, Children’s Church, the Hospital Ministry, the Senior Adult Ministry, the Banner Ministry, the Preschool Playground, and the Deaf Ministry. By 2002, the church had added two large community events—the Easter Egg Hunt and the Family Fun Festival in October. The full-time ministry staff expanded from four in 1994 to eight in 2002. The church began to operate on the premise that “every member is a minister” and we continue to expand ministries as the Lord leads members to provide them.
Dr. Billy Cruce retired in February 2002 and became our Pastor Emeritus until his death in 2010. Rev. Curtis Clark was called to be the new pastor of the church in July 2002. In between those two events, the church celebrated its 50th Anniversary on March 16th.
With the arrival of Pastor Curtis the church launched into a series of building projects which added a youth building, a children’s building, and an expanded music suite to the campus along with much needed parking.
The church continues to grow, reaching out and responding to our changing community. In addition to our Bible study classes and worship ministry, we translate our 9:15 service into Spanish for those involved in our Hispanic Ministry. The Flower Ministry brings flowers to our homebound members. The Marriage Ministry team and The Point for Parents specialize in meeting the needs of families. Children and Youth have a variety of classes, camps, mission trips and service opportunities to help them grow in faith. First Place for Health and Redefine Fitness minister to the health needs of the community. An associates program was created allowing young adults who feel called into ministry to work on our staff alongside a minister in a particular field to gain valuable real world hands-on experience before or during their time at seminary. Our mission ministries have expanded as well. We have missionaries with direct ties to the church serving in nine countries and two states. TRBC is on the cutting edge of Global Focus, an IMB mission plan which connects specific churches with unreached people groups throughout the world. Our work in Senegal with the Jola Karon people group continues to expand as new believers come to faith in Christ.
God continues to work in the hearts and lives of the people at Thomasville Road Baptist Church as we share our faith in the heart of Tallahassee.