WHO WE ARE: HISTORY
The church was organized in a little red schoolhouse in the township called Oak Cliff, located at Eighth Street and Lancaster Avenue on August 20, 1890 as First Baptist Oak Cliff (FBOC). During those years Oak Cliff was described as one of the fastest growing cities in the Dallas area, partly due to more than six miles of electric rail lines.
On August 20, 1890, a small group of 40 charter members from Gaston Avenue Baptist came by horse-driven carriage from across the Trinity River to Hord’s Ridge, as that part of Oak Cliff was called at the time. There was not a bridge so the Trinity had to be forded. This group met at a little red schoolhouse at Eighth and Lancaster which was to be the location of the First Baptist Church of Oak Cliff until 1893. T.S. Potts was the first pastor.
In 1893, the churched moved to Eleventh and Marsalis in the same general area into a building sometimes used as a laundry. This was home for the next 16 years.
In 1909 the churched moved into Patton Hall on the grounds of Texas Baptist University, a Baptist Missionary Association School located between Eighth and Ninth Streets and between Lancaster and Marsalis. This was home for the next five years.
The church then purchased property at the corner of Ninth, Ewing and Jefferson. On this site the congregation built a wooden tabernacle in three weeks, their first church-owned building. The date was November 25, 1914. This was used as a worship center until 1921 when the basement for a permanent facility was built on the same property. Albert Luper served as pastor at this location from 1931-1951.
On January 16, 1957, the church purchased property on Ann Arbor just north of Loop 12. On March 16, 1958 a contract was signed to build a new sanctuary while Dr. James Cooper was serving as Pastor.
During this time in our country’s history racial wars were bombarding the cities. Cooper announced to the church that we have never been segregated and that we would never be. This marks First Baptist Church as one of the only non-segregated churches in the Dallas area at the time.
In May 1975, the church approved the purchase of a six-acre tract on Westmoreland Road in southwest Dallas. The first service was held on August 26, 1979 with Dr. Herbert Pederson serving as Pastor.
In 1997, the churched determined that relocation would be best to facilitate on going ministry. In July of 1998 the church approved the sale of the church property. In 1999 the church moved temporarily to the Duncanville Ninth Grade School until the Fall of 2002.
In 1998, the church purchased the current location of 34 acres on Interstate 20 and has since purchased more. In 2002 the church moved into its new building with a new name, The Oaks Baptist Church. Dr. William White served as pastor during this time.
When you visit the Oaks you are likely to encounter members who have been apart of this family for decades serving alongside members who have only been with us for months. It is truly a unique opportunity to engage the past and the future at the same time. You will also find that we are a mosaic of people from different religious affiliations, ethnicities, strong church ties, no church history, and multiple generations.
Over the years God has blessed this church as lives have been changed, families strengthened, and relationships forged. God has used The Oaks to make a global impact. It is our dream that God would allow us to be a community of Christ-followers with a vintage faith, extravagant love, and outrageous hope for the next 125 years!