On August 11, 1971, 34 people met in the basement of a home on Oregon Avenue in Jackson, NJ. Their goal was to establish a church built on the foundation of the Bible and to make disciples for Jesus Christ. The little group had their first communion together the following month.
By October they were joined by Pastor Ken Kirby, a church planter with the Conservative Baptist Association of America, who shared their vision. Under his leadership, and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, they worked hard to visit people and share the gospel. People began to respond. The church ministered to a diverse and unusual congregation as several families (as well as a group of young men from a nearby fraternity house) came to the Lord.
Spiritual foundation stones were laid through the decisions of this early group of believers. A missions outreach was established and the church began to support its first missionary families in February 1972.
God was working in the little church. The first baptism took place on May 21, 1972. By September of that year, the church incorporated. A fellowship fund was established to help to “share one another’s burdens”. Pastor Kirby recognized that leading people to Christ was a first spiritual step. However, it was important to make each believer a “disciple” – one who continued to learn at the feet of Jesus. The philosophy of “People becoming Christ Disciples” – an ongoing, life long learning experience, began to take root.
Today, JBC continues that legacy as we seek to win the lost, build up individuals within the church and equip them to become disciples able to tell others about the good news of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
While the church was growing spiritually and adding new people, it became evident that the home on Oregon Avenue was too small. The church began meeting at the Johnson School on Larsen Road. Then, in 1974, property was purchased on Bennetts Mills Road. Plans were adopted in May of the following year, and the church family, began their hands-on labor – building a church.
The building was dedicated on May 2, 1976 – it was the second day on the job for new pastor Carl Vereen. Under Pastor Vereen, and later Rev. Jack Benzenhafer, Jackson Baptist Church continued to grow. With the arrival of our current pastor, Ken Underhill, growth continues. Don Sodano, Associate Pastor, was called on September 1, 2005 to help with the growing ministry needs, and in January 2006, Jared Nicastro, was called as Jackson Baptist Church's first full-time Youth Pastor.
The building that had once seemed so large to the original congregation became cramped as new ministries and people were continually added. We broke ground for the new Worship Center in the Fall of 2004 and it was completed and our first service appropriately took place on Easter Sunday 2006. Years later, God continued to bless us through spiritual and numerical growth. A second service was added on May 4th, 2008. An expansion of the parking lot has allowed us to all worship in one service again. As we continue to stay focused on serving and living passionately for the glory of God, may He continue to reach the community and draw them to Himself as well as build up and mold the body of Christ at JBC into the image of His Son Jesus Christ