Who We Are

Our History

The History of the Newark Free Will Baptist Church

The Newark Free Will Baptist Church had its beginning in 1973 on East Main Street (in Dagwood’s Restaurant, the building has since been demolished and is now the site of a Dollar General store. See Map Below) with 4-5 people and we were in this location for five weeks.

Next, we moved to a new location on Locust Street (the Antiques building behind the post office. See Map Below) and we were there for about a year.

We then moved to the old Assembly of God building at 5 Point (West Locust, North 5th Street & Granville Street. Building has since been demolished and is now a parking lot. See Map Below) and we were there for approximately 2 years (1974-1976).

We were a mission supported church until July 1978, (This meant we were supported by sister churches from Ohio and the Franklin Conference.) It was at this time we became self-supporting. We then united with the Franklin Conference; this meant that we were now a part of the Ohio State Association of Free Will Baptists and our National Association of Free Will Baptists, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

We again moved, this time to our current location 37 North Westmoor Avenue (See Map Below) and began worshiping in a small building. There also was an old house that we used for the classrooms and the parsonage was also classrooms and a place where we held dinners. In May of 1984, we had our first service in the new church, and in April 1995 we had a groundbreaking for the new multipurpose building. It was finished later that year and the old church was torn down. The multipurpose building now houses the gymnasium, Sunday school rooms, restrooms, and a kitchen.

Our former locations across Newark:

Location #1(Orange Flag), East Main Street (Approximate Address: 292 E Main St)

Location #2 (Blue Flag), Locust Street (Approximate Address: 76 N 1st St.)

Location #3 (Yellow Flag), 5 Point (West Locust, North 5th Street & Granville Street.) (Approximate Address: 20 Granville St.) 

Our Current Location (Green Checkmark), 37 North Westmoor Avenue.


Our Pastors

We have had eight pastors over the years. They are (in order):

Before Organization - As a Mission

  • Rev. Dan Booth (January 17th, 1973 - May 16th, 1976) *First Term as Pastor

  • Rev. Bill Adkisson (March 31st, 1977 - June 21st, 1978)

After Organization of Church

  • ‡ Rev. Floyd Wolfenbarger (May 21st, 1978 - February 28th, 1982) 

  • † Rev. Johnny Ray Davis (March 1st, 1982 - August 23rd, 1982) *First Term as Interim Pastor

  • Rev. Dan Booth (August 24th, 1982 - March 9th, 1985) *Second Term as Pastor

  • † Rev. Johnny Ray Davis (March 6th, 1985 - May 4th, 1985) *Second Term as Interim Pastor

  • Rev. Richard "Steve" Stidham (May 5th, 1985 - June 20th, 1987)

  • † Rev. Roger Dempsey (June 21st, 1987 - January 2nd, 1988)

  • Rev. James Lilly (January 3rd, 1988 - June 26th, 1994)

  • ‡ Rev. Robert L. Bryant (October 2nd, 1994 - May 18th, 2008) 

  • † Rev. J. Matthew Bryant (May 25th, 2008 - November 15th, 2008)

  • Rev. J. Matthew Bryant (November 16th, 2008 - December 31st, 2017)

  • † Rev. Johnny Ray Davis (January 7th, 2018 - September 21st, 2019) *Third Term as Interim Pastor

  • Rev. Gary R. Dheel (September 22nd, 2019 - Present)

(† = Serving as Interim Pastor. / ‡ = Deceased.)

© 2020 | Newark Free Will Baptist Church | Newark, Ohio