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First Baptist Church Of Jacksonville

Jwb Buys Two City Blocks Downtown From First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Live Stream
The real estate company purchased the parking garage and the churchs former main auditorium for $8.39 million.

JWB Real Estate Capital bought two First Baptist Church of Jacksonville properties in Downtowns North Core for $8.39 million.

Property records show JWB subsidiaries bought two city blocks from First Baptist on June 24 a church auditorium at 119 W. Beaver St. for $2.3 million and a parking garage at 712 N. Hogan St. for $6.09 million.

The deeds were recorded June 29 with the Duval County Clerk of Courts.

JWB bought the Hogan Street site through 712 Hogan St N LLC and the Beaver Street property through 119 Beaver St W LLC. Each is 1.53 acres.

The deeds show the companies are based at JWBs corporate office at 7563 Philips Highway, Suite 208.

JWB President Alex Sifakis did not respond immediately to a request for comment June 29.

According to the Duval County Property Appraiser, the 119 Beaver St. auditorium, built in 1995, is 103,016 square feet.

First Baptist is selling property while it upgrades other facilities at its Downtown campus.

The church completed nearly $1.8 million in interior renovations in March 2021 to the 900-seat Lindsay Memorial Auditorium at 125 W. Ashley St. That is across the street from the auditorium it sold.

The parking garage was built in 1989, according to the property appraisers website.

Adam Rigel signed the mortgages. He is CFO and a partner in JWB Real Estate Capital.

First Baptist’s ‘big Prayer’

In one of the most vivid images used by First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Senior Pastor Heath Lambert to illustrate the church’s dire financial straits, he told the congregation about how on Monday mornings he would be on the floor in his church office, praying while a church committee at another location counted the offerings from the day before.

He was “begging God to have enough money to pay our people this week.”

“Every day in the month of July, I don’t care who you are, you had more money in your bank account than First Baptist Church did,” Lambert told the congregation on Sept. 8. “Every single day. If you had $1 in your bank account, you had more money than First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, and we are spending $1.2 million a month.”

For longtime church members, it was a difficult message to absorb. They had seen First Baptist grow at its downtown campus to become one of the largest churches in the country. But the benefit of being downtown turned inside-out as residential growth pushed farther into the suburbs, leaving First Baptist with a campus that Lambert said is far too big and costly to maintain.

As Jerry Holland listened to Lambert say First Baptist needs to shrink its downtown campus by 90 percent and focus future growth on satellite churches across the region, Holland experienced conflicting reactions.

The first time Holland worshiped at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, the sheer magnitude of the service was overwhelming and uplifting.

First Baptist Church Rendering Shows Exterior Refresh

Downtowns First Baptist Church of Jacksonville will give the Lindsay Memorial Auditorium an exterior face-lift as part of a $1.78 million renovation.

The board took no action Feb. 11 on the proposed renovation.

During the board workshop, Traino said the church plans to use a single-color metal panel with vertical seams and will paint the exterior concrete white.

Read the rest of this story at

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First Baptist Church Of Jacksonville

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville
Worship service in 2011
Heath Lambert

The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is a Southern Baptistmegachurch in DowntownJacksonville, Florida, U.S. As of 2014, First Baptist Church has 28,000 members and an average attendance of around 3,000 for Sunday services. The main Downtown Campus comprises several square blocks of property connected by above-ground crosswalks. The campus includes several auditoriums for services, a Sunday school building, and facilities for First Baptist Academy, a private K-12 school.

First Baptist Church has its origins in the oldest Baptist congregation in Jacksonville, Bethel Baptist Church, established in 1838. The church experienced a period of considerable growth in the mid-20th century, eventually encompassing eleven square blocks of downtown Jacksonville. Several former pastors, including Homer G. Lindsay Jr. and Jerry Vines, were widely influential in the Southern Baptist Convention, leading it in both growth and a shift towards conservatism.

Th Century To Present

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville with Fixed Audience Seating ...

The church did not fare well in the early 20th century. By 1940, First Baptist had accumulated a debt of $125,000 and saw its educational building repossessed by its creditors. That year, the church hired Homer Lindsay Sr. as their senior pastor. Under his leadership the church reversed its fortunes, and within a few years it paid off its debt, acquired a new education building, and grew its congregation. In 1969 First Baptist hired Lindsay’s son, Homer G. Lindsay Jr., as co-pastor he took over sole pastoral duties upon his father’s retirement in 1975. Under Lindsay Jr. the church experienced even faster growth, emerging as a megachurch with thousands of members and many new buildings, including a new 3,500-seat auditorium.

Jerry Vines joined Lindsay as co-pastor in 1982. First Baptist grew even further, becoming a major power in the Southern Baptist Convention and adding a 10,000-seat auditorium in 1993. Vines became a key leader in the growing Convention and was a major figure in its shift toward strict conservatism. Vines and First Baptist Church received national attention in June 2002 for Vines’ controversial statements regarding Islam. Lindsay died in 2000 and Vines retired in 2006 Mac Brunson was hired as senior pastor that year. Recent developments include the establishment of First Baptist Academy and of a satellite campus of the church in neighboring St. Johns County. Heath Lambert is the current senior pastor.

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First Baptist Church Abandons Plan To Sell Most Of Downtown Campus

Jacksonvilles First Baptist Church will not pursue its plan to sell a majority of its Downtown campus and consolidate to The Hobson Block as offers to buy its property dwindled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

First Baptist Senior Pastor Heath Lambert announced the church leaderships decision Aug. 2 in a town hall meeting with the congregation.

Because of the change of the real estate market brought on by the COVID recession, I want to let you know very clearly that The Hobson Block plan is over. Were not talking about that anymore, Lambert said.

Lambert said in January six to eight large buyers were interested in the 11.29-acre property listed by CBRE Jacksonville. Those buyers ended communication after the onset of the pandemic in March.

The kind of uncertainly created by the pandemic makes all of these guys go away. We havent seen or heard from them in months, Lambert said.

Offers from other buyers within the last 30 days included smaller sections of the churchs Downtown real estate and were about 25% of the value brokers advised First Baptist to accept in January, Lambert said.

The pastor did not provide specific figures during the sermon-style town hall at the churchs Lindsay Memorial Auditorium.

Several weeks ago, when I received that information, I realized were up against a wall we cant get over, Lambert said.

The senior pastor did not elaborate Aug. 2 on what the plan is now for the churchs Downtown campus outside of the auditorium.

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Music & Administrative Pastor

John has served as the college pastor of FBC since January 2021. He received a masters of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His passion in ministry is to see the kingdom of God advance to the ends of the earth. He loves to see college students respond in faith to the Gospel and see them grow in understanding and applying the word of God to their lives. He is passionate about seeing the church strive together to obey Christ more and more. He and his wife Baylee have been married for 5 years.

John Pendleton

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