How it all started...
July 8, 1973
On the second Sunday of July, 1973, Stewart Street Baptist Church was started with ten charter members in the old Northside Baptist building on Stewart Street in Milton, Florida, led by Pastor Jerry Walker.
Pastor Jerry Walker
Pastor Walker and his wife, Anne (both Alabama natives) moved to Milton from Springfield, Missouri with their two sons, Mark and Clay. They quickly saw God bless them and that small group of believers as additional souls were saved and lives were changed while their own family grew in 1974 with the birth of Clint, their third son. After church growth led them to build a new auditorium over the next couple of years, the Lord quickly filled that up as well.
Expanding the vision...
In the fall of 1979, Stewart Street Baptist Christian School opened its doors to seventy-six students, a school the Walkers felt led to open because they wanted to teach God’s truths to the children of the growing Milton community.
Into the 1980s, the church and school grew together in size by expanding classes and purchasing and remodeling nearby facilities, until it was realized that the ministry was out of space and that there was a need to relocate. In the fall of 1987, the Stewart Street Baptist Church and Christian School property was sold and the ministry was relocated to Highway 90. It was at that time that the ministry was renamed West Florida Baptist Church and Academy.
In 1989, the Lord led Pastor Jerry Walker to resign as pastor. Pastor Lamar Ingle led WFBC as senior pastor until health problems forced him to resign in 1991, at which time the church called Pastor Alan Stewart into the role of Senior Pastor.
Pastor Alan Stewart
Alan, along with his wife Darlyne and daughter Alana, were not strangers to WFBC. Pastor Stewart and his wife had helped start the church in 1973 and had served as administrator and principal of the school as well as assistant pastor of the church.
In the fall of 2008, West Florida Baptist opened a newly constructed building with additional classroom spaces and a multipurpose gymnasium, expanding ministry opportunities in both the school and church. The church auditorium was also redesigned at that time.
The Lord's leading...
Pastor Mike Brown
In 2016, Pastor Alan Stewart felt led of the Lord to resign after leading the church for twenty-five years. Pastor Mike Brown, who had been a part of the ministry since 2000, was voted in at that time as the new and current senior pastor of WFBC. Before taking on the role of senior pastor – with the support of his wife Alana and their four children, Stewart, Shepard, Saban, and Scarlett – Pastor Brown served in multiple areas of the ministry, with the main titles of assistant pastor and youth director.
God at work...
During the last six years of ministry, Pastor Mike has led our church through a period of growth and revitalization, seeing church attendance and school enrollment grow to record high numbers. As the name of Jesus has been lifted up, souls continue to be saved, and lives continue to be transformed. In response to God’s leading and blessing, WFBC has seen major campus improvement projects that will allow for future expansion and increased ministry opportunities.
As we look back at what God has done over the last fifty years of ministry at West Florida Baptist Church and Academy, and, as we consider what He continues to do, we are humbled and amazed. To God be the glory—great things He has done!