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History of First Coast Churches

A History of Pastoring Together

The history of First Coast Churches clearly shows ministry leaders pastoring together for more than 140 years.

The early history of First Coast Churches begins in 1879

Pastors of four churches came together to form the St. Marys River Association. A short 23 years later in 1902 the St. Marys River Association changed their name to better reflect their mission field. Nineteen member churches and their pastors together voted to amend the constitution striking out the words “St. Marys” and substituting the word “Jacksonville.” The Jacksonville Association was born.

The middle years of growth, change and progress

In October 1938 the pastors of the Jacksonville Association, meeting at Callahan Baptist Church, entertained a motion for the dismissal of 9 churches for the purpose of organizing a new association that would better serve the Northeast Florida mission field. Together these nine pastors and churches met and became the Northeast Florida Association.

In the fall of 2012, the Jacksonville Baptist Association started operating under the wordmark engagejax. This new identity was organized around three priorities of church planting (Expand), church revitalization (Equip), and community ministry (Engage). The overarching goal was to make it easier to do each priority in Jacksonville and harder to do it alone!

Today the Jacksonville Baptist Association has become First Coast Churches. Like the other name changes in our history there is a missional reason for the change. Our mission field is growing. Churches well beyond Duval County and Jacksonville are finding value in our pastoring together emphasis and resources. Our network is composed of over 200 churches and church plants in rural, urban, suburban and beach communities giving us a unique opportunity to work together as gospel partners.

Anticipating the future

We believe the future of First Coast Churches is still being written. And it is being written by pastors who choose to bear one another’s burdens and extend the Gospel across the First Coast of Florida, together.