1906The first home for Tauranga Baptists - Kymin is the name of the lovely Kauri home built for Rev William Barnett in 1906. It stood in the middle of this 10 acre block bounded by 12th and 13th Avenues and Cameron and Devonport Road, where Countdown now stands. Baptist services were held in it until the Baptist Church was built in 1911.
Our journey - past to present
1911The first building was built on donated land on Cameron Rd between 10th and 11th Ave and was opened on 12th Sept. The building was later moved in 1972 to the Historic Village and is now used by Detour Theatre.
1927Baptismal service at Turret Road Rev Barnett wearing the skull cap. The first few years where tough and after 16 years there was a membership of only 24 – but it was said “it was mighty in Spirit”.
1940'sThe Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade began in the 1940’s. The work grew and peaked in the late 50’s and 60’s with over 90 boys and 50 girls.
1950'sThe first Sunday School started way back in 1912, but it reached its peak in the 50’s and 60’s when every Sunday buses brought children from Greerton, Bellevue and Mt Maunganui. By the mid-50’s the church was 236 members.
1950'sIn 1951 land was bought in Mt Maunganui with a view to establishing a new church there. In 1953 a Sunday School had started in Mrs Brown’s garage in Otumoetai and had grown to such a size that land was purchased for a hall to be built and later a church. By the late 50’s new churches were built at Te Puke (1957) and Mt Maunganui (1959). Māori mission Sunday Schools were established in Maungatapu and Wairoa.
1960'sIn 1962 a building committee was appointed. In 1964 land on 13th Ave was bought. All age Sunday School was introduced at this time and peaked with 350 people on a Sunday morning with classes spread all over the building and around the city. In November 1966 building began and in September 1967 the new church was opened. The total cost for land and building was $84,000.
1970'sThere was a desire to serve the community as well as have an effective Sunday School hall, so the Community Centre (Social Centre) was built and opened in July 1973. Over the years these buildings have been well utilised for both church and community programmes.
1980'sIn the early 80’s a new vision was developing for what is now known as Gresham Court. This 22-unit pensioner housing complex was the vision of Frank Gresham, who bought the land in Devonport Rd. Unfortunately, the project was not completed until March 1982, after Frank’s death.
1980'sChurch life was very full, with a strong Children’s and Youth work, growing small groups, choirs, Boy’s and Girl’s Brigade and the community centre used by hundreds in the community. The church was also involved, along with other local Baptist churches, in the planting of Papamoa, Katikati and Welcome Bay Baptist Churches. The first youth pastor was appointed in 1988.
1990'sThe 90’s are known for the growth in Mission work. The first Missions Committee was set up in the late 70’s, but well before that was BMF (BWMU) which started in 1921. Under Stuart Avery mission interest grew and many were serving in different ways. There has always been a keen interest in mission which continues today.
2000'sIn the late 90’s the youth ministry began to struggle and by the end of the 2000’s the church had gradually changed from an intergenerational, community church to a niche “Seniors’ church”. This change reflected the wider Tauranga community with a significant influx of retiree’s.
2010'sWe celebrated 100 years in 2011, which was wonderful, but while a niche seniors’ church, full of vibrant and faithful people, had its strengths, it also had its shortcomings as the congregation slowly aged. In 2016 we planted a younger congregation, with a children’s ministry, called “The Upper Room”. There was significant hope for this new plant to take us into the future. Unfortunately, after 6 years of fluctuating numbers and the impact of the global pandemic, they eventually dwindled and the remaining people dispersed to other churches with the church’s blessing.
2020As part of the challenge for the church to “grow younger”, a significant refurbishment of the building took place, ensuring the building would continue to serve both old and young in the decades ahead. It included new toilets and kitchen, new chairs and flooring and a general freshening up of the auditorium and hall.