Organized as St. John Missionary Baptist Church, St. John was founded in 1921 through the visionary leadership of 13 founding members. They were W. L. Thames, Hattie Thames, Arch Long, Allen Famon, Lula Famon, Charles Dixon, Nancy Littlejohn, Bettie Reed, Bettie Garner, Sallie Baker, Delia Terry, Romie Hill, and Verna Tallie.
The church gathered at Evening Chapel A.M.E. on the 1st and 3rd Sundays until the latter part of the year when meetings moved to the Dalworth School. At that time, the Dalworth School was the designated school for Black students. The church’s first building was an old store building purchased with proceeds received from a July 4th picnic in 1923.
The Early Years
During the tenure of nine pastors, Reverends W. Scott, C. J. Morse, Rev Jordan, C. J. Gearnerett, S. G. Gooden, T. P. Thompson, J. W. Singleton, N. F. Huff, and N. R. Washington, St. John was located on El Paso Street in Grand Prairie, Texas. St. John’s 10th pastor, Rev. J.V. Williams led the membership to higher heights and purchased the church’s future home located on Spike Street while giving the old store building a new look. As the churches, St. John and Evening Chapel A.M.E., drifted through World War II and with a scarcity of manpower, members frequently served both churches.
Rev. M. Davis Giles and Rev. L. A. Hancock were the 11th and 12th pastors. On December 1, 1941, under the pastorate of Rev. L.A. Hancock, the church issued a letter of approval to David Daniels, Chairman of Trustees, to purchase an army chapel. With funds raised by the members, the church purchased, moved, and erected the army chapel at 2133 Spikes Street.
In 1955, under the pastorate of Rev. R. M. Lester, the 13th pastor, a new sanctuary balcony was built, and classrooms were rededicated. During these years, St. John experienced significant growth.
On August 5, 1957, Rev B.E. Collie became the 14th pastor. Rev Collie was instrumental in eliminating the debt, purchasing pews, organ, choir seats, and pulpit furniture. Under his leadership, the St. John Credit Union was organized, and the Medallion Apartment Complex at 504 SW 23rd St. was purchased. The Medallion Apartment Complex would later become the location for Dallas County HeadStart Program in Grand Prairie.
Rev. Leonard Jordan was called to be the 15th pastor on March 6, 1968. Rev. Jordan focused on extensive repair and remodeling of the church building, improving the parking lot as well as organizing the youth choir and usher board. St. John was very active in the community.
On May 5, 1991, God sent our 17th pastor, Rev. Denny D. Davis. Under Rev. Davis’ pastorate, the membership grew exponentially, and St. John expanded to over 50 ministries and five weekend worship services. In 1995, the St. John Church retired a $500,000 mortgage note.
On November 30, 1997, groundbreaking services were held for the Vision 2000 building project for the Grand Prairie campus. In 2001, the four-story complex consisting of the Life-Time Athletic Family Center, classrooms, bookstore and administrative officers were completed debt free.
In October 1999, the St. John Church established the North Family Fellowship and began meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Grapevine, TX and the DFW Marriott Hotel in Irving, TX. On Sunday, April 30, 2000, the St. John North Family Fellowship dedicated a converted warehouse as the new worship location in Southlake, TX.
On April 13, 2003 (Palm Sunday), St. John began worshipping at NextStage Auditorium, in addition to the Jefferson Street location, to better serve the overflow of services in Grand Prairie.
On April 8, 2006, St. John Church broke ground in Southlake, TX at 800 Kimball Avenue. The Ribbon Cutting and Entrance Service was held on December 30, 2007. The facility includes a 2400 seat capacity sanctuary, Family Life Center, bookstore, classrooms and administrative space.
To further meet the needs of church members and the surrounding communities, St. John opened the H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Prepare for Eternity) Outreach Center in 2005 and the Victory Place Counseling Center in 2009.
In 2009, St. John’s Grand Prairie campus received the Grand Prairie Historical Commission marker, designating it as a historical landmark.
In October 2019, St John Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Southlake campus.
The St. John Church is thankful for its first centennial (100 years) and celebrate growing in the spirit by serving God and God’s people. We, the St. John Church, believe that our thirteen charter members from July 1921 rejoice in thanksgiving with us as we glorify God for continuing growth and discipleship. We look forward to the future and how God will continue to use us to impact society with the message of Jesus Christ. To God Be The Glory!