A Brief History of Immanuel Baptist Church
Immanuel Baptist Church was chartered and organized in September of 1988 desiring to be a lighthouse on the west side of Jacksonville. After years of faithful service, their pastor’s health failed, and he was ushered into Heaven. Without a shepherd to lead the flock, the congregation diminished.
In 2010, the remaining members asked the administration of Berean Baptist Church if they could supply a preacher to fill the pulpit. This relationship became so successful that the members of Immanuel Baptist Church voted unanimously to unite the two churches. Services were held at both locations for several months with souls being saved and blessed growth.
Dr. Tom Neal had served more than three decades when the church voted to bring on his son, Dr. Greg Neal, as Co-Pastor to prepare a smooth transition when Dr. Tom Neal retired. Services continued at the Fleming Island location as well as the Argyle Forest/Oakleaf location. The church and its ministries continued to flourish. Berean Christian Academy, Berean Publications, a bus ministry reaching Clay and Duval County, a deaf ministry, a Spanish ministry, as well as a youth ministry were all thriving under the leadership of both Dr. Neals.
On January 6, 2013, now known as Transition Sunday, Dr. Tom Neal retired from the pastorate to begin Tom Neal Ministries to help pastors across America to stir the hearts of Christians toward revival. The church voted overwhelmingly to have his son, Dr. Greg Neal, become our full-time Pastor and Dr. Tom Neal as Pastor Emeritus. Having served as an assistant Pastor for twelve years and the co-pastor for four years, the transition could not have gone smoother.
Because of Pastor Neal’s great vision to reach more lives in our community as well as around the world, the church followed his leadership to relocate to the Immanuel Baptist Church Argyle Forest/Oakleaf location on February 1, 2015. The debt-free, thirty-four-acre property had a small auditorium and an office wing. New facilities were soon erected for Sunday school space and to house Berean Christian Academy. It was not long before Pastor Neal was preaching three-morning services to accommodate the crowds in the existing auditorium. In October of 2015, a 3200 square foot tent was secured to be used for the auditorium. Twenty tons of HVAC was soon added to control the climate in the Florida heat.
In January of 2019, we merged with Bible Baptist Church in Orange Park and acquired their property for our educational campus. Then, God miraculously allowed us to purchase twenty acres on the corner of Normandy Boulevard and the First Coast Expressway. Our first service at this new location was on June 30, 2019. Since then, we have renovated our auditorium, set in place our Sunday school modular, and are preparing for our dedication service on October 27, 2019. Souls continue to be saved and lives are being changed. Churches have been planted in Jacksonville, across our country, and around the world as the church continues to support many missionaries.