OUR HISTORY



In 1960, when North Port was a modest community of only 164 people, Charles Cuthbertson and his family moved here to found a Baptist church centered on God’s word. They had been commissioned by the fellowship for home missions now called the Baptist Mission of North America. The first service was held July 24, 1960 in the North Port Charlotte Community Center. Originally First Baptist was called the First Baptist Church Fellowship. At a council meeting on May 29, 1961 the name was changed to the First Baptist Church of North Port. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 8, 1962 at 8000 Dorothy Avenue. 79 people, nearly half of North Port’s population, attended the ceremony.

Once Pastor Cuthbertson completed his duties as founder and missionary, Reverend G.H. Wiseman assumed his position as Pastor. Pastor Wiseman served from August 24, 1968 to April 6, 1969 at which time he passed the tourch to Max H. Harvey. In 1971, under Harvey’s leadership, a van was first purchased to help transport children to Sunday School. Shortly afterward plans were made to build a multipurpose building for Sunday School rooms, a nursery, kitchen and a small fellowship hall. In April of the following year a ground breaking ceremony was held and by August the construction was completed. In the winter of 1973 construction of the church parsonage began and was completed by spring of 1974. The parsonage project was paid in full out of church tithings.

North Port Christian Academy was established and began the day after Labor Day in 1978 with an initial enrollment of 33 students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. Its purpose was to permit parents to forgo the worldly teachings in public schooling concerning drugs, sex, evolution and other unbiblical teachings.

Heshia Edwards became the first student to graduate from North Port Christian Academy in June of 1979. Six years later Pastor John Norris was called to the pastorial position and spent much of the following years focusing on mission trips and a neighborhood outreach. He began an AWANA program and youth group ministry under the direction of Kurt Taylor and also saw to the addition of a church library. Following his departure after a call to Illinois, the church sought the leadership of Dr. Richard Zeigert. Pastor Zeigert spent much of his time with us on discipleship and reaching the neighborhood through outreach. In 2010, with the arrival of our newest shepherd, Pastor Jared Gritton, we look forward to his leading us through the next 50 years.