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 on Fleming Island 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.
Around this time, Dr. Tom Neal had served more than three decades when the church voted to bring on his son, Greg Neal, as its co-pastor. While services continued to be held at the two separate locations, Fleming Island and Argyle Forest/Oakleaf, the church flourished through its various ministries. Berean Christian Academy, Berean Publications, a bus ministry reaching Clay and Duval counties, a deaf ministry, a Spanish-speaking ministry, a teen ministry, and others thrived and grew.
In January of 2013, Dr. Tom Neal retired from the pastorate, and the church membership voted in Greg Neal as their full-time pastor. Through Pastor Neal’s vision to reach more souls across the nearby community and around the world, the church followed his leadership to consolidate to its Argyle Forest/Oakleaf location in February 2015. On this 34-acre property with its small auditorium and offices, additional facilities were added as space for Sunday school classes and for Berean Christian Academy. Growth persisted, and soon three services were being held to accommodate all its congregation on Sunday mornings. In October 2016, a 3,200 square foot tent, complete with heating and air conditioning, was assembled to become the new auditorium. Sidewalks were poured and landscape was installed. The membership flourished and grew steadily.
In January 2019, Bible Baptist Church in Orange Park chose to merge their membership with Immanuel Baptist. Their property on Moody Avenue in Orange Park was soon converted into an educational campus for Berean Christian Academy. However, God was not done opening doors in 2019. A few months later, the church was able to purchase 20 acres on Normandy Boulevard next to the First Coast Expressway. Construction and renovations were still in progress when Immanuel Baptist Church held its first services there in June 2019.
While many churches halted services and closed their doors in early 2020, Immanuel Baptist Church persisted, never canceling services or closing its doors once throughout that year’s tumultuous days. The membership steadily grew, despite all odds. Souls continued to be saved while the church initiated new ministries, such as North Florida Baptist College, and took on additional foreign missionaries for support. In early 2021, the church embarked on an ambitious building program, organically raising money for building the additional facilities mapped out in its master plan.
Renovations continued into 2022, providing additional seating in the auditorium for the ever-growing Sunday congregation. Additional staff was added as the church, academy, college, and its other ministries flourished.
Immanuel Baptist Church celebrates Pastor Greg Neal and his ten years of unwavering leadership in January 2023. Despite the last decade of moving facilities multiple times, relentless growth, and maneuvering through an ever-changing world, Immanuel Baptist Church continues to stand as a lighthouse of faith to the greater Jacksonville area as it has for so many years. Reaching the lost for Christ and helping to change lives for His cause has been and always will be the main goal.
Where church feels like family and Sundays is like coming home, we encourage everyone to, “Come see for yourself!” and make Immanuel Baptist Church your church home.