Northwood/Village Baptist Church
History - 1927-2012
A group of Christian friends began to see a need and pray for a church in the north end of West Palm Beach. On February 8, 1927, Northwood Baptist Church began with 54 charter members. By November of that year membership had grown to 108. One year later the facilities were destroyed in a hurricane. Through faith, the members decided not to disband but to rebuild. Pastor C.G. Dilworth (1927-33) toured the state, requesting funds from other Baptist churches, and with an additional loan from the State Mission Board, they were able to rebuild the building at 3900 Broadway, in West Palm Beach.
Rev. James P. Rogers (1933-39), Rev. Preston B. Sellers (1939-46), and Rev. Guy Marlowe (1946-50) followed Rev. Dilworth as pastors of the church.
During the church’s 86 years of ministry, it has been instrumental in beginning many missions, and has supported them financially until they could become full-fledged churches, including Lighthouse Baptist Church, Belvedere Baptist, First Baptist, Royal Palm Beach, and Crossroads Baptist.
Pastors, missionaries, and denominational servants have gone out from Northwood to share Christ all over the world. Dr. Adrian Rogers (former SBC President and Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis Tennessee), Dr. Charles Grantland Fuller (former pastor FBC/Roanoke, Virginia), Reverend David Holt (retired pastor The Worship Center/Plantation), Jody Cappar (chaplain/Pentagon),Ruth Huff (former missionary to Louisiana, Jennifer Rothschild (musician/speaker/author), Gil and Lya Santhon (missionaries to Angola and Brazil). These are but a few of those who have been nurtured at Northwood, then moved on to preach, teach, share through their music, and give of themselves in ministry.
In the 50’s under the leadership of Pastor Allan Watson (1950-60), the Sunday School attendance sometimes exceeded 1,000. The Invitation to Life television program was begun.
Over the next 15 years, Rev. W. Hal Hunter (1960-65), Dr. George Balentine (1966-68), Dr. Haskell Bolding (1969-71), and Dr. Guy Greenfield (1972-75) served as pastors.
During the ministry of Reverend Steve Cloud (1975-82), youth interns were hired for the summer. They served in various capacities of youth ministry, and it was not unusual to see 200-250 young people worshipping on a Wednesday evening.
In 1984, under the leadership of Pastor George Thomasson (1983-96), the church purchased 26.3 acres at I-95 near 45th Street on Village Boulevard. The purchase price of $950,000 was given in one year by the members – over and above the tithes and regular operating expenses of the church – and paid in full at closing on the land.
The old church facilities at 3900 Broadway in West Palm Beach were sold to Union Missionary Baptist Church for $850,000. Northwood then moved to a temporary location at 1233 45th Street and remained there in converted office buildings for a year and a half.
In May 1989, Northwood entered into a Joint Venture with Crossroads Baptist Church in their facilities at 5710 Haverhill Road, while the new church building was being completed on Village Boulevard.
As has always been the case, senior adults led the way in giving, promoting, and encouraging others during this time of transition. Moving from place to place for several years led us to refer to ourselves as the Nomad Baptist Church.
July 22, 1990, was the first Sunday in the new facilities. What a glorious time as God led over 380 new Sunday School members and 210 new church members to Northwood, with 55 baptisms. The church also ranked seventh in the state in highest gifts to the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. All of this occurred during just that first year.
The new facilities and location brought much excitement and growth. Many young families benefited from the Growing Kids God’s Way series led by Lane and Vicki Porter. Our Royal Ambassador mission program for boys was the largest in the state for three years. The senior adult ministry thrived under the leadership of Dr. Scott Hutchison, and a monthly food ministry was also begun. A thriving Homebound Ministry started, ministering to members no longer able to actively participate in the life of the church.
Dr. Darrell Gwaltney (1997-2002) came as pastor following some months as our interim pastor. Northwood began a transition from a traditional worship service to a contemporary one. The food ministry thrived and many Northwood folk gave and continue to give their time and energy to feed the needy – especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. In 2006 the ministry provided food and toys to over 4,000.
Dr. Earl Comfort was called as interim pastor when Dr. Gwaltney returned to college teaching. Dr. Comfort stretched our minds and hearts through his vast knowledge of the Word and his communication skills. We began our Steps Classes for new members during this time.
Rev. Patrick Moody (2004-11) came as pastor in January 2004. Significant refurbishing of the building was accomplished following three hurricanes. The Young Adults prayerfully led us to pay off the debt on the church property in March 2006. Pastor Moody felt the name of the church should reflect the community in which the church is now located, and the congregation voted in 2007 to operate as “The Village Baptist Church”, although the legal name remains “The Northwood Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, Florida, Inc.”. The Faith Training began, and through this visitation and witnessing program, people came to know Christ and follow Him in baptism.
Pastor Moody resigned in October 2011, and Dr. Jonathan Grenz was called as interim pastor. Dr. Grenz has sought healing for the church and preparation for a new pastor through the preaching of God’s Word about love, the church, prayer, and leadership. The church constitution and bylaws were updated for clarity of purpose.
The Pastor Search Committee, formed in early 2012, is working diligently in search of a new pastor for our diverse congregation. After celebration of our 86th Anniversary on February 8, 2013, we look forward to finding a new pastor to lead us as our church seeks God’s will for His people.