The History of Val Verde Baptist Church
Following a two week revival, held at the corner of Atlantic Road and Val Verde Street, ValVerdeBaptistChurch was organized on December 16, 1945 with 10 charter members. It was stared as a mission of 18th Street Baptist Church under the leadership of Brother John W. Duggar, assisted by Brother W.P. Murchison, Pastor of Park Place Baptist Church, Brother L.N. Lassiter, Polk County Missionary pastor, and Brother M.D. Cruse.
By February 28, 1946 the church had grown to 23 members when they called their first pastor. Membership grew to around 320 by October of 1964 when there was a merger of CalvaryBaptistChurch with Val Verde, giving the church a combined membership of 438. During the pastorate of James Stroud, the church grew to an average of 1,000 with high days in excess of 2,000 in attendance.
On February 14, 1946, property was purchased at the corner of 32nd Street and Cleveland in the Groves. Three frame buildings were erected. The original buildings were razed in 1968 and new church buildings were erected. In 1975, a shopping center located at the corner of 39th Street and Cleveland was purchased. It was remodeled for church use and a building was joined to it that could be used both as a gym and an auditorium. The entire structure contains in excess of 70,000 sq. feet and is set on eight acres of land. It has an appraise value of over four million dollars.
In the course of 50 years Val Verde has been led by 11 pastors. They are as follows: Pastor J. Perry Lewis from March 10, 1946 to September 1, 1948. Pastor Charles McKamy from Dec. 8, 1948 to September 1, 1953. Pastor Harry G. Lagrone from October 4, 1953 to August 26, 1956. Pastor Nolan Sumner from September 19, 1956 to February 1, 1959.Pastor Rueben L. Leslie, Sr. from April 12, 1959 to January 29, 1967. Pastor James Stroud from February 12, 1968 to January 3, 1982. Pastor R.G. Stuart from March 6, 1982 to July 12, 1986. Pastor Larry Bullard from September 7, 1986 to December 15, 1991. Pastor Gary Smith from March 22, 1992 to April 20, 1997. Pastor John W. "Brent" Stancil from July 6, 1997 to April 26, 2009. Pastor Rick Koonce From January 31, 2010 to December 21, 2014
Val Verde has been involved in many effective and fruitful ministries during its history. Only eternity will reveal the positive effects that it has had over these many years. At this time we are involved in a full range of ministries. We have a strong foreign missions program that supports over 70 missionary families many different countries. We operate a large Child Care ministry that currently has over 140 children enrolled. We also have a growing Christian Academy and other ministries that include a food bank, military ministry, transportation ministry, kids and youth ministries, a strong music ministry, nursing home, senior living home, an addiction ministry, as well as weekly church outreach and ministry.