The History of Regency Baptist Church
1984 - Present
(click on the pictures for more photos)
Regency Baptist Church was founded in 1984 as an outreach of the Worth Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas. Regency’s founding pastor, Jonathan Stewart, was a student at a local Bible college and had a burden to plant a church. After spending much time in prayer and consulting with the faculty at the Bible college, he determined that the rapidly growing area of southeast Arlington was where God wanted him to start the church.
Arlington Gem and
After searching for several weeks to find a suitable location to hold services, the first service of what was then known as Southeast Baptist Church was held on June 17, 1984 at the Arlington Gem and Mineral Club. Although just a handful of people showed up for the first service, a new church work had begun. Due to scheduling conflicts with others who were using the building, the church was unable to continue meeting at the Arlington Gem and Mineral Club after just a couple services. Over the next several weeks, Southeast Baptist Church held services at the homes of Pastor Stewart and his assistant pastor. Finally, in September 1984, the church found a more permanent home at the Arlington Girls Club on Matlock Road.
Arlington Girls Club
In early 1987, the church purchased the current property on New York Avenue and began taking steps to build the first phase building. Even in the late 1980's, putting up a new church building was something that came with much difficulty for a small church. As with most building programs, everything cost more than expected, and the church had to find additional sources of funding in order to get the building put up. More than two more years after groundbreaking, the building was finally completed and the first services were held on October 22, 1989. Around this time, the church also voted to change its name to Regency Baptist Church.
In the early 1990’s, the church continued to experience growth in numbers and began increasing its missions support. In 1993, Olive Tree Ministries International began under the leadership of Phil Sawilowsky as an outreach of Regency to inform Christians on the Jewish faith.
In 1996, Pastor Stewart left Regency and became an assistant pastor at another church. For the next nine months, Regency was without a full-time pastor and had several individuals fill the pulpit. In 1997, God brought Dr. Bob Wallace to Regency, and the church voted to make him the pastor in July. Under Pastor Wallace’s leadership, the church gained a “second wind” to continue the work and the church began to grow again in the late 1990s and early 2000s with several new families joining the church.
In July 2016, Regency hired Bryan Kaffenbarger as an assistant pastor with the goal of helping train him for future ministry and to help Pastor Wallace with the work at Regency. In June 2018, after 54 years in the ministry, Pastor Wallace retired from full-time service and the church voted to make Bryan the senior pastor of Regency. Pastor Kaffenbarger's desire is to reach families and children with the gospel and to continue to edify the saints at Regency.
Today, Regency continues to be a lighthouse at the corner of New York Avenue and Highbank Drive in southeast Arlington. The church continues to reach out to the community and provide the gospel to every creature as the Lord commanded.
Come join us this week and become a part of our church’s history!