THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF CENTRAL BAPTIST CHURCH
Central Baptist Church began as a mission work, coming out of two churches, Bethlehem Baptist Church and Riverdale Baptist Church, in November 1966. The first meeting place was at Damascus High School with Rev. Tom Tennis.
Rev. Lee Baughman, from Delaware, (who specialized in church planting) came to help in April 1967. The congregation began meeting in Gaithersburg High School. Rev. Baughman helped to locate a property on Darnestown Road (Rt. 28), belonging to Hunting Hills Methodist Church. Aided by Rev. Baughman, the congregation purchased the Hunting Hills property. Later, two additional acres were purchased. The church became independent of its sponsoring churches on August 2, 1967, when fifteen members voted to organize under the name of Central Baptist Church. The first trustees of the church were Ira Robertson, Spencer Boone, and Mac Currin. After the official organization, the church called Rev. John Russel, from Elkton, Maryland, to be their first pastor. He preached his first sermon on August 20, 1967.
Two years later, in September 1967, Pastor Russell, along with members and friends of the church, began work on a new sanctuary. After many long hours of labor by the men, the building was ready for dedication in January 1970.
Rev. Russell served as pastor of Central for ten years when he received a call from the Beth Haven Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky. He left for this new pastorate after preaching his tenth-anniversary message. After pastor Russell left, the church called Rev. Jack Grimm of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to be the church's second pastor. He preached his first sermon on September 18, 1977.
In 1984, the church property was purchased by Montgomery County to make way for Key West Highway. At that time the church began meeting in Perry High School in Rockville, Maryland. Pastor Grimm remained our pastor until March 1985, at which time he resigned and left the area.
In June 1985, the church called Rev. Gillis Eugene ("Gene") Davis of Charleston, South Carolina, to become the third pastor of the church. He and his family arrived on July 14, 1985. The meeting place moved back to Gaithersburg High School. Under Pastor Davis' leadership, an almost 11-acre parcel of land was purchased at the intersection of Shady Grove and Muncaster Mill Roads.
In July 1986, Brother Terry Danford was added to the staff as the youth pastor, and during some of his time here, his wife Tina served as the church secretary. Terry served until 1994, when he was called to pastor a church in Acton, Indiana, near Indianapolis.
Building plans were begun, and the required permits applied for. When these were approved, a new building was erected at 7271 Muncaster Mill Road, Rockville, Maryland. The first service was held on February 7, 1988.
Under Pastor Davis' leadership, ground was broken to start a new fellowship/education wing on the church. This was to be built as funds were available so that the church would not incur another mortgage. Pastor Davis retired from Central in December 1997.
Later that same month, the church called Dr. Frederick W. Carroll from Hopewell, Virginia, to be the fourth pastor of Central Baptist Church. The Carrolls arrived the week of Christmas, and Pastor Carroll officially began serving the church on January 1, 1998. Pastor Carroll served the church for twenty years, retiring the first Sunday in January 2018. Under his leadership, the church raised and spent over $450,000 to put up the exterior shell of the fellowship/education wing. The interior work remains to be completed when funds become available as the church grows.
The deacons and trustees served as a pulpit committee for the greater part of 2018. They interviewed a number of men, bringing in several to fill the pulpit. Dr. Mike Davidson served briefly as the interim pastor starting in October. He was presented as a pastoral candidate on the morning of December 16, 2018. The church issued a call following the morning service. Accepting the call that afternoon, Dr. Davidson preached his first message as pastor of CBC that same evening.