In 1944 Reverend Hugh Eberhart saw a need for a church in the area of town where he lived. He had faith in God and believed this could be done, so he erected a tent and held a revival. As a result of this revival, Central Baptist Church was organized with 42 members. For a short period of time the members meet in their homes until a house was built on the corner of Madison and College Avenue. Within 2 years the church had grown to 220 members and built a new block church building facing College Avenue. This church was built by Brother Hugh Eberhart and the church members.
In 1945, on the third Sunday in August Central Baptist held its first Homecoming service in the block church. Central still celebrates Homecoming on the third Sunday in August.
In 1946 the church called Reverend Clarke Ellison into service at Central. In 1954, the block building was brick veneered and new pews and an organ was purchased. The first church building was made into a pastorium directly behind the church. Brother Ellison lived there with his family until 1959 when a new pastorium was built at 111 Northcrest Drive. The former pastorium was converted into much needed Sunday school rooms and a Fellowship Hall.
In 1968, as a result of the Urban Renewal Project in downtown Athens, Central had to relocate from it's location on College Avenue in downtown Athens to it's present location on Danielsville Road near the bypass. The new church campus included an 800 capacity sanctuary and Sunday school in the main building and a new fellowship hall was built beside the main building. The fellowship hall served as the sanctuary and Sunday school area during this construction period. Reverend Clarke Ellison pastured Central for thirty years and retired in 1976.
Dr. Ben Glosson answered the call to serve as pastor in 1976. During this time the church organized a W.M.U, Brother, RA's, and Acteens and mission friends programs. The church called the first full-time minister of music started a benevolence program, tape ministry and TV program. The church experienced tremendous growth under Bro. Ben’s ministry. In 1984, the Family Life Center was built and the old fellowship hall was turned into a pre-school building. Bro. Ben served until 1987 when he answered a call to Southside Baptist Church.
In May of 1988, Dr. Charles McClain of Oklahoma answered the call the serve as our pastor. During Bro. Charles ministry, he instituted programs that allowed us to reduce our debt significantly and we paid off the mortgage on our Family Life Center building. We also started an Awana children’s program. In December of 1994 Brother Charles answered the call to a Baptist church in Overlook, Kansas.
Reverend Ronny Barnes was called as our pastor in 1996. He came to us from County Line Baptist Church in Covington Ga. He served until 2000.
Reverend Joe Dooley answered the call to Central from Meadow Baptist Church on January 27, 2002. He started the “Grow Visitation Program” which produced a number of new members. Brother Joe had a heart for starting new churches and answered a call to start a new church in Madison County Georgia in August 2003.
We called Reverend Terry Stutes on August 9, 2004. During Brother Terry’s ministry the church membership increased and he baptized 15 people during the first year of his ministry with us. We also installed a multi-media center that greatly enhanced our worship service and a minister of music.
In December 2006 Reverend Joel Dover answered Central’s call for a new pastor. Under Brother Joel’s leadership the church has adopted the Biblical vision of the church-the 3D’s of Purpose: discipleship, development, and deployment. A Bible centered Bible Institute has been launched to train church leaders for ministry. We started lay evangelistic preaching ministries in two assisted living communities and the County jail. All of our ministries have expanded during this time.
In November 2011 Dr Bill Carpenter answered Central’s call for a new pastor. Dr Bill Carpenter served as pastor for almost twenty months June 16, 2013. He had fifty years total service of being a pastor with six different church congregations in the Norheast Georgia area. The first church he began serving as pastor was in April 1963, Easter Sunday morning in a small church up on the Banks, Franklin, and Stephens County line.
Dr. Ric Veal became Central's new pastor in September 2014.
He Served as pastor untill November 2015.
On August 1, 2016 Reverend Rusty Couch answered the call to serve as Central's new Senior Pastor.
He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Church Leadership from Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Over the last two decades, Rusty has served churches in Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia in music, missions, outreach, and student ministry capacities.
Along the way the Lord has supplied Central with many interim pastors that kept us on a Godly path while we searched for the ultimate person God would have to lead us. We want to thank those men for their faithful service to Central: Dr. George Henderson, Brother Bill Long, Reverend Mark Palmer, Reverend Don Fuller, Reverend Bob Nash, Reverend Jeff Langley and Dr Stewart B. Simms, Jr.
Today, we have many programs in our church. Each Sunday, we have morning and evening worship services filled with up lifting music of songs and praises to the Lord. We follow the singing with sermons based on the word of God. We also offer Sunday school, a nursery and children’s church each Sunday morning. Prayer service and Unleashed, our youth group ministry meets on Sunday and Wednesday nights. On Thursdays we meet at 11:00am for Prayer meeting and Tuesday afternoon our Bouquets of Sunshine group meets to visit shut-ins. We have active Men’s and WMU organizations in our church in addition to a Jail and Assisted Living ministry.
The Lord has richly blessed us and we are Thankful for his gifts. To God be the Glory!