In the early 1920’s, Baptist leaders in Wilmington realized that a new Baptist church was needed to serve the families in growing neighborhoods. In 1923 a group of dedicated Christian men mortgaged their homes to raise the money needed to buy property at the corner of 17th and Market Street to serve as the location for the newly chartered Temple Baptist Church. The white frame church building was expanded several times as the membership grew and programs and ministries increased. During the Depression, it was noted in church records that “despite all hardships and handicaps, the church has gone steadily on and every year the church has shown an encouraging increase…No one can study the record or become familiar with the personnel, spirit and work of the church without feeling that the Lord guided in the organization and that his Good Hand has been upon the church…”
By 1942 a vision of a newer and larger building prompted the church to establish a building fund. Faithful support, even during the perilous time of war, enabled the church to pay off its mortgage in 1944 and continue to expand programs as it also saved for the future.
Sunday morning, March 16, 1952, church members gathered at the corner of 17th and Market Street to mourn as a devastating fire ravaged and destroyed the church. The Christian hands of St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church reached out to share their nearby facilities with Temple’s members until a new building could be constructed. October 9, 1953 the congregation of Temple Baptist moved into its new red brick building at the corner of 18th and Market Street. The one small surviving structure left at the original church site was moved to Ogden as a mission and is now Ogden Baptist Church. A second mission was later established in Scotts Hill, and it has grown to become Scotts Hill Baptist Church. Temple has continued its outreach ministry by opening a Christian Activity Center in 2001.
Many changes have occurred in Wilmington since the 1920’s, as Temple Baptist Church has remained steadfast in its faithfulness. Countless lives have been touched throughout the history of this congregation as all have worked to honor the mission of Temple itself: To Know Christ and To Make Him Known. The doors of Temple remain open to everyone, extending a warm welcome that reflects an abiding love of Jesus and gratitude to God for His guidance and protection.