Dalby Baptist Church is situated just 200 kilometres west of Brisbane on the prime agricultural farmland of the Darling Downs. Dalby is a medium sized regional centre which is very important to the central downs and is also experiencing growth from the expanding resource sector in the Surat Basin.
The Church is a true reflection of the whole family, with great representation from the very smallest to the faithful elderly. Membership currently stands at just over 150, with Sunday morning services averaging around 300 people. We have just in the last few years undergone a building program and relocation to a new and larger premises, with a second stage building program some time in the future. Ministries are currently operating which cater for most age groups and involve a large number of volunteers.
A Brief History
The Dalby Baptist movement started out as a Home Mission in the late 1940's, the church was officially formed in 1950 with just 10 Members. As the church began to grow, various ministry groups commenced and became the focus of outreach into the community. The earliest group being the Sunday School which commenced about 1948 in the Oddfellows Hall. The Ladies work commenced in September 1950 with a regular monthly Women’s Guild Meeting. This presented great opportunities for the ladies to actively contribute to the work of the church. Missionaries and the internal functioning of the church were supported though many a street stall. During these early years, services were held in various halls within the community, including the Oddfellows Hall in New Street, the Salvation Army Hall and the Army Drill Hall.
In July 1952, A manse in Drayton Street was acquired. The manse proved to be the focal point of all church activities until an alternate building could be purchased. As time passed an opportunity came for the purchase of a block opposite the manse. The Home Mission had insufficient funds for purchasing this block but a family within the fledgling church purchased it and later the church purchased this block in their own right. A building program commenced in November 1953 and was officially opened in 1954 at an estimated cost of £3,400. An extension to this building was completed in 1962, which included the first baptistry. (Prior to this Baptisms were performed in the Condamine River or the Myall Creek). As time progressed so did the independence of the Dalby church and in 1955, Dalby ceased to be a Home Mission Church.
In August 1962 night the pastor his family were rudely awoken to find that a wayward truck careered off the road and demolished nearly all their bedroom. In 1971 a new manse was constructed on a block adjoining the church. Probably to ensure that future ministers and their families were not required to live on the main street.
Opportunities for other work saw the commencement of the Girls’ Brigade in 1969 and continued for approximately 5 years. Boys’ Brigade commenced in Dalby during the early 1970’s when the Bell company ceased to function.
In 1975 the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the church lasted for about 3 days. The Baptist Union held their half yearly Assembly in Dalby with local families billeting visitors and most meals were shared at the church. The celebration activities culminated in a communion service on Sunday morning.
Dalby Baptist Church continued to grow spiritually and numerically and in 1984, the last major extension was undertaken. To achieve this the old church was demolished to the floorboards and construction began in earnest. Some of those who were part of the original construction now undertook another active role in this extension. During the demolition and construction phases, church was held in the Patrick Street Fruit Barn,
During the 1980-90's additional surrounding properties were purchased until the site covered approximately 1.25 acres. Each of the buildings were utilised for various groups and there was not to be a day when the site wasn't functioning.
As the church experienced further growth it became apparent that there was a need to build new facilities. Land was purchased in Hayden Street in February 2002, and draft planning began to take shape.
The church property in Drayton Street was sold in August 2005 and we were given permission from the purchaser to continue meeting there until March 2006. Interim facilities we made available through the provision of an industrial shed that was owned by one of the members. Affectionately known as 'The Shed', this became the church's home until our current facilities were sufficiently completed 4 years later.
The Hayden St church facilities were officially opened in May 2010. Being the first stage of a much larger vision, the church services are held in the hall of the facility; with a large auditorium planned as the church continues to grow.
While this brief history primarily focuses on the property aspect of the church, it fails in comparison to the many personal stories of the people who have been and are part of the Dalby Baptist fellowship. We have seen numerous volunteers involved in various ministries throughout our church and community. We have witnessed peoples lives being spiritually fed, transformed and renewed in their journey of faith. And while our story hasn't always been a rosy one, God has been faithful, and we trust him to take us into the future.