First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, is a vibrant family of believers in Jesus Christ. We are the spiritual home to thousands of people in metro Atlanta and the source of spiritual encouragement to millions of others around the world.
Founded in 1848 in the heart of downtown Atlanta, our church has been a light for Christ through the darkest times in our city’s history and through the most challenging times our nation has faced. For 172 years, God has sustained our church as each generation, from our founding to the present, has acknowledged our dependence upon God and has sought to honor the truth of His Word, the Bible.
Although the church had enjoyed outstanding leadership from its pastors through the years, one pastor in particular would lead the church to achieve unprecedented growth and worldwide impact. In 1971, the church elected Dr. Charles Stanley as senior pastor. Within a few years, the church’s growth was so explosive that, in order to accommodate the growing attendance, the church began purchasing every adjacent piece of property that became available. In the midst of this growth, in 1982, Dr. Stanley founded In Touch Ministries to broaden the reach of his pulpit ministry through media and to satisfy the growing demand for his messages across the country. The In Touch program penetrated almost every major market in the United States during the 1980s, reaching more than 1 million households with Dr. Stanley’s unique, principle-based preaching of the Bible. Through God’s blessing at the church and through In Touch, Dr. Stanley can now be heard in every nation on earth via radio, shortwave or television broadcasts and through the In Touch website.
As the church continued attracting thousands to its downtown location, it became evident that there was not enough available space to sustain continued growth. Therefore, in 1997, Dr. Stanley led the church in a historic decision to sell the downtown properties and relocate to our present site at I-285 and North Peachtree Road. From our new home, the church has continued shining God’s light to Atlanta and the world while still experiencing dynamic growth.
Among our membership are people from 98 countries of origin, making us one of the most ethnically diverse congregations in America. We like to think that our congregation resembles the picture of heaven described in Revelation 5:9, where God’s throne is surrounded by those whom Christ had redeemed “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
In the morning services on December 10, 2017, Dr. Stanley proposed to the church a Pastoral Succession Plan, naming the church’s associate pastor, Dr. Anthony George, as the future pastor of the church. The congregation adopted the plan by a unanimous affirmative vote.
In March of 2020, our church suspended regular worship services in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and launched a live stream broadcast through our website. On September 13, 2020, with services still suspended, Dr. Charles Stanley announced his retirement to the congregation during the morning live stream, concluding his service as Senior Pastor and transitioning to Pastor Emeritus. In his words to the church, Dr. Stanley said, “I have no doubt there are many great days ahead for the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. My hope is that the greatest days are still ahead.”
Dr. Stanley’s retirement formally enacted the Pastoral Succession Plan, resulting in the installment of Dr. Anthony George as our new Senior Pastor. We trust and pray that God will bring to pass Dr. Stanley’s encouraging words and that there will indeed be many great days ahead for First Baptist Atlanta.