History

In April, 1953, Mr. & Mrs. J.L. Snowden began knocking doors and gathering together families who were interested in starting an Independent Baptist Church, in the city of Arlington. Bro. Snowden had been inspired with the ministry of Independent Baptist churches he had come into contact with during WWII. J.L. was never ordained but was instrumental in the establishment of several Independent Baptist churches in the Metroplex.In 1953 after graduation from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo., E. D. Hill became the first ordained minister of what was then called Lighthouse Baptist Church. The church was first located behind the old U.T.A. football field on Kerby St.. The parking lot was made from black dirt and when it rained folks had to take off their shoes and wade in barefoot, then wash their feet. 

On the church’s first anniversary there was an attendance of 131 and the church voted to move to 400 S. Collins. They purchased 3 1/2 acres. The church had a gravel parking lot but it looked good to the congregation because of the muddy parking lot they had been used to. The new auditorium was a 40′ X 100′ building and construction was started in February 1956 and finished in May 1956. There were two Sunday School Buildings added in following years, one was a 30′ X 73′ and the other was a 30′ X 80′, In fact, there were five building programs in the first six years.

In July of 1980 the church began building at the present location at 3434 S. Collins. The first service was held on January 11, 1981. Bro. Hill had gone to Texas Commerce Bank to see about getting a loan to remodel the old building. Mr. Howard Wilemon, who was then President of the Bank, said, “Why remodel your old church? Let me buy you a new one.” He gave Bro. Hill enough money to buy 4 acres and to start construction of the new building.

Rev. E. D. Hill went home to be with the Lord in July, 1983 after only 2 1/2 years at the new location. Mrs. Helen Hill remained an active member until she died in December 1997.

At the death of Bro. Hill the church was approached about the possibility of merging with the New York Avenue Baptist Church just a few miles away. Rev. Alvis Edmonson was the pastor and in the merging agreement the New York Avenue property would be sold and Bro. Edmonson would become the pastor of the combined churches at Arlington Baptist Temple. Both churches voted on August 21, 1983 and approved the merge. In May, 1985 the church voted to purchase 2.9 acres of adjacent land. The cost was $386,874.60 or $3.00 per sq. ft.. After the sale of New York Avenue Baptist Church properties and the clearing of all debts the church borrowed $130,000.00 to secure this new property. Rev. Alvis Edmonson retired from the full-time pastorate on October 6, 1996. During his retirement Bro. Edmonson actively preached across the country in revivals, mission conferences, and pulpit supply. Bro. Edmonson went home to be with the Lord on January 15, 2016.

Rev. Russell Williams was called to the church on April 13, 1997. The Williams were no strangers to ABT. Bro. Williams had fellowshipped with the church having pastored in Grand Prairie for nine years and even spoke several times for Bro. Hill. In July, 1985 the Williams joined the church and became home missionaries out of the church. They went to Salt Lake City, Utah and started the Mountain Side Baptist Church in November, 1986. ABT became the “sending” and “mother church” for this new work in Utah.

In January, 1998 ABT voted to build a new family life center and broke ground on the project on Anniversary Sunday, April 19, 1998. The project was completed in March 2003.

In September of 2013, Pastor Williams submitted his resignation which was made official on October 13. On December 1, 2013 ABT called Rev. James Hamilton as pastor. He and his wife Darlene are happily married and they reside in Grand Prairie.

We are thankful for the past but we are excited about the future. It is our prayer that this “Lighthouse” continues to shine in the Metroplex and around the World. Our worldwide vision includes over 70 missionary projects and is growing.