First Baptist Church of Coronado


The First Baptist Church of Coronado was founded in 1951 by a handful of people who met in the American Legion Hall on Orange Avenue. They met there for two years until they could buy a property and build a church building on the island. In 1953 the new FBC building was occupied, and that is where it has been ever since.

I pastored the Midway Baptist Church (now known as Ocean View Baptist Church) across the bridge in the Otay Mesa part of South San Diego for 41 years, from 1973 until 2015. A few months after our “retirement,” Mike Carlisle asked me if I was interested in being an interim pastor. I was. When asked, I had been preaching in churches but missed the weekly routine of preaching the Word of God to a congregation. Even though I lived in the San Diego area for 41 years, I did not know where the First Baptist Church was until I showed up to be their interim!

God affirmed our being at First Baptist Church in several specific ways. Within a few months, I was the new pastor of that church. Eight years ago, our attendance was around 50-60 each Sunday. We immediately began to grow, and when the COVID shutdowns came, we were running 100+ every Sunday. We closed for the first shutdown. But we did not close for the second or third shutdowns. That is when we began live-streaming our services – out of necessity. A strange thing happened – our offering increased during COVID!

Since COVID, our attendance has grown to an average of 150-160. Easter saw an all-time record attendance, with 350 people attending two services. I stand amazed. We are a small church nestled in a residential community with no parking lot and a small auditorium. I sometimes drive by my former pastorate and covet asphalt!!! But parking is a problem for the whole community of Coronado. People either drop their families off and then hunt for a parking space, sometimes blocks away, or ride their bikes, scooters, and skateboards to church. It is not uncommon to see baby buggies parked at our facility.

We are blessed with a large military community in our church. We have (or have had) Admirals, SEALs, Buds candidates, SWICC boat operators, JAG officers, military and federal judges, and many seasoned or newly enlisted sailors. We provide a free lunch to all active military families every Sunday. In addition, we have a thriving Navigator ministry for them on Tuesday nights. But the military is not all we have coming to FBC. God has given us several mature Christian families in the last 2-3 years, so we have a healthy balance of young and mature, military and civilian, and we have a great mix of different races and nationalities.

Something happens nearly every day of the week, including Young Life, Classic Conversations, Navigators, Bible Study Fellowship, Men of Resolution, and Women of Resolution. (We recently had ±30 men sign up for discipleship on Easter Sunday!)

My wife, Pat, and I are loving this ministry. It is our mission field. We are praying that God will give us several more years of ministry right here. I love pastoring a “large church” of 1200-1500, but I REALLY enjoy the intimacy of a “small church” that has a big heart!