The Power of a Dream

In 1907, Dr. J. A. Brown was the pastor of Central Baptist Church. The church began as Rutherford Street Baptist Church, but in 1903, it moved to the corner of Lloyd and Pinckney Streets and the church name was changed to Central Baptist Church.

Between the years of 1907-1909, Dr. Brown suggested to his congregation on several occasions that they should consider starting a church in the Earle Street area.  Although Central Baptist Church was only 14-16 years old, the congregation was thriving and Dr. Brown envisioned Central Baptist Church sharing God's love in the outlying areas of the city of Greenville by establishing a daughter church. In 1913, on the 20th Anniversary of Central Baptist Church, Dr. Brown again proposed establishing a church in the Earle Street area.

One hundred years ago, with nothing but a dream from God, Dr. Brown and the congregation of Central Baptist Church ventured out in faith. Now 100 years later, inspired by their example, our church begins the process of dreaming again, praying for God's direction as we enter a second century of missions and ministry, trusting that, as glorious as our past has been, our brightest days as a church are ahead of us, not behind us.

The "Keys" of the Church

Nothing became of Dr. Brown’s dream to establish a new church for many years, until 1921, when J.C. Keys helped to make that dream a reality. Mr. Keys, a Greenville businessman, was a


Central Baptist Church

member of Central Baptist Church, where his parents were charter members. Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Keys opened their home on Rutherford Street to a group of people who were interested in the church plant project. They were literally “the keys” that put hands and feet to the dream of Dr. Brown; and when the panoramic photo of the congregation was taken in front of the tent on the first Sunday when the church officially was established, J.C. Keys was on both sides of the photo!

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The home of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Keys on Rutherford Street

When you read about the formative years of our church, the names of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Keys keep coming up, in the same way that Prisca and Aquila’s names keep coming up in the New Testament — people who opened their home to a new church. 


Some people are dreamers. And others are pioneers, willing to do the work and take the risks of making the dream come true. Those workers and risk-takers are “the keys” to the future — people who are willing to open their hearts, their homes, and their hands to help make God’s dream for the church come true.

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We have kicked off our Centennial Celebration, a year-long series of events designed to celebrate our past, understand our present, and embrace our future. We are celebrating milestones of our history on Sunday mornings, worshipping with our sister and daughter churches in special services, having a birthday party in March at Wildfire, and celebrating at a special banquet in August of 2022. We invite you to join us for these events and more during this year of celebration as we continue our journey in faith together. Please subscribe to receive our newsletter in order to stay connected and aware of these exciting upcoming celebrations.