In the fall of 1953, a group of men and women met together to begin an independent Baptist church in Oneco, an area mid-way between Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Of the several names offered as possibilities for the church, the group chose the Midway Baptist Tabernacle.
The church’s first pastor was R.W. Bevington. Services began in a tent northwest of the intersection of State Road 70 and Fifteenth Street East with twelve members. The congregation had grown to forty-four in number when Pastor Bevington resigned. The members voted to change the name of the church from Midway Baptist Tabernacle to Oneco Community Baptist Church. The members held services in different homes in the area for some time.
Mrs. Oma Jones and Mr. John Watson, who were building homes on Eigthteenth Street East, donated property to Community Baptist Church on the corner of State Road 70 (Fifty-third Avenue East) and Eighteenth Street East in 1954. Early in 1955 the church had a ground-breaking ceremony and began building on the site. With the completion of their first church building in the fall of 1955, the congregation held a dedication service (complete with dinner on the grounds) and set the first Sunday in November as the church’s Homecoming Day.
D. E. Luttrell, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church of Bradenton, suggested Community Baptist hold its first evangelistic revival meeting in late 1955. He said that Raymond Glass, a lay preacher, would be a good man to lead such a meeting. Brother Glass did preach for those revival services and many more afterward. The second pastor of Community Baptist was Byron Richardson from Englewood, Florida. He came in the spring of 1956 and ministered for three years. Under Pastor Richardson, the church began to give 10% of the general fund to foreign missions.
The third pastor was Jesse Bloom from Chattanooga, Tennessee, whom the church called as its pastor in August 1959. The church was incorporated in 1959. Under Pastor Bloom’s ministry, the church increased in membership and built greatly needed buildings. The church built and dedicated a Sunday school wing in 1961 and a two-story educational building in 1964. Randall Kelly donated property in 1962 on which to build a parsonage. The church purchased four buses in 1963 and began a bus ministry. In January 1967, the church reached a record Sunday school attendance of 446. In May 1967 Pastor Bloom resigned to become the pastor of the Central Baptist Church of Ocala, Florida.
The fourth pastor was William Martin who came to Community from the Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, on August 6, 1967. Pastor Martin led the church to begin a private Christian day school in September 1968. Community Christian School began with fifty-seven students. Under Pastor Martin’s ministry the church began giving 15% of the general fund to foreign missions. Pastor Martin resigned the church in 1977.
The fifth pastor of Community Baptist was Don Smith who came to the church in 1978 from Pennsylvania. Pastor Smith was noted as a man of prayer who gave himself to the study and teaching of the Word of God. He continued the church’s stand against compromise and the apostasy of the times. He resigned the church in the spring of 1980.
The sixth pastor of the church came to Community Baptist in September 1980. Wayne Golson had been the associate pastor of the Southside Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, for six years prior to becoming senior pastor of Community. For seventeen years, he had served as youth pastor, music director, director of outreach and associate pastor. Under his ministry, the church built an office/classroom building and an auditorium/classroom building and refurbished several others. During those years, the church voted to change its name to Community Baptist Church of Bradenton. The church established a faith promise missions program, giving monthly support to over fifty missionaries and missionary organizations. The church has been known for many years for its stand for the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Word of God, its position regarding personal and ecclesiastical separation, its missions mindedness, its conservative sacred music, its heart for the lost and its very fine Christian school.
After nearly twenty-nine years as the pastor, Pastor Golson resigned and returned to Greenville, South Carolina. The ministry is grateful for the dedication of Pastor Golson and his strong stand for the Word of God. The ministry enjoyed great blessing during his ministry.
The seventh pastor of Community Baptist Church came in August of 2002 as the Youth/Outreach Pastor. Jesse Nicholson accepted the call of the church in October 2009 to be its next pastor. His desire is for souls to be saved, believers to be discipled, and God's people to do all to the glory of God.