Reverend Louis Johnson, his wife Della, and their four children moved to Tucson, Arizona to start a church in a needy city. Weeks prior to the first church service, Pastor Johnson and his son knocked on over 800 doors every week. Of those thousands of doors, twenty-eight people showed to the first service held July 1958 in an elementary school’s multipurpose room.
The church experienced God’s blessing almost immediately, growing exponentially. By the first anniversary, the church had 200 members. Soon, the church had expanded beyond the elementary school. Again, God provided six acres of land on South Columbus Boulevard and the means to purchase it. When it came time to build the physical building, God provided the means through Akron Baptist Temple. Akron Baptist had a special fund set up for small churches and donated $70,000. This allowed the young church to build the original brick building.
Dallas Billington, Pastor of Akron Baptist Temple, dedicated Tucson Baptist Temple on
January 28, 1962. The church continued to grow with the work and dedication of many of the founding families. On March 23, 1975 they dedicated what is now used as the auditorium for the main services. The much larger building seats roughly 1,000 people, and included additional classrooms and offices.
From the very beginning, Pastor Johnson tried to instill the importance of spreading the Gospel. He had found a small verse that succinctly explained his vision for the church.
They will not come. They must be sought.
They will not seek. They must be brought.
The will not learn. They must be taught.
He put his plan into practice, holding visitations and door knocking every Thursday morning.He also ensured that people were able to come through the bus ministry, running 13-15 buses every week. In February 1977, Tucson Baptist experienced its largest Sunday with 2,100 people attending. Over 1,000 of the people attending came through the bus ministry.
While his plan was to Pastor Tucson Baptist for the rest of his life, Pastor Johnson retired from ministry in July 2008 at the age of 87. Pastor Johnson faithfully served for 50 years.
With no pastor, attendance dropped. On average, only 250 people were coming to Sunday morning; 150 were coming to Sunday night services, and 75 to Wednesday evening.
In July 2009, Pastor Brent Armstrong accepted the position of Pastor. He brought with him his wife Shelli and three children: Benjamin, Jennifer, and Jonathan.
Pastor Armstrong came with a vision and plan to reach Tucson one family at a time. God has blessed his vision and the church has been growing since his arrival. The church is now running right over 700.