Our History

On November 5, 1957, Pastor Larry Newans from University Heights Baptist Church in Indianapolis held a Bible study at the Indiana University Memorial Union. He did so at the request of two sisters in his congregation who hoped that from this small beginning a church could be started in Bloomington for their mother to attend. Three months later on February 9, 1958, nineteen persons organized themselves formally as a church and one week later, Austin Elmore became the church's first pastor. The church was soon recognized as Emmanuel Baptist Church, or what many now simply call “Emmanuel.”

In 1960 the small congregation purchased land and built a basement in the side of a hill on South Rogers Street. In 1964 they began construction of the upper level and dedicated their completed work to the Lord in October of 1965. More importantly, the church’s ministry was steadily growing to extend well beyond the Indiana University campus to the Bloomington community as well. Emmanuel continued to grow until it was soon able to support several missionaries, both from within and from outside their own church family.

Then, in 1998 God began to work a miracle of faith, hope, love, and generosity in the lives of the people of Emmanuel in order to expand their ministry even further from that small beginning at IU. On Sunday morning, January 15, 2006, after years of planning and sacrifice, the entire church family took a brisk walk that began on South Rogers, crossed over Clear Creek, and together entered the newly constructed facility at 1503 West That Road. The added classrooms, larger worship center, and gymnasium now offer the people of Emmanuel and their guests a host of ministry opportunities in service to Christ.

Today, Emmanuel continues to present the gospel of Jesus Christ not only to the community and surrounding area of Bloomington, Indiana, but along with the many missionaries it now supports, sends the gospel throughout the world. Emmanuel still retains the eager interest to study and apply the Word of God that was present among those first nineteen members. We invite you to come and see how God is growing His church. Emmanuel, God with us!


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