Our story begins with an inspiring group of believers who acted on their Christian responsibility to reach their Jerusalem with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Louisville was a booming city in the late 1800s. The construction of Churchill Downs in 1875, the launching of a professional baseball team in 1876, and the relocation of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to Louisville in 1877 give testimony to a city experiencing economic and population growth. This growth resulted in the emergence of new subdivisions sprawling out from the city’s center.
Responding to Louisville’s growing population, many existing churches started evangelistic Bible studies called “Sunday Schools” in order to reach their expanding Jerusalem. One such church was Oakdale Baptist Church, which under the leadership of S. B. Caple commissioned the launch of a Sunday School on January 15, 1906.
Caple along with a handful of believers began meeting in a two-story house at the corner of Lillian Avenue and Taylor Boulevard. According to the minutes of a business meeting held on October 7, 1908, the Sunday School was planted “in a section [of Louisville] almost entirely void of church work and well-populated” and it “had prospered and accomplished great good.” God’s hand of favor was evident as the Sunday School quickly grew to an average attendance of sixty.
Caple’s group of sixty sought the blessing of Oakdale Baptist Church to organize into an official church plant. Oakdale Baptist Church, in partnership with its mother church Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, gave Caple’s group their blessing. As recorded from an October 14, 1908 business meeting, the two sending churches committed their “moral and spiritual influence” and pledged aid to the mission in order to secure a building.
The mission was organized on July 18, 1909 with twenty-eight founding members. Reflecting the mission’s proximity to Ninth Street and O Street, it was named Ninth and O Baptist Mission. In 1910, property was purchased and a building was built; the total cost was $1,159.30. The mission experienced healthy growth and when it was constituted as an independent church in 1916, it reported a membership of 174.
Over 100 years have passed since our congregation’s founders felt the Lord’s leading to start an evangelistic work in what was then south Louisville. Since conception, Ninth and O Baptist Church has been and continues to be committed to reaching our ever-changing city and world with the never-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Our church’s history if filled with stories of transformation, exciting growth and expansion, as well as the weathering of significant challenges. Looking back, we celebrate a rich heritage, realizing we drink from wells we did not dig. Looking forward, we serve with great anticipation, realizing God still has much to accomplish through His people at Ninth and O Baptist Church.