South Tampa Fellowship church has quite a unique history. Meeting first in people’s homes, the church started as Davis Islands Community Church (DICC). The worship center was built in 1962, and the church grew, expanding the property into offices and an education building.
In the early ’90s, attendance at DICC dropped below 50 people. The leaders knew something needed to be done, so in 1995 DICC sought to merge with Idlewild Baptist Church. In November of the same year, Idlewild Baptist Church – Davis Islands conducted its first service. The congregation became a “satellite campus,” and the pastoral staff of Idlewild filled the pulpit each Sunday on a rotating basis. Jeff Parish, Idlewild’s Student Pastor, soon became the Senior Pastor of this “satellite campus.”
Attendance started to grow after the merger, and by the end of the year, there were approximately 200 in worship on Sunday mornings. This grew to about 600 in worship by the fall of 1999. On October 1, 1999, the church became an autonomous congregation and incorporated the name Davis Islands Baptist Church. The steady growth continued, and by 2002 the pastoral staff, realizing that DIBC would need more space, sought the Lord for a solution.
In January 2003, Ballast Point Baptist Church experienced the same situation that DICC had experienced in the mid-’90s. The church’s leaders sought out Davis Islands Baptist Church for a merger. Ballast Point had one standing pastor, Tom Sander, who became a part of the pastoral staff at DIBC, and the facilities at Ballast Point became property of DIBC. Continuing to seek the Lord’s will for the Ballast Point facilities and the need for space, DIBC began a building program.
In 2005, the leadership decided that the congregation needed an umbrella name that would identify us as a church regardless of the location. The umbrella name “South Tampa Fellowship” was adopted, and the two locations were delineated by adding the tags “Davis Islands” and “Ballast Point.” After two capital campaigns, major renovations, demolition, and new construction, South Tampa Fellowship moved to a new Ballast Point campus in November 2007 for the next phase of growth and to reach a new community with the Good News of Christ. It is truly amazing — to God be the glory!