On July 4, 1944, faithful men and women organized and founded the Odessa Baptist Church, which was originally started from a mission sponsored by Lutz Baptist Church. Later, the name was changed to “First Baptist Church of Odessa.” The current property was purchased in 1965 and the first building was built. In 1981, additional property was purchased and the first service was held in the present sanctuary on July 4, 1985. In 2011, the membership of First Baptist Odessa had decreased to approximately fifteen active members and so they invited Idlewild Baptist Church to come and help revitalize the church. After meeting with the leadership of First Baptist Church Odessa, and with the assistance of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association, First Baptist Church Odessa formally transferred assets and operations to Idlewild Baptist Church.
The first Idlewild Church at Odessa service was held on January 8, 2012. For five years, the Idlewild Church at Odessa grew and prospered under the guidance of wise leaders of Idlewild Baptist Church and the leadership of Pastor Chris Basham and his commitment to scriptural preaching and sound doctrine. In early 2016, the combined leadership of Idlewild Baptist Church and the Idlewild Church at Odessa set out to establish a new entity, autonomous from Idlewild Baptist Church. The founding elders of the new entity would christen it “The Church at Odessa,” desiring to keep the historic and geographic situation intact. On October 2, 2016, the leadership of Idlewild Baptist Church, along with the sitting attendees of Idlewild Church at Odessa, voted to become an autonomous church; The Church at Odessa was born, with the original seven Elders receiving unanimous installation that day.
Almost 75 years have passed since our founders felt the Lord’s leading to start an evangelistic work in what was then a far-flung town north of Tampa and over one-hundred years since Odessa’s settling. The Church at Odessa 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 is filled with stories of transformation, exciting growth and expansion, as well as the weathering of significant challenges. We celebrate a rich heritage, realizing we drink from wells we did not dig. We serve with great anticipation, realizing God still has much to accomplish through His people at The Church at Odessa!
We prayerfully hope that you will join us and become a part of what God has in store for this body of believers and the Odessa community in the years to come.