Over 80 years ago, the Jacob Chapel Baptist Church was organized for the purpose of advancing and promoting the worship of God through the reading and studying of the Holy Bible, to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our history tells an incredible story of how God can keep his truth alive in a changing world when there are willing people with a vision.


Humble beginnings did not stop Jacob Chapel from becoming a great church. The Church was organized in 1932, although the corner stone indicates 1935 as the year that the church was established. Further research among the founding families reveals that Jacob Chapel was organized as a mission as early as 1932 but did not reach church status until 1935. As a mission, services were conducted in the house of the Reverend J.B. Brown, located on Eugenia Street. The West Florida Annual Conference records indicate that the District Union convened at Jacob Chapel, April 28, 1934. Reverend Gilbert E. Edwards enrolled as the founding pastor and the following members were enrolled as founding officers: Reverend James B. Brown, Deacons R.W. Washington, P.C. Cratic, Albert B. Batts, Peter T. Kendrick, Mothers Annie Kendrick and Nellie Batts. The records also show that the West Florida Annual Conference convened at Jacob Chapel that same year, July 29, 1934.

Under the pastorage of the Reverend Gilbert E. Edwards, the church had its humble beginning as a bushharbor with seven members. Deacon R.W. Washington inspired the name of the church because he was partial to the Scriptures describing Jacob’s encounter with the Angel at Bethel (Genesis 23:16-22). The first site of the church, according to the late Mother Annie Kendrick, was in the Bond subdivision not far from where the Saxon Street building later existed. The church was later moved to 1936 Saxon Street and a permanent structure was built and dedicated in 1935.

Since the church’s inception, there have been nine (9) pastors. The chronology of their pastorage is as follows: Reverends Gilbert E. Edwards, Y.W. Tomblin, R.L. Adams, Leroy R. Williams, Lewis C. Hines, Ned S. Sanders, David Henderson, Ricky L. Neal and O. Jermaine Simmons.

In 1952, under the pastorage of the Reverend R.L, Adams, the church structure was changed from wooden to a block structure. The church records indicated that the cost to build the block structure was $2,000.

In August 1972 under the pastorage of the Reverend Ned S. Sanders, a small fellowship hall was added and the building was renovated and bricked.

On March 16, 1975, the Reverend David Henderson was called as the seventh pastor of Jacob Chapel. On October 4, 1987, under the pastorage of Reverend David Henderson, Jacob Chapel moved to a new seven (7) acres site at 2333 Lake Bradford Road. A family Life Center, which consisted of an educational facility and a gymnasium, was constructed. Worship services were being held in the gym until Phase II was completed which includes a sanctuary. Dr. David Henderson served as pastor of Jacob Chapel until his untimely passing in May 1998. Through his vision the Church has grown from a one day a week operation to a full-time program.

On March 31, 1999, Reverend Ricky L. Neal was called as the eighth pastor of Jacob Chapel. Pastor Neal led the church through phase II of the building project and the occupancy of the beautiful and ornate Jacob Chapel sanctuary. Under the leadership of Pastor Neal, the sanctuary was completed and occupied December 2001 with the official dedication in August of 2002.

In the absence of a Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacon Board assumed the responsibility of leadership in the church. With God’s guidance and help, the church continued to prayerfully handle the day-to-day operations and spiritual affairs.


In December of 2005, the Reverend O. Jermaine Simmons was called as the ninth pastor of Jacob Chapel. Pastor Simmons continues the legacy of Jacob Chapel as he preaches the Gospel with a flare and sincerity that is reminiscent of the preachers of old. Under his leadership, Jacob Chapel has welcomed numerous souls to the body of Christ, and continues to be a beacon of light in the community and throughout Tallahassee. Pastor Simmons continues to challenge the members to be the Church that God has called it to be. Various ministries and countless outreach efforts have been established to meet the needs of "the least of these". In January of 2009, the Jacob Chapel Community Development Coorporation was established to further our possibilities for outreach and ministry.