Grounded and founded by the Word of God (particularly the great commission of Christ in Matthew 28:19-20), Ferntree Gully Independent Baptist Church held it’s first services on April 6, 1975 in the Girl Guide Hall, Underwood Road, FTG. Pastor Harold Davies and his wife Barbara had been sent out from Croydon Baptist Church to start a branch work in Ferntree Gully. They were both still in Bible College and had two teenage sons, Nigel and Chris. They had Barbara’s 74-year-old mother living with them and no permanent income, however they were obedient to God’s call.
Services were held on Sunday mornings and evenings, as well as an all-aged Sunday school and a mid-week meeting for prayer and bible study. Approximately 15 children were transported on Friday nights to AWANA club at Croydon. The intention was to “start as you mean to carry on”. As the first few weeks went by, the congregation settled down to an average of thirty regulars, including children. The church constituted as a totally Independent Baptist Church on December 5, 1976. The charter membership was signed by 21 adults.
In April 1977, Pastor Davies accepted the call to pastor the parent church in Croydon, and Ernie Music took over the oversight of FTGIBC until Pastor Burt Kinsey was appointed as pastor in April 1978. In May 1980 the church moved from the Guide Hall in Underwood Road to the Mountain Gate Primary School. In December 1978 Pastor Harold Davies and family were again elected into membership at FTGIBC and soon commissioned to start a branch work in Warragul. The Warragul outreach officially organised as an independent Baptist Church in June 1979 with Harold Davies as pastor.
In 1980 Burt Kinsey, pastor of FTGIBC, returned to America. Pastor Harold Davies was approached to return to Ferntree Gully and pastor the church again. After much prayer, Pastor and Mrs Davies accepted the call. Pastor Davies was commissioned on the first Sunday in October, 1981. After some turbulent years, 1985 started wonderfully well with 17 people trusting Christ as their Saviour during the Glen Weeks meetings held at the church. The church began to grow in numbers again and eventually moved into the larger premises of the Knoxbrooke Centre, where it currently meets.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Pastor Davies’ desire to start a Bible College came to fruition. FTG Baptist Bible Institute began holding classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings with 5 full-time students and several part-time students. The first graduate from the college was David Zooeff (who is currently the Pastor of FTGIBC).
The church ordained Pastor Charlie Williams to the gospel ministry and commissioned him to start Oasis Baptist Church in Chelsea, Victoria in 1991. He is still to this day faithfully pastoring that church. FTGIBC ordained Kevin Currell to the ministry of Children’s and Young People’s Evangelism in 1998.
On December 11, 1999, God’s faithful servant Pastor Harold Davies stepped out of this world and into the arms of the Saviour whom he loved so deeply. His faithfulness, commitment and love for Christ, His people, and the lost still inspires us at FTGIBC. He was a man who influenced so many lives for Christ and stood firm on the Word of God and would not be moved. We praise God continually for him and his memory.
In July, 2000 David Zooeff was appointed as interim pastor of FTGIBC, and then in December 2000 was elected unanimously and commissioned to be the full-time pastor of the church. Pastor Zooeff continues to this day in this role, and like his predecessor, stands firm on the Word of God, leads by example, and is a faithful and powerful expositor and expounder of the Scriptures. We as a church look forward, by God’s grace to the future – continuing to shine as a light for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.