In the Fall of 1988, John Nieder and a group of couples in the Ambassador Bible class at Northwest Bible Church began meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a church. A steering committee formed to develop initial plans and create a vision for the new church, which would be named Family Life Bible Church. The founding trustees included Ron Brame, Bill Croslin, and Robert Holland, who served as leaders from 1988-1991. The first worship service took place on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1989, in the worship center of Baruch HaShem, a Messianic Jewish congregation, in their facility at Forest and Montfort. Over 200 adults and children attended this first service. From its inception, FLBC emphasized relevant Bible teaching through Sunday preaching and Adult Bible Fellowship classes, training for young families and singles, genuine praise-centered worship, and the importance and value of small groups.
The church grew into a diverse group of people from across the Metroplex, in part due to the radio ministry of its part-time teacher, John Nieder. By September 1989, rapid growth necessitated a move to larger facilities at 4801 Spring Valley, in an office warehouse complex. This more permanent location allowed the church to continue its expansion. The church’s leadership structure evolved from an initial leadership council to the formal installation of elders who were confirmed by a vote of the members. In December 1991, John Nieder resigned his role to devote full attention to his growing radio ministry, The Art of Family Living. Drs. Mark Bailey and Bill Lawrence, both Dallas Theological Seminary professors at the time, served as part-time interim preachers. As the church continued to grow and develop, they sought a full-time pastor. That search led them to Hal Habecker who was called as the first full-time pastor in November 1993. In 1994, Family Life Bible Church changed its name to Dallas Bible Church.
Under the leadership of gifted elders, the young church continued to grow and its ministries solidified. To further minister to the children of the church, AWANA was added as a Wednesday night equipping ministry. At the same time, Wednesday night adult discipleship classes were added. To minister to the youth, the first full-time youth pastor was hired. Adult ministries continued to grow through LIFE Groups, men’s, women’s, and singles ministries. Men grew in powerful ways through the impact of small groups, retreats, and Promise Keepers. Women grew through Tuesday morning Bible studies and retreats. The Spirit of God began to send out missionaries into the world and an annual missions conference was launched in 1996.
By 1997, DBC began thinking about a place to more permanently call “home.” Though the rented facility had been expanded an additional 12,000 square feet to provide educational space for children and youth, there was a deep longing for a permanent facility. Under a campaign called “Led of God by Faith,” DBC raised $2.2 million to move to the location we now call “home.” Our first worship service in our new facility at 15765 Hillcrest Road was on November 21, 1999, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. In the new building, God opened new doors of impact within the church. Our singles ministry continued to grow and eventually led to the birth of a young couples and young families ministry. Dozens of interns from Dallas Theological Seminary received training. On Sunday, March 7, 2004, DBC sent out twelve families to Allen, Texas under the leadership of Buddy and Day Liles and Allen Bible Church was launched. When we moved to Hillcrest & Arapaho, God opened doors for us to engage our immediate community. JJ Pearce Young Life began to use our new youth facility and this partnership continues today DBC also developed a strong working relationship with our neighbor, Shelton School.
In the mid 2000s, Dallas Bible focused even more on outreach to our community. Pine Cove Camp in the City and KidShine ministries were prayerfully designed and launched to reach and serve unchurched families in this community. In 2012, DBC initiated Circle One, a ministry which on a weekly basis reaches over 50 kids and families from the apartments around DBC. We also began to partner with Kids Beach Club, a national ministry focused on ministering to public school kids. The summer of 2014 brought huge changes for Dallas Bible Church. We undertook a major facility transformation to update our worship center; create safe, dedicated ministry areas for preschool and elementary kids; and add new spaces around the building for people to connect. For two months, we worshipped each Sunday at Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue in North Dallas.
In February 2015, long-time senior pastor Hal Habecker retired from his position at Dallas Bible in order to launch his own non-profit ministry, Finishing Well. A search committee, with assistance from a pastoral search firm, prayerfully led the way in choosing DBC’s next lead pastor. In June 2015, Aaron Armstrong was unanimously affirmed by our elder board and confirmed by our membership as the new Lead Pastor of Dallas Bible Church. With new leadership came new vision that was also born out of a desire to glorify God in all things. In 2016, our elders and staff revealed a brand new vision, mission, values, and strategy for making disciples at DBC, that would all lead to becoming a multiplying, mission-minded family, marked by God’s grace, that brings joy to the city and glory to God. In addition to the new vision, leadership also introduced new branding that would help us communicate to the surrounding community that all would be welcome at DBC. Immediately, the new brand included a new website, signage, exterior paint and landscaping. The enhanced visibility only added to an already inviting atmosphere. With the new vision also came new opportunity. In 2017, we had the joy of partnering with over 175 churches throughout the Metroplex for Revive Texas, and God moved in power! For 50 days in a row, from Easter to Pentecost, we saw nearly 80% of our average Sunday adult attendance participate in what God was doing. 59% went out to pray with the community and share the gospel. Another 15% faithfully served behind the scenes in providing food and transportation. Another 5% opened up their homes to host groups from out of town. All in all, we saw 2,685 new professions of faith & 1,985 ask for follow up. Amen and amen! In 2018, God kept showing off. Our second annual Community Giveaway was a huge success as we saw nearly 100 people volunteer to serve and giveaway donated furniture and household items to over 100 needy families from our community. As 2018 came to a close, the Lord provided above and beyond what we ever could have hoped for. For the last few years, our prayer was to be debt-free by July 2019. By God’s grace, and through the generosity of this church, the Lord answered our prayers a semester early and we now get to celebrate being debt-free for the first time as a church!