Who are Baptists?

Baptists are ordinary church people who have a distinct place in God’s wonderful, diverse worldwide Church, however the first thing we need to say is that this kind of denominational identity isn’t important to many ‘Baptist’ Christians. Perhaps fewer than half the people who come to our church choose it because of its ‘Baptist’ label. While we are Christians first and Baptists second there are some things that make our church distinctively ‘Baptist.’

What do Baptists Do?

The first and perhaps the most obvious thing we do, is that we baptize believers according to their faith in Jesus Christ. We believe in adult ‘believer’s’ baptism by full immersion in water. We enjoy good relationships with other churches that christen babies, but we don’t choose to do this, because we see in the Bible that Christian baptism is for those who have made up their own minds to follow Jesus. This goes hand-in-hand with the truth that being a Christian is a personal decision and not a matter of upbringing, race or nationality.
Baptism might be done in our own baptism pool or even in the river, or the sea! The person being baptised is very briefly submerged under the surface of the water and then brought straight up again. The practice of getting baptised is symbolic and represents the end of our old life and the beginning of a new life through our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a picture of burying our old life in the water and rising clean and forgiven because of Jesus’ own death and resurrection. It is an outward sign of the personal commitment that we have made to follow Jesus.
The second thing that makes us distinctively Baptist is our ‘collective government.’ This means that each Baptist Church makes its own decisions according to the approval of its members. We do have leaders (in our case known as Deacons and Elders) that are elected by the church members and their job is partly to facilitate and create agreement among the membership when a new initiative or direction is needed for the church. This type of church government comes from the conviction that leaders are not a breed apart from others and that all believers have the ability and responsibility to hear from God and to discern His will together. We therefore have no official authority structure, however we do belong to a national grouping of Baptists called the Baptist Union of Great Britain. They act in a supportive role in terms of charity, legal advice and setting standards for the training of Baptist ministers. When it comes to funding and money matters we are not funded by the Baptist Union. Each Baptist church generally depends on the giving of its own people for financial support.
It is these two principles that go to make a church a ‘Baptist’ Church. The lack of a national authority structure means that Baptist Churches countrywide may differ in style and in some matters of Christian belief. Our Church is an evangelical Baptist church, and you can see what that means and find out more by clicking the link below.


A History of Our Church

  • Pre-1800s

    For well over 250 years there have been Baptist Christians meeting and worshiping God in Stockton on Tees. They first met in private houses and rooms around the Green Dragon Yard, in Stockton town centre. An early minister of the group that met to worship together was Thomas Sheraton – the acclaimed furniture designer and maker.

  • 1810

    The church moves to West Row and adapts two cottages as a meeting place. They worship here until they outgrow the buildings, which seat around 250 people.

  • 1868

    The Leng Memorial Church is built in Wellington Street. It seats 400 people and is full from the start. An additional balcony is built later to add another 150 seats.

  • 1902

    The foundation stone of the Stockton Baptist Tabernacle church building in Wellington Street is laid and the original seating capacity is 900. The Church becomes a busy centre for worship and evangelism.

  • 1968-1993

    Neville Atkinson serves as minister and the Church experiences a time of unprecedented blessing and revival. The church has a membership of over 500 people and is full to overflowing on regular occasions. It also has a youth group in excess of a hundred young people meeting together regularly.

  • 1985

    The church has a prolific music ministry, with three choirs – the Junior choir, the Youth Choir and the Church Choir. The Youth choir tours and sings regularly at different venues across the country and in 1985, tours America.

  • 2001

    In August the church moves into a new, purpose built building next to the riverside in Stockton. This is still the home of the church today.

  • 2017

    Stockton Baptist Tabernacle votes to change its name to Stockton Baptist Church. We are looking to expand our building with a new extension.

Although 114 years have passed since the laying of the original foundation stone, the message is still the same.
Our Church wants people to connect with Jesus and come to a real and living faith in Him.