On June 6, 1936, six rented benches were loaded onto the back of a borrowed pickup truck and placed under a metal building loaned to a new church. Two families gathered to hear a young farmer, J. Arthur Williams, expound on the fifth chapter of Daniel. There were no lights that evening, and the new church reached out to its neighbors who joined in, bringing oil lamps with them. A few weeks later, Maple Lawn Baptist Church was officially organized on June 21, 1936, in an abandoned beer tavern down the road at the corner of Maple Avenue and Inwood Road. It was the 30’s—depression years. Money was scarce, land was cheap, and jobs were nearly non-existent.
The first construction was a wood frame building at the corner of Inwood Road and Denton Road. As buildings were built, people were reached, and lives were changed.
The church saw three pastors at the helm in the 1950’s. After nearly seventeen years of faithful leadership, J. Arthur Williams left Maple Lawn to be used by God in another city. Bill Krueger served for almost three years before he was called home to heaven, then J. T. Lambert brought stability and direction to the church for the next seventeen years. The city was moving north in its growth, and the church needed more room to continue to grow and build. As the 1960’s came to a close, the need to move to a new location was evident.
In the summer of 1970, the church purchased 4.582 acres at the corner of Marsh Lane and Royal Lane and moved to its new facilities in February, 1971, under the new name of Marsh Lane Baptist Church. 1973 brought a new pastor, John Williams, and the church would burst with growth and stewardship. Additional facilities would be necessary, resulting in the construction of a second building in 1974.
Thomas Ray took the pastorate for one year before moving on to further ministries. The church found new direction and growth under Dennis Henderson for more than nine years. During the 1990’s, the church once again saw three pastors. Robert Anderson served as pastor with a ministry of productivity. Ron Eggert led us in deep Biblical study, while at the same time the Marsh Lane family ministered to his family during the illness and death of his 13-year-old daughter, Jessica. Doug Wedan led for the last several years of the 1990’s, bringing such physical improvements to the church as awnings, a changeable sign, and updated playground equipment.
The beginning of the new millennium brought Marsh Lane into another season of stability in leadership as John Hadley began his tenure as pastor. Under his direction, the missions program has expanded greatly, reaching more parts of the world than ever before. Many renovations have been made to our facilities, including a major remodel of the sanctuary prior to the 75th anniversary, the installation of an elevated lift to access the upstairs fellowship hall and the addition of a much-needed dedicated choir rehearsal space.
Over 80 years in Dallas, there have been many changes in location, leadership, and membership. What hasn’t changed, however, is our purpose. Lives are still being changed, and souls are being saved as God’s word is spread through His ministry at Marsh Lane Baptist Church.
Those Who Led
J. Arthur Williams 1936-1953
William E. (Bill) Krueger 1953-1956
J. T. Lambert 1956-1973
John W. Williams, Jr. 1973-1979
Thomas Ray 1980-1981
Dennis S. Henderson 1981-1990
Bob Anderson 1990-1992
Ron Eggert 1993-1995
Doug Wedan 1996-2000
John Hadley 2000-Present