A Brief History
How did The Way Church Begin?
It started with First Baptist Church of Manteca being founded on September 8, 1946 with 16 charter members. Since its founding First Baptist Church has launched 5 new churches. The church was organized under the name of First Southern Baptist Church, but later dropped the word Southern.
The congregation met the first year in the Seventh Day Adventist Church (at 208 W. North Street) and in homes. In August 1947 property was bought on the corner of Sherman and Sutter Street. By December 1952 the church decided to sell the property and buy property to build a larger church on. The property was purchased and a new church was built at 715 E North Street. The grand opening was April 29, 1956. The current Worship Center building was built between 1960 and 1961.
In 2008 Theo Pope became the eighth pastor at First Baptist Church. Although for much of its existence the church thrived and grew. In later years, the church struggled as many members moved away and those remaining were mostly elderly.
The Way Church was founded October 21, 2016 by a 11 person launch team. They initially met in a tattoo shop (Living Water Studios) on Friday nights. In January 2017 services began on Sunday mornings. By mid 2017 the church was outgrowing the space and in the latter part of the year Pastor David Rangel, backed by prayers from the church, went on a week long mission to speak with other pastors and ask them to partner with THE WAY through prayer, networking and financial aid.
First Baptist Church was the first stop on that journey. Pastor Theo Pope and Pastor David Halla suggested to The Way Church the opportunity to merge both churches. First Baptist Church had for three years been praying, “Lord, do something only you can do.” THE WAY had for the last year prayed, “Lord, do something only You can take credit for.”
On January 7, 2018 the first Preview Merge Service was held at the First Baptist Church campus. The decision was made to continue meeting together. On Sunday, March 11, 2018 both The Way Church and First Baptist Church had separate business meetings to vote on the two churches merging. We became one church. The new church decided to keep the name The Way Church. The pastors would be: Pastor Theo Pope (Senior Pastor). Pastor David Rangel (Associate Pastor), and Pastor David Halla (Evangelism Pastor).
Our Church Covenant: What we promise to be and do for each other.
Our Doctrinal Statement: Baptist Faith and Message.
Our By-laws: How we operate as a non-profit organization