Central Baptist Church Moves Locations After 60 Years

Panama City, Fla. - Central Baptist Church has moved locations after 60 years on Balboa Ave. 
The new building is on Baldwin Rd. in Panama City. 
As News 13's Alex Thorson tells us, organizers hope the location better serves the community. 

On the border of Panama City and Lynn Haven lies the new Central Baptist Church.
The congregation is celebrating over six decades of service. After all these years, their original building on Balboa Ave. no longer fits their needs. 

"Most folks couldn't even tell we were a church. It looked like a school," the church's Pastor, Dr. Bruce Barton said.

After Panama City Christian School closed in 2009, the church's mission changed.

"We wanted to keep our identity as a church after we closed," Dr. Barton said.

He said they had many options.

"Other than building something new, which was a consideration, but would have taken a longer time, this became available," He said.

The pastor said the new space is a quarter of the size and more convenient for people to get to.
Dr. Barton said it's more ideal, since their old building was designed to be a school. However, there is still work to be done. 

"We're gonna totally refurbish most of the building. It's dated, and some of this is original from the seventies."

Even while loving their new home, long time Central Baptist volunteers like Bill Crittenden said the new building is beautiful, but not what matters most. 

"I guess it's like leaving one house and going to another house. You know, what really matters is what makes up the house and that's your family. So [it's the] same way here. What makes up your church is the people of the church," Crittenden, a music leader at the church, said.

Pastor Barton says the church still plans to refurbish many areas of the new building. The construction will start in January. 

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