Istrouma's History

Istrouma Baptist Church began in a little red school house with just 16 charter members. Throughout the years, Istrouma has grown to a congregation of thousands, serving the community of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a commitment to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.


1919 – 1920   THE JOURNEY BEGINS

For Istrouma Baptist Church, the journey in faith began in 1919 with a revival meeting conducted by Evangelist T.J. Furnis, under the auspices of the Louisiana Baptist Executive Board. As a result, Dr. W.A. McComb, pastor of First Baptist Church, and Rev. U.E. Reed organized a small Sunday School.

In January 1920, Istrouma Baptist Church was constituted. Rev. E.J. Hill became the first pastor, and on June 1, 1920, the charter, signed by 16 members of the new organization, was recorded.


1920 – 1939   GROWTH AND CHANGE

Rev. H.J. McCool was the next pastor (1920 – 1926). Under his leadership, the first building was erected in 1922. The congregation had been meeting in a small frame building that later became Istrouma High School.

During the tenure of Pastor M.B. Buckley (1926-1933), the first brick auditorium/education space was built in 1932.

Under the leadership of Rev. W.A. Corkern (1934 - 1939), a sound financial base was developed, allowing the church to establish mission points in and around Baton Rouge.



During the ministry of Dr. Samuel C. Rushing (1939 - 1962) the membership grew, a new educational building was constructed in 1942, and an auditorium and annex were constructed.

Four mission churches were planted:  Trinity, Winbourne Avenue, Victoria, and Broadmoor.



After Dr. Rushing's retirement, God sent another leader to guide Istrouma. J. Garland McKee (1963 – 1975) began his leadership of Istrouma by "Calling the Capital City to the Compassionate Christ," and Istrouma planted another mission church, Glen Oaks Baptist.

Istrouma’s next pastor was Gail W. DeBord (1976 – 1981). Under Dr. DeBord's leadership, the church continued ministering to the city of Baton Rouge, and remained committed to the Great Commission.


1981 – 1996   A WALK IN FAITH

A new energy revitalized Istrouma as Rev. Jim Bain began his ministry (1981 – 1996).

After months of prayer, painstaking research, and debate, the church voted on September 2, 1984 to take a further “Walk in Faith” by relocating to another site in Baton Rouge. On April 5, 1987 the ground breaking ceremony at the new site was held. March 6, 1988, marked the end of an era as Istrouma held the final worship service in their home of 68 years, followed by a special service conducted at the new location. The move to the new location was a giant step in faith, and God rewarded the faithfulness of His people with tremendous growth. In 1990 a new educational building was constructed and two worship services and Sunday Schools were held.


1997 – 2002   A NEW WORSHIP CENTER

In 1997, Dr. Forrest Pollock became senior pastor (1997 – 2002) and brought an exciting vision for the future. Under his leadership, the new worship center was built and occupied in May 2002.



God brought Stuart Rothberg to serve as the next Senior Pastor (2003 – 2006). During his tenure at Istrouma, the church served the state of Louisiana in many ways in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In June of 2007, Matt Surber joined the Istrouma staff as Senior Pastor. Pastor Surber led the charge in campus facility improvements, including renovations of our children’s ministry building and addition of athletic fields, and instituted our first Go Day.



In August 2011, Dr. Jeff Ginn began serving as Senior Pastor of Istrouma. In the nearly ten years since, Istrouma has opened a campus in Ascension parish and started a Spanish-speaking venue at the Baton Rouge Campus – making disciples of all nations! 

The future is bright and we are excited to see what God has planned for our next 100 years!