Our Pastor | Our Mission, Vision, and Values | Our Story
50 Years of Ministry: 1965-2015
It was not by chance that eight individuals, Rev. George and Ann Smith, Deacon Carl and Izetta Mayes, Deacon Henry and Lizzie Nichols, and Charles and Elizabeth Blunt came together in Milpitas, CA, prayerfully seeking guidance in their quest for a new church home.
These eight individuals paved the way for what is now known as Emmanuel Baptist Church. Emmanuel means “God with us,” and God has truly been with us. Emmanuel’s first service was held in August 1965 at the Mayes home in Milpitas, with Rev. George Smith serving as the inaugural pastor. After worshiping in the founding member’s homes, Emmanuel moved in November 1965 to a one-room storefront at 854 E. Santa Clara Street in San Jose, CA. In July 1969, the church moved into what is now their current location at 467 North White Road, San Jose. Charles Blunt is the only living founder.
Pastor Smith, an inspired and devoted man of God, envisioned a new sanctuary, education building, and multi-purpose facility. Based upon his desires, an architect’s drawing that included a circular sanctuary, chapel, prayer room, and classrooms outlining the circumference of the sanctuary was made. His dream for Christian Education and an education building came to fruition, and construction commenced. Pastor Smith served as pastor for 11 years and was far ahead of his time in what he imagined for Emmanuel.
Emmanuel…God with us.
The second pastor, Rev. Willie T. Gaines was called to Emmanuel in July 1977, and served with unwavering dedication, service, and leadership for 27 years. Pastor Gaines was a progressive pastor who further emphasized Christian Education and discipleship training. It was during this time that the church’s membership increased exponentially; and he introduced and implemented many new initiatives, some of which remain in existence today. Pastor Gaines legacy includes construction of the current sanctuary in 1985 and the Emmanuel Family Life Center, which was dedicated in October 2004. The education building construction was also completed under his leadership.
Upon Pastor Gaines retirement, Rev. Edward L. Taylor was called as Emmanuel’s third pastor, and served for two years. Pastor Taylor recognized potential leadership within the church membership, and ordained three ministers and seven deacons. During his tenure, Emmanuel also refinanced the church debt.
Emmanuel…God with us.
After much thought, prayer and contemplation, Emmanuel called its fourth pastor, Rev. Jason C. Reynolds in January 2012. As a dynamic, bold, visionary servant with a passion for people, he is blessed with the consummate skill in the art of homiletics. Since Pastor Reynolds arrival, Emmanuel continues to receive favor with enhanced church ministries, strengthened community outreach, and membership growth. In addition, the church has experienced a rebranding effort including a new logo and motto; and the remodeling of the sanctuary.
To further God’s vision, Pastor Reynolds has been spiritually led to commence Legacy 50:50—Honoring Yesterday, Inspiring Forever, a capital stewardship campaign, in tandem with Emmanuel’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The campaign’s goals are to reduce the church debt, increase the number of ministries that touch the congregation and the community, and make significant enhancements to the physical property. With this campaign, Pastor Reynolds’ aspires to gain greater financial freedom to afford Emmanuel the opportunity to plant seeds for the next 50 years.
This history and 50th anniversary celebration salutes the inspired and insightful founding members of Emmanuel Baptist Church and the leadership who has continued its spirit-filled legacy.
Emmanuel is truly a place where God is doing something special.