Fundamental Baptist Church was organized on October 18, 1973 under the leadership of Pastor Eldon Martens. There were 18 people present at the first service, held at the home of Al and Phyllis Keifer. The church continued to meet in the Keifer home for a few weeks until it outgrew the limited space it offered. The Felicita School at 737 W. 13th Avenue was then rented, where services were held until June of 1974. At that time, the Grace Church of the Nazarene, 1111 N. Ash, became available, and was rented on a month-to-month basis. A Building Fund was organized and after several months of fundraising and negotiation, the church plant on 3.58 acres was purchased.
Eldon Martens resigned as pastor in May of 1977. The church then called David K. Martin to serve as pastor. During his pastorate, the present parking lot and entrance off Farr Street was begun. After three years, an unusual event led to the resignation of Pastor Martin. He came under conviction of God that, although he had made a teenage profession of faith, he was not truly converted. Then, upon his conversion, he felt as a novice in the faith, he should not continue as Pastor, and so resigned to take a position as Assistant Pastor in Elkton, Maryland.
When Pastor Martin resigned in the spring of 1980, the membership requested Eldon Martens to return as pastor, which he did in August of that year. During his second pastorate here, a building program, lasting 2½ years and utilizing much volunteer labor, resulted in the present Auditorium building, completed in 1986. Two years later, major work on the parking lot and grounds was completed.
In June of 1990, Eldon Martens resigned to start a new work in Solana Beach, and the church called David Earnhart as pastor. He began his ministry in October of 1990. The church was just completing a remodeling and face-lift to all the buildings and parking lot.
Under Pastor Earnhart’s ministry, our missions program grew to support many missionaries within the continental United States and around the world. One of the highlights of each year is our annual missions conference during the last week of October. Another highlight is our annual Tent Crusade with Evangelist Rich Tozour, which began in 1993.
Pastor Earnhart retired in May 2006 and is now active in assisting local church ministries in pulpit supply, missions conferences, stewardship and family seminars. He also enjoys visiting missionaries on the field and assisting them during furlough.
In July 2006, Ernie Merritt candidated and the church voted to call him as pastor. Pastor Merritt and his family arrived in October 2006 to begin their ministry at FBC. Under Pastor Merritt’s ministry, the church continues to be a growing, vibrant, friendly community of Christians serving the Lord in Escondido and the surrounding areas.
FBC is an independent Baptist church, not affiliated with any convention or denomination. The church is completely self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting, depending on God to supply through the tithes and offerings of its members.