The history of a church is more than a calendar of dates and events, an account of land purchased and buildings erected, or a list of organizations and their purposes, a church is “people worshiping the Lord.”
In 1870, the First Baptist Church of Hackensack was established as a gospel-oriented, Bible-believing church in the growing city of Hackensack, New Jersey. For nearly 150 years, the church faithfully worshiped the Lord; all while operating and growing many outreach ministries in the community. Meanwhile, just across county lines, the Hawthorne Gospel Church was established in Hawthorne, New Jersey–with both churches being very similar in nature. Since 1925, the Hawthorne Gospel Church has been proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all while teaching the fundamental truths of Scripture through its various ministries. It was in 2019 that the Lord allowed these two churches with the same mindset to collide.
The First Baptist Church found themselves lacking the pastoral leadership and financial support needed to sustain the ministries in Hackensack, and they had been praying that the Lord would provide a way to continue the ministries they began for His glory. At this time, the pastoral staff and Board of Elders at the Hawthorne Gospel Church had been seeking the Lord’s guidance on how to strategically look ahead at Hawthorne’s ministry as they approached the 100th anniversary of the church – to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It was in answer to these prayers that the Lord brought Hackensack and Hawthorne together.
In the early months of 2019, the pastoral staff of Hawthorne began preaching on rotation in the city of Hackensack and soon got to know the congregation. On March 3, 2020, the ministry in Hackensack officially became a campus ministry of the Hawthorne Gospel Church, and soon after was renamed as the Hackensack Gospel Church. Pastor Howie Van Dyk, Jr. became the first campus pastor at the Hackensack Gospel Church–the first pastoral staff on site in nearly six years! Since then, the church has seen steady growth. The AWANA program, youth ministry, and college & young adults ministries were reinstated and people in the community have joined the church.
Hawthorne’s staff and leadership feels extremely privileged to continue the ministry that First Baptist faithfully began many years ago. It is the desire of the Hawthorne Gospel Church to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ not only in Hawthorne, but now also in Hackensack.