Vision Statement

A growing community alive with Christ, energized to share God’s transforming love.

Who Is Yates?

Yates Baptist Church is a community of believers who seek to bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and encourage each other toward spiritual maturity.

Yates is a family of faith that loves God, and we believe the welcome you receive reflects the gracious welcome of God to every person. We welcome all that desire to worship in the name of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We live out our faith by serving the people of Durham and the world and by nurturing the family in areas of children and family, youth, adult, senior adult and music ministries.

Yates is a congregation that loves its neighbors. Among these are “new neighbors,” families, professionals and students who have moved into the area for educational and career opportunities, as well as retirees and seniors moving to the area to be near adult children. You will also meet “native neighbors” who have been members of the church most of their lives. Though the membership is primarily caucasian, Yates is diversifying and desires to reflect the entire neighborhood in its ministries and membership.

Yates accepts members through baptism or by transfer of membership from another congregation. We also welcome those who worship and serve with Yates but maintain membership elsewhere.

Yates’ worship services include Bible readings, prayers, a variety of musical offerings, and an inspirational message from the Bible. Our style of worship is considered “blended” based on the use of both traditional and more contemporary music. We are equally comfortable in dresses, suits and ties, “business casual,” more casual or jeans.

Yates members bring rich and diverse opinions on theological issues and views on denominational organizations. There is a tolerance and openness within the church that allows for honest and candid discussion without fear of disrupting the strong fellowship of the church body. We are committed to conducting church life according to traditional Baptist principles:

  • The authority of the Bible
  • The priesthood of all believers
  • Believer’s baptism
  • Local church autonomy
  • The separation of church and state

Our Yates Family

Our newest members include young families, professionals and students moving into the Durham area for educational and career opportunities. There are also individuals who have been members of Yates most of their lives. The blend of tradition and creative new ideas encourages Christian growth and fellowship.

Looking Back

Yates Baptist Church was organized on April 20, 1878, a country offshoot of the First Baptist Church of Durham. It is named for Rev. Matthew T. Yates, born some 20 miles from the church, the first Baptist from North Carolina to go as a missionary to a foreign country (China). The church continued to grow as its members suffered through two world wars and a great depression. In December 1946, the church building burned to the ground, but it was rebuilt in 1948. The present Education Building was completed in 1952 and the sanctuary in 1955. To meet the needs of working parents, Yates established the first daycare and kindergarten in southwest Durham in 1966. In 1980, four women were elected to serve as deacons. One of these women served as chair the following year. A Family Life Center was completed in 1990 and included a parlor, fellowship hall, gym, Bible Study classrooms, and offices. In 2004 the Education Building was completely renovated, the second floor of the Family Life Center was finished for the youth space, and a new Welcome Center and elevator were added. In 2017, we have completed a major renovation to our facilities, updating the Sanctuary and adding a south parking lot.

Looking Forward

The future of Yates Baptist Church is grounded in the hope of Jesus Christ and therefore is secure, exciting and challenging. We are excited about a future guided by a sovereign God and traveled by faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We intend to keep our eyes focused on our vision of calling people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and leading them toward spiritual maturity. What will that look like? It will certainly be diverse because all sorts of Christians at varying stages of their journey with Christ are a part of our church family. For some people it will mean healing and recovery from a life of wrong choices. For others it will mean growing in biblical understanding and using that to promote a Christian worldview in a pluralistic society. Still others will sense a call to missions overseas or vocational ministry in the local church or leadership in a Christian organization. The unknown work is really known, for the God we worship, serve, and follow is the God above all gods, all-knowing, all-caring, all-loving. To Him we offer our continual praise and thanksgiving.