J. B. Gambrell, long-time executive secretary of the BGCT, was president of the trustees that filed a charter on behalf of the Baptist General Convention of Texas for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1908. The seminary began on the Baylor University campus in Waco but moved to a rural area south of Fort Worth in 1910. Because travel to churches in Fort Worth was difficult for those who lived on campus, a group of seminary students, faculty and staff met weekly for worship in the seminary chapel. After several years, the church became official on November 14, 1915 as Seminary Hill Baptist Church.
The church served the seminary community well, but its ministry was broadening. In 1925 control of Southwestern Seminary was transferred from the BGCT to the Southern Baptist Convention, a move that coincided with the beginning of the Cooperative Program and an increased revenue stream for the seminary. As the seminary and the city of Fort Worth grew, Seminary Hill Baptist Church was moved off campus in 1926, across the road to its current location. In 1928, the name was changed to Gambrell Street Baptist Church to better reflect its ministry to the burgeoning neighborhood adjoining Southwestern Seminary and to honor one of Texas' greatest Baptist leaders.
The church has enjoyed many gifted Baptist leaders among its membership. W. T. Conner was its first pastor; T. B. Maston was its first educational director; I. E. Reynolds was chorister (music director) for ten years and Mrs. Reynolds, pianist; J. M. Price chaired the Education Committee;
N. R. Drummond was Sunday School superintendent; and B. B. McKinney sang in the choir. Among its active members were D. A. Thornton and L. R. Scarborough.
In the second half of this century, Arthur E. Travis, Lloyd Elder and Joel Gregory have served as pastor. Weldon Vogt, Jim Williams and Gary Waller have been education ministers. Bob Burton and William J. Reynolds have directed the music ministry. Notable members have included T. B. Maston, Jessie Northcutt and W. R. Estep.
Missions has been a part of Gambrell Street since its inception. In fact, the church began a mission before it called its first pastor. Many of its missions have become thriving churches. Other missions expressions have been innovative in nature. In 1922 the Education Committee held a six-week "summer vacation school," the first Vacation Bible School west of the Mississippi. VBS continues to be a vital community ministry, although its duration has been cut to one week.
The church has done the best possible work in all aspects of ministry and has served as a model for many seminary students through the years. God has blessed Gambrell Street's past, and we pray that he continue blessing us now and in the future.