Pastor Jay DENNIS
Jay Dennis has been the lead pastor of First Baptist Church, Lakeland, Florida, since February, 1996. Since his arrival, the church has experienced phenomenal growth and has been featured in Growing Churches magazine, Christianity Today, and Billy Graham’s Decision Today Radio Program. Under Dr. Dennis’ leadership First Baptist outgrew their facilities and moved services several times from the downtown sanctuary to the Christian Life Center in 1996, then to the Lakeland Civic Center in 1997, and finally to the 400,000 square-foot Lakeland Mall in 1998 located on 32 acres. Now known as First Baptist Church at the Mall, the over 9000-member congregation worships and ministers to the community of Lakeland, our great nation and the world. Pastor Jay’s passion is to lead the church to worship in two distinct styles at three times on Sunday morning’s and to develop discipled followers of Jesus through Connect Groups (Sunday School).
A Fort Smith, Arkansas native, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas (B.A.); Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Texas (Masters of Divinity); and Fuller Theological Seminary, California (Doctor of Ministry). He has pastored churches in Texas and Oklahoma and is married to his best friend Angie. They have two grown children—their daughter Emily and her husband, Steven; their son Will, his wife, Julia, and their daughter, Crosby.
A popular conference and seminar speaker, Dr. Dennis has authored eight books: The Prayer Experiment (2001), Taming Your Private Thoughts (2002), The Prayer Experiment Lab Manual (2001), Dangerous Intersections (2004), Leading with Billy Graham: The Leadership Principles and Life of T.W. Wilson (2005), The Jesus Habits (2005), Our Hardcore Battle Plan: Joining in the War Against Pornography (2013), Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives: Winning the War Against Pornography (2013), and Christians and Pornography: Pastor and Church Leadership Resource Guide (2016). In 2007 he developed the Decision-Maker’s Bible with Tyndale House Publishers for Project Light which delivered the Bibles to the U.S. House of Representatives. At present he has multiple writing projects for future books.
Pastor Jay served as President of the Florida Baptist Convention (2001-2002) and President of the State Baptist Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was elected Vice-President of Florida Baptist State Board of Missions (1999-2004).Jay was elected President of the 1998 Florida Baptist Pastor’s Conference, was appointed to serve on the Evangelism Committee of the Baptist World Alliance by Dr. Billy Kim and has served on the advisory board of Christian Mingle and Believe.com.
Pastor Jay has a passion to lead men to live lives of moral purity. He has developed a ministry called Join One Million Men, which asks men inside churches of all denominations, to make a commitment to live a pornography-free life.