Our fore-bearers, who once toiled here and worked their soul's salvation without the intellectual insight that we have today, had a vision from God. This vision started when our fore. bearers, by faith, had prayer meetings in the homes of Sisters Lena Taylor, Sally Bridgewaters, and brothers Isaac Ferguson, Jerry Minor, and William Gurely. The attendance grew too large to meet in homes, so larger quarters were sought. They were members of the Lampton Baptist Church and asked for their dismissal and united with Antioch Baptist Church. In January 1915, they held their first meeting in a rented hall called "Bell Taps." It was situated over the blacksmith shop on Jefferson between Preston and Jackson. The first Sunday's offering was $16.35, which paid the first month rent of $16, leaving thirty-five cents in the treasury.
Twenty of Antioch's members were present and sixteen ministers were on the organization council: Reverends G. W. Mack, H. W. Jones, J. H. Curiton, Ben Bradshaw, H.A. Scott, J. B. Davis, J. T. Green, H. C. Woolfolk, J. N. Jones, W. F. Hart, William Bailey, R. J. Walker, B. W. Welch, J. H. Lewis, William Brown, and David Anderson. The Rev. George F. Watson, Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, acted as moderator, Bro. Grant Tilford acted as secretary, Rev. G. W. Mack offered prayer and Rev. David Anderson gave the charge. Rev. J.H. Lewis lined the hymn and gave the right of fellowship.
In April 1993 the Bates Memorial Baptist Church building located at 619 E. Lampton Street burned down after undergoing $30,000 in renovations. Determined to continue services in spite of the fire, that evening worship services was held at 1228 South Jackson Street. Bates Memorial worshipped there at that address and eventually purchased the building. After the move to 620 East Lampton in May 2004, the Jackson Street location brgan to house the Bates Community Development Corporation providing multiple community services to all areas of Louisville. April 2000 the church building located at 619 East Lampton Street was renovated and is now the site of the Children’s Church and many other ministries use it as a multi-purpose facility.
In 2007, global streaming was added allowing people across the world to view live services three times a week. In addition to these changes, Pastor Williams penned the church Mission Statement entitled "Why We Exist". This was designed to give the church ministry clear focus and direction.
Under Pastor Williams' tenure; the congregation has been taught from the word of God to no longer restrict ministry opportunities based on gender, now women are free to serve anywhere in the church; Afro centricity has been added to the church emphasis to teach the appreciation of our cultural heritage and to develop positive self-images in the young and old alike.
Many other ministry changes and additions have been established to continue Bates Memorial's proud tradition of developing relevant and effective Christian ministry. 728 East Lampton formerly St. Paul Baptist Church and parsonage were purchased. Youth Ministries are housed at 728 Lampton and is now known as Our House. That parsonage property is now "Hagar House" - temporary housing for those in need. 600 East Lampton was purchased and now houses our Nursery and Dance Ministries. One of our biggest projects was the acquisition of 19 acres on Ralph Avenue, off Dixie Highway. This will serve as the future home of a new edifice for Bates Memorial Baptist Church. As the congregation continues to follow the vision God has given Pastor Williams, spirituality, financial giving and membership grows exponentially. Under his leadership and teaching, God's vision will become a reality.