About Us - The Canaan Story
On December 6, 2002, 13 Christian brothers and sisters, all of whom were former members of the historic Eighth Street Baptist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, gathered to set into motion a series of events that led to the formation of what is known today as the Canaan Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit led them to plant a church under the auspices of American Baptist Churches USA and in association with National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. This group of individuals, the Core Planters, contributed to Canaan's establishment with their gifts, talents, and treasures. They dedicated themselves to an unprecedented movement that established a haven for a community of believers needing a church family. For guidance, they contacted Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock, Pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church of Chicago and former Pastor of Eighth Street, who served as their spiritual advisor throughout the church planting process.
In April 2003, Canaan held its first worship service in the auditorium of Warner Elementary School. Pastor Bullock was the guest preacher; over 100 souls joined this new Branch of Zion. Dr. Roy Thompson served as interim pastor until 2004, when the congregation unanimously elected Dr. Bullock as its first pastor. Worship services were held at the Wilmington Drama League and Ursuline Academy Performing Arts Center to accommodate a growing congregation. The Lord added members to the church weekly, tithes and offerings increased significantly, and new ministries were formed to meet the needs of its membership and community. In 2008, a successful capital campaign yielded the funding to construct a $2.5M sanctuary and ancillary facilities. In 2012, the newly constructed annex, the Hall of Faith, was unveiled after launching a second successful campaign of $1.5M.
Canaan's mission is to do ministry for the Master through the five-fold ministries of discipleship, fellowship, service, worship, and evangelism, which are rooted in Acts 2:42-47. Its commitment to this mission is evident through partnerships formed with civil and community organizations to provide food, financial assistance, and temporary housing for those in need and special events to bring families together in a positive environment. Furthermore, Canaan hosts weekly prayer meetings and Bible study sessions on Wednesdays and Holy Spirit-filled in-person and online worship services via social media platforms on Sundays with fervent prayer, high praise, fruitful giving, and the preaching of God's Word. Christian education programs with relevant curricula are delivered regularly to all age groups to promote spiritual growth and development. Also, there is active outreach and evangelism that includes community canvassing, monthly food distribution, and vaccination events.
Under Pastor Bullock's visionary leadership, Canaan has evolved into an urban Baptist Church that serves as a vanguard to liberation, faith, and empowerment through its Christian witness. In the past 19 years, this ministry has expanded to support a membership base of over 1500. While Canaan is not a perfect church, it is a healthy congregation that is ministry-focused in conjunction with Pastor Bullock's vision. It works to impact the human condition, promote salvation for the lost, enrich congregational intimacy, and emphasize the life application of Christian principles.