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Dr. David Uth: Senior Pastor

What does your job involve?
My primary responsibility is communicating vision to the body of Christ here at First Orlando, and leading and teaching from God’s Word to accomplish that vision.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised primarily in Arkansas, where my father pastored several churches during my growing-up years.

How large is the family you grew up in?
Besides my parents, I have two siblings, a brother and sister. I’m the youngest, the baby.

When and how did you come to know Christ?
When I was 9 years old, I was sitting in a worship service at the church where my dad pastored in Dardenelle, Arkansas. We had a visiting pastor who was describing what Jesus had done for us. As the preacher described heaven and hell and talked about the atoning death of Jesus, I just remember being so overcome with my need for Christ. It was at that moment I realized that Jesus died for me, and the only way I could go to heaven was by trusting Him. So, I walked down the aisle to my dad and said, “I want to go to heaven and I know Jesus made the way for me to go, so I want to invite Jesus into my heart.” I was baptized shortly after that. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

What was the first job you ever had?
The first job I ever had was working for a veterinarian during 9th and 10th grades. I worked at a clinic and helped take care of the animals. I really thought that’s what I wanted to do with my life. My second job was working at a children’s daycare as an activities director. I’m sure it was rather interesting watching me, about 6-foot-5 at the time, being chased by the kids. I loved it and I love kids to this day. The next job I had was being a pastor, and that was it after that. I have served as a pastor continuously since 1976.

Where did you go to college?
I went to Ouachita (pronounced Wash-i-tah) Baptist University in Arkansas, where I received a B.A. in religion. From there I went to Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where I received a Masters of Divinity in 1983. I remained at Southwestern and earned a PhD. in New Testament in 1991.

When and whom did you marry?
I married Rachel Leigh Moore on January 6, 1979. We met at Ouachita Baptist University when she was a freshman and I was a junior. We married in the final semester of my senior year. We had been married only four months when we loaded up everything we owned in a Ford Grand Torino and a little U-Haul and moved to Texas to attend seminary.

How many children do you have?
Three, two sons and a daughter.

How did you get into ministry?
I went on a mission trip to Junction City, Kansas, with my youth choir when I was 16. We went to a downtown, inner-city park where we sang and ministered to people. Many of the people there were drug addicts and homeless. We prayed and talked with them. Even at 16 years old I began to feel God say, “I want you to spend the rest of your days giving yourself to people.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant — if I was supposed to be a pastor, a counselor — I just knew that I loved people and was to spend the rest of my life helping them.

It was not long after this that you rebelled. Talk a little about that.
There was a period of about two years when I ran from God and His will. I tried to deny the truth that I knew — the truth that God had called me. It was a very difficult two years. But thankfully, He took me back and didn’t take the call away from me. He never removed His hand of blessing or grace from me, and I was able to return to that compassion for God and for others that I had experienced when I was 16.

What brought you out of this time of rebellion?
It was definitely the prayers of my mom and dad and the love of God. The tangible thing God used was basketball. I was playing one night in college and injured my ankle. I went to the emergency room, but the injury was too severe, so they just gave me pain medicine and sent me home. I was supposed to go the next day to Little Rock, Arkansas, to have surgery. It was during that night that I cried out to God. I said, “OK, God, I’m tired of running. What do You want?” And He said, “I just want to love you.” I really believe that the love of God changed my life. I had experienced salvation at age 9, but then later I ran from Him. But it was God’s love that would not give up on me or leave me alone until He claimed me for Himself. I will always be grateful for that.

Have you ever done any long- or short-term mission trips?
A few years ago my family and I made a commitment to the Lord that every year we would try to go together on a mission trip. We started in Zambia, Africa; then went to Olanchito, Honduras; then, the next year, to the capital of Honduras — Tegucigalpa. The next summer was our “long-term” mission trip to Orlando, Florida, when I became pastor here. The following year we went to Brazil with a group from FBC Orlando and we have been going back ever since. We’ve also been to Canada. Going back to the 1980s, I remember almost every year I would lead a mission trip somewhere in the U.S., mostly out West, in Colorado around the Denver area. We just had some good connections and relationships in that area, and spent a lot of time working there. We also started working in Wyoming, because I had a connection up there.

Where else have you served before coming to First Orlando?
My very first church was in the mountains of southwest Arkansas in a town called Murfreesboro when I was only 19 years old. There were only 21 people there on my first Sunday. I pastored there for three years while I was in college. The second church I served was First Baptist Church of Briar, Texas and that was while I was attending seminary in Fort Worth. We stayed there 10 years before moving back to Arkansas, where I pastored First Baptist Church of Camden. I served there four years, then moved down to Rachel’s hometown of El Dorado, Arkansas, and pastored Immanuel Baptist Church where her family attends. It was a great joy to pastor my in-laws. From there, I went to First Baptist Church of West Monroe, Louisiana, where I served for almost 10 years before coming to Orlando. God used each of these wonderful churches in my life to help me grow in His likeness and be the pastor He wants me to be.

What was the turning point of your life?
The turning point was when I came out of my period of rebellion against God. When I realized how much God loved me, that was the greatest moment of my life. It really changed me. Another significant moment was the trip to Africa with my family. Living out in the bush in a tent together, all five of us, was unbelievable. That was another of those moments that was unmistakably a “God thing.” He did an incredible work in our lives during that time.

What do you like most about your job?
I love helping people find God’s love and helping them see what He has for their lives. That jazzes me more than anything and is the passion of my life. I thank God that I get to walk with them, know them, teach them and love them.

What are some of your most memorable ministry moments?
One very memorable moment for me was coming here to First Orlando. I wasn’t looking to go anywhere or even dreamed about pastoring a church like this. When this all unfolded and God opened the door and I came here to preach on May 15, 2005, it was definitely a defining moment for me. Little did I know all the great relationships I would form once I arrived here. The beauty of it is that every week things get better and better. Another memorable moment is the first beach baptism at Cocoa Beach. One of my favorite things to do in life is baptize. When God stirred my heart to baptize in the Atlantic Ocean, I was thrilled. Standing in the ocean during that first baptism was just unbelievable. It’s something I will never forget.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse or portion of the Bible?
That’s a dangerous question because there are so many that I love. My favorite chapter in the New Testament is Romans 8. God has used that chapter so many ways in my life. In the Old Testament, Psalm 23 has been an anchor for me and a picture of God’s love for me. Psalm 23 has provided a lot of guidance for my life.

What do you like to do with your free time?
My wife Rachel and I really enjoy getting in our jeep on a pretty day and just driving around exploring Florida. I also love the outdoors — fishing, hunting, canoeing, bicycle riding and playing tennis. But my true love is my family. I love doing anything they want to do.

If you weren’t a pastor, what would you be doing?
I’ve been a chaplain for a fire department, police department and a hospital and those experiences were very rewarding. So, if I had to do something else, it would probably be a chaplain, because that would put me in the lives of people and I would get to help others when they really need someone.

Is there something about you people would be surprised to learn?
People are surprised when I tell them that I really think I’m over my head (being the pastor of such a large church). Also, I still get nervous when I preach, even though I love it. It’s such an awesome responsibility and I want to make sure that I please the Lord. So, even though it may not look like I get nervous, I do because preaching the Word is such a big thing.

What brought you to First Orlando?
It began with a phone call from a First Orlando search team telling me that they wanted to talk to me. My first reaction was that I wasn’t very interested because I didn’t think God was going to move me from where I was. Things were going great; it was a perfect setup. But as I prayed about it, I realized that I needed to be obedient and at least speak with them. So, I met two of the search-team members in Birmingham, Alabama. We talked for a long while and they shared with me what they believed God wanted for the church. I was still unsure and said to them, “I just don’t know if I’m the guy.” I drove away that day and was wrestling with it. The only way I was going to know for sure was to come here, see it, and prayer walk — I hear from God best that way. So we planned a family vacation that spring to come to Orlando. We did that, then went home and continued to pray about it. On a Friday night, I was sitting at the kitchen table with the family, and one by one I let each one share what they were feeling. To the person, they all said it was going to be the hardest thing they’d ever done, but they believed God was in it. So, we made the decision. I called the chairman of the search team and said we believed it was God’s will that we come and meet the church and let them vote. The day I came was that May 15, 2005 I mentioned earlier. It was a good day and a real confirmation that this is what God wanted. And there have been many other confirmations since then.

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Sally Russell
Sally Russell
Sunday, August 07, 2011
I have so enjoyed attending First Baptist Orlando. The people are so loving and Pastor Uth preaches His Word so truthfully every week; and on the weeks he's not there, the other preachers are just as just to the Lord's word!
Sonya N Pena
Sonya N Pena
Monday, August 08, 2011
How inspiring to read this! What God can to with a life of service dedicated to Him - Is awesome! Is like a piece of artwork in the making, and you see the process the artist goes through the years, from beginning to end. Of course it hasn't ended yet, is still a work in progress, with a graduation in Heaven when perfection will be achieved by all of us. I think this should be a "recommended reading" to all Junior High, High School, and College students in Christian Schools throughout the nation. I think the FBC Orlando should contact various national magazines and have it printed. Why not? Call CNN. We need positive role models for our young people in our society today. God Bless you Pastor David, a man after God's own heart. We at FBC Orlando love you, appreciate you, and are grateful to God for you. May He keep you and guide you always, Jude 1:24-25. Thank you for being obedient to the voice of God and being a role model, and an inspiration to all of us, young and old. I dedicate Psalm 128 to you and your lovely family. To God Be The Glory, our Beloved Artist!
cora mae summers
cora mae summers
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Is it ok for me to use this space to say how blessed I have been this week at FBC Crossett AR.? Thankyou, Bro. David. I'm so thankful to God for sending you.
stephen finn
stephen finn
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
While searching for a church home, my wife asked if we could go to the First Baptist of Orlando about which she had heard so much. The friendliness and awsome music was an instant attraction; however, the real sell was Dr. Uth's sermons which are not only riveting, but filled with God's word about how we should TRY to live our lives. We have since joined the church, and I was baptised last December. Dr. Uth is always inspirational and we are thankful that God brought us to First Orlando.
Pat Birkhead
Pat Birkhead
Friday, January 27, 2012
As the church's unofficial historian, I have had the previlege of studying our great church's journey which began in 1858 with a small group of men and women dedicated to the Lord. The pastors who have walked through the ages with us have been varied and gifted and God-led. David Uth, in my opinion, is the most awesome. The love he shares with his flock is true and faithful. Watching him interact with his precious wife a couple of years ago when the two of them sat on stage and answered questions posed to them for about 2 hours was incredible. Thank you David and Rachel.
Bryan Lumb
Bryan Lumb
Friday, March 16, 2012
I am grateful to Almighty God for the ministry of David Uth, I llok forward to hearing him preach whenever I can and to hear his faithful explanation of God's word. I have been going to FBC whilst visiting Orlando for over 30 years and have always been encouraged and uplifted by the practical application of God's word given by Jim Henry, David Uth and Jimmy Knott. Thank you men, keep on preaching the truth from His powerful word, America and England need it more today than ever.
Ray Fike
Ray Fike
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
My wife and I started visiting First Baptist the week that Pastor Uth became senior pastor. We have seen and know so many pastors that are doing what they want to do for Christ, but the attribute that sets Pastor Uth apart from other servants is that he allows Christ to do what he wants to do through him for His glory. There are no words that would be adequate to express how much we are blessed and appreciate the heart of pastor Uth and his attentiveness and commitment to bring a smile upon the face of our Lord. Our hearts will always be holding hands with him. He has truly risen upon wings as eagles and is a reflection of the meaning "to live is Christ"
Martha L D
Martha L D
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
mI HIJA SE MUDO DE NEW ORLEANS A oRLANDO EN JUNIO DE 2010, ELLA ESTABA VIVIENDO CON SU ESPOSO, TUVIERON MUCHOS PROBLEMAS OCASIONANDO LA SEPARACION DE ELLOS , TENGO UNA NIETA A LA CUAL AMO MUCHISIMO, NO HA SIDO FACIL VIVIR AL LADO DE ELLA CON TODAS ESTAS DIFICULTADES. EN EL 2010 COMO EN DICIEMBRE FUI POR PRIMERA VEZ A ORLANDO ESTUVE POR DOS MESES, TRAJE MI NIETA PARA MI PAIS PARA AYUDARLE A MI HIJA UN POCO. ASISTI A SU IGLESIA EN ESA FECHA, FUE MUY BUENO PARA MI, IBA LOS DOMINGOS CUANDO SE PODIA, CADA DOMINGO OCURRIA COMO UN MILAGRO, LLEGABA BIEN TRISTE Y PODIA REGRESAR A LA CASA FORTALECIDA, DESPUES DE SEIS MESES REGRESE NUEVAMENTE A ORLANDO PARA LLEVAR NUEVAMENTE A MI NIETA, FUE UNA EPOCA MUY DIFICIL , MUY TRISTE ESTAR NUEVAMENTE VIVIENDO MUCHOS PROBLEMAS. Y NUEVAMENTE CADA DOMINGO ASISTI A SU IGLESIA, SIEMPRE DESEABA QUE FUERA USTED EL QUE HICIERA EL SERVICIO, PORQUE TENIA LA FACULTAD DE HACER LO DE SIEMPRE TRAERME FORTALEZA PARA PODER ESTAR ALLA HASTA QUE LLEGARA LA HORA DE REGRESAR A MI PAIS. ESTE ANO PUDE ACERCARME Y DARLE UN SALUDO Y EN POCAS PALABRAS AGRADECERLE POR LO QUE HABIA HECHO. AHORA ENTRO A ESTA PAGINA PARA ESCRIBIRLE Y DECIRLE " COMO HACE DE BIEN SU TRABAJO" DERRAME MUCHAS LAGRIMAS CUANDO ESTUVE ALLA Y MUCHAS VECES FUERON CALMADAS CON LAS PALABRAS Y REFLEXIONES QUE DIJO EN CADA DOMINGO QUE ESTUVE ALLA.
GRACIAS.
MY DAUGHTER MOVED TO NEW ORLEANS TO ORLANDO IN JUNE 2010, SHE WAS LIVING WITH HER HUSBAND, HAD MANY PROBLEMS CAUSING THE SEPARATION OF THEM, I HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER TO LOVE A LOT IS NOT EASY LIVING IS NEXT TO HER WITH ALL THESE DIFFICULTIES.
IN 2010 AND IN DECEMBER WAS THE FIRST TIME I WAS TO ORLANDO FOR TWO MONTHS, I BROUGHT MY GRANDDAUGHTER TO MY COUNTRY TO HELP MY DAUGHTER A LITTLE.
I attended his CHURCH ON THIS DATE WAS VERY GOOD TO ME, I WAS ON SUNDAY COULD WHEN EVERY SUNDAY AS A MIRACLE HAPPENED, AND COULD CAME SAD WELL BACK TO HOME REBUILT, SIX MONTHS AFTER RETURN AGAIN TO GO BACK TO ORLANDO MY GRANDDAUGHTER WAS A VERY HARD TIME, LIVING AGAIN BE VERY SAD MANY PROBLEMS. AND AGAIN I attended EVERY SUNDAY CHURCH, YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO GET HIM TO DO THE SERVICE, BECAUSE I HAD THE POWER TO DO WHAT TO ALWAYS BE ABLE TO STRENGTH BRING ME THERE UNTIL THE TIME WILL COME BACK TO MY COUNTRY. THIS YEAR COULD GIVE closer and GREETINGS AND THANK THE BOTTOM WAS DONE SO. NOW ENTERED THIS PAGE TO write and tell "HOW WELL DO YOUR JOB" shed many tears when I was there and were quelled OFTEN WITH WORDS AND THOUGHTS ON SAID THAT I WAS THERE EVERY SUNDAY.
THANKS..
l shirley
l shirley
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I want to start by saying, I lived in Orlando for 30 years.
I visited this church once before Pastor David Uth came. I moved to Georgia shortly after that.
I live in a small town now, that does not have a pastor that even compares to Pastor Dave. You are so blessed to have such a powerful man of God leading you.
I am able now to watch on line & I am so happy.Please don't ever take it for granted!

God Bless!
Bryan Lumb
Bryan Lumb
Friday, January 18, 2013
Thank you David for your Home for the Holiday series, it was a great encouragement to me and a real blessing which I so needed at the time. May God continue to bless and encourage you as you preach His life changing word.
chibesa nkole
chibesa nkole
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
i havent been to church in 9months,moving to a new country and always busy with work,i attended the service on saturday and when i walked in the church i said to myself"welcome home". i enjoyed the service and want to become a member! you are doing amaizing work pastor Uth,may God bless you! and thank you miss barbara for inviting me.
Enid Harris
Enid Harris
Friday, April 26, 2013
My family and I were invited to your church and we visited on April 21. We have lived in Georgia for nine years and visited many churches in the area where we lived. We were then moved by the Lord to Royal Palm Beach for four years and we visited several churches in the surrounding areas also. We were then instructed by the Holy Spirit to move to Orlando.
We are here in Orlando one month now, and I am so pleased to share with you that in all these years we have never seen our Lord and Savor, Jesus Christ so exalted and glorified, in those wonderful hymns.
I felt the Father's smile and joy on your worship. As He told me recently, it is all about Jesus and people. I can see you are not just hearers of the Word, but doers. The Pastor that preached on meekness, glorify the Lord in his simple but profound message. May our loving Savor continue to smile upon your ministry. The Harris Family
Susana
Susana
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Quisiera agradecerles a todos de su iglesia por los servicios televisados. Mis padres, quienes no pueden asistir, los ven cada domingo. Es milagroso como pueden recibir el ministro de Uds. sin que salgan de casa. Ellos viven en Clermont, y los dos no estan de muy buena salud. Muchas gracias por todo-y para que sepan, yo tambien gozo de los servicios por internet, y resido en la parte central de Nueva York.

I wish to thank all of you in your church for the televised services. My parents, who cannot attend, watch you every Sunday. It's miraculous how they can receive your ministry without leaving home. They live in Clermont and are not in good health. Thank you very much for everything-and so that you know, I also enjoy your services by internet and I live in Central NY.

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