Bartow UMC was organized on July 18, 1879, with Rev. F. W. Flanders as the preacher in charge. The first trustees of the church were W. C. Smith, Asa Brown, W. Y. Brown, J. L. F. Black, J. W. Smith, James E. Palmer, and T. S. Sweat. W. C. Smith was the Class Leader and Sabbath School Superintendent. J. W. Smith was Circuit Steward and J. Perry Brown was Secretary. There were 24 charter members. Mr. W. C. Smith donated the land on which the church was built. In the late 1890s, the church was moved into the town of Bartow. The membership at this time was near 200 members. Mrs. Lilly B. Evans donated the land for the new church structure and the previous church building was torn down and rebuilt. Sunday school rooms were added in 1924. In 1946, the interior of the church was remodeled and renovated. A Conn Electric organ was bought in 1958.
A parsonage was built in 1904 and used until 1966
. The old parsonage was then sold and a new brick building was constructed on land donated by the descendants of Mr. W. C. Evans, Sr. The new parsonage was dedicated in December 1970.
In 1907, Miss Elizabeth Murphy went as a missionary to Brazil teaching in a Methodist College in São Paulo. Sixteen members of Bartow UMC joined the military during World War One. The Missionary Society, later known as the Woman's Society of Christian Service, the Epworth League, later known as the Methodist Youth Fellowship, and Sunday school classes have been an important part of church life.