He attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where his classmates included Aaron Burr and William Bradford, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1774.
He also served as headmaster of the Columbian Academy in Georgetown. Soon thereafter, he became principal of the Lower Marlborough Academy in Calvert County in southern Maryland. Balch also served in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1780, he began preaching out of a small house near Bridge Street (now M Street), which was used during the week as a school.
A building was constructed for the church on Bridge Street at Washington Street (30th Street) in 1782. The church was expanded in 1793 and again in 1801, but the size was still insufficient.
A new structure was built in 1821, and the church later relocated to P Street the 1870s. Many notable residents of Washington and Georgetown attended the church.
Balch preached to a large crowd after George Washington died.