Church History

In the beginning....

God has given First Baptist Church of Ballwin a long and blessed history. 

First Baptist Church of Ballwin was organized in the early 1800s. According to ST. Louis County records, the second oldest Baptist church west of the Mississippi River.  The church received its first official charter in 1832, when presiding Judge Higgins issued a building permit to its members.  This permit allowed them to build their first house of worship.  Judge Higgins was a progressive public officer.  He was considered a man of integrity and was well respected in the community by both whites and blacks.  Judge Higgins was also considered a man of social prominence and political power.  He was a dependable and worthy ally of those early church members.

These church members came, both slaves and freedmen, traveled by horseback and on foot over Indian Trails from as far as Gray Summit, St. Clair, Union, Allenton, and Maryland Heights, Missouri.  These early church members held church service and prayed in the outdoors under grape arbors.

This early congregation flourished despite continuous harassment, flogging, and other intimidation.  Oral history states that there were times when church members had to hide under wash pots in order to avoid vigilantes.  In 1837, when members bought two lots from John Ball, ownership was denied them because of rigid slave laws.  It was 1853 before a legal way to purchase two other lots from Fredrick and Mary Shelp was found.  The purchase price for these lots was $45.00.  It was this land that became the site of the former church building at Main Street and Ries Road.

Even though the laws had changed regarding black land ownership, the minds of many vigilantes had not and stories indicate that two structures were destroyed by fire between 1853 and 1865.  The first two structures were log cabins, and the stories relate that a deacon gave his life in defense of the congregation’s right to worship.

Around 1890, when the church’s existence ceased to be so stormy, the Rev. R. J. Critten led the new large congregation.  Twelve men of the church purchased ground on Clayton Road for a church cemetery.  Accounts say that Rev. Critten led many converts down Ries Road to the creek for Baptism.  Such occasions were followed with an old-fashioned basket dinner on the grounds, an event for which the church became well known.

 

Sometime before 1935, electricity was installed in the old frame church due to the efforts of Mother Lydia Herman.

 

Under the leadership of Rev. L. J. Woodard in 1947, the congregation saw a vision of worshiping in a new church.  In the early 1950s, church members worked to raise funds for a new building, but they were unsuccessful.  Membership declined but the remaining members kept at the task of financing a new building.
 

Rev. Royston was called in 1950, and under his efficient leadership, we had a large and well-advised Deacon Board.  The spiritual outlook and membership was high.

 

When Reverend Royston left, Rev. Charles Thames became Pastor and the members worked hard to renew their vision for building a new church.  However, it was under the leadership of Reverend Collins that a large portion of the building fund was raised and the architects were called in to draw up the first plans for a new building.

 

On the church’s 127th anniversary in 1959, a dedication day was held and the Church site declared a “Freedom Prayer Ground.”  At this time, the Church received a letter of congratulations and encouragement from the White House.
 

Finally, on May 21, 1961, ground was broken for a new church.  That day, 400 people ate the last basket dinner and $1,000.00 was raised for the new building.  At this time, the members were under the leadership of Rev. C. J. Duvall.  The members still faced building code problems as well as funds running low, but through the faithfulness of new members as well as the perseverance of long-time members, church finances tripled and the hope of a new building gave way to the reality of its completion.  And on Sunday, November 11, 1962, our Church’s 130th anniversary also became our Dedication Day, as Rev. Duvall marched the members into the new church building.

 

Following the departure of Reverend Duvall in 1964, and following the cornerstone laying service, continuing leadership was provided by Rev. Willie McCoy, George Aitch, Louis Aitch, George Works, Clifton Anders, Aaron Blunt, and Richard Rollins.
 

Under the leadership of Rev. Rollins, the church opened the Christian Learning Skills Center adjacent to the Church in 1991.  This was a childcare ministry dedicated to excellence in the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of its children.

 

First Baptist Church of Ballwin held its last service at 302 Main Street on Sunday, October 1, 2000, due to the subsequent development of Old Towne Center of Ballwin, where the church formally stood.

 

On November 11, 2001, the Church had its groundbreaking ceremony at its new building site on Ries Road in Ballwin, Missouri.  However, as of the formal adoption date of these by-laws, construction has yet to commence on this site, as tribulation (in the form of ongoing legal battles) has once again besieged our Church.  But, as we move into our next 200 years, we will continue to strive ahead with the same faith-based diligence of our forefathers.     (“…and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” -- Matt. 16:18)

 

Mission

The mission of the Church is to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ in accordance with (Matthew 28:18-20): through the preaching of the Gospel, consistent Christian living, personal evangelism, missionary endeavor, Christian Education and public workship of God.

  1. Through the preaching of the Gospel,
  2. Consistent Christian living,
  3. Personal evangelism,
  4. Missionary endeavor
  5. Christian Education
  6. Public Worship of God


Doctrine

The body accepts the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the inspired word of God.  This record of God's revealed actions in human history is the authoritative basis for this Church's doctine and practice.  We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the Good News of Salvation to a lost world.  The ordiances of the Church are Baptism (by immersion) and the Lord's Supper.

 



What We believe

 

 
  1. We believe the whole Bible and accept nothing but the Bible as their guide in matters of faith and practice.    (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 6:46; II Timothy 3:15-17)

  2. We believe in One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism.  (Ephesians 4:5)

  3. We believe that salvation is wholly of God (John 1:12-13), that we are saved by grace and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that the two conditions of salvation are Repentance and Faith.  (Luke 13:3)

  4. We believe in a regenerated membership. (John 3:3; Acts 2:41 and 47)

  5. We believe Christ is the spiritual head and founder of the Church.  (Matthew 16:18;  Colossians 1:18)

  6. We believe Christ, the head of the Church is the only begotten son of God, both accepted and requested baptism at the hand of John the Baptist, a preacher,    (Matthew 3:15) who was prepared in heaven (Luke 1:44) for the sublime task and sent from God.   (John 1:6)

  7. We promote the right of the individual; first, we may seek God for ourselves   (Acts 17:27); second, everyone must repent for himself (Acts 17:30); third, everyone must confess for himself (Romans 10:9-10); fourth, everyone must report to God for himself (Romans 14:11-12).

  8. We believe in the democracy of the Church (every member equal).         (Matthew: 20:24-24; Matthew 23:5-8)

  9. We believe that Baptist Ministers are equal in rank and are never to exercise authority over one another (Mark 10:42-44) and are never to be called Master or Father (Pope).   (Matthew 23:8-12)

  10. We accept as Church ordinances only those things ordered by Jesus Christ, which symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ—namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Romans 6:3-5; I Corinthians 11:23-26).  The quotation “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat….” is a statement addressed to the Church and has no reference to non-Christians and non-church members.  (I Corinthians11:28)

  11. We believe that the salvation of God is eternal.  (John 3:14-18; Romans 8:1,       33-39; Hebrews 11:13; 32-33)

  12. We believe in the second coming of Christ (Acts 1:11), the immortality of the human soul (Genesis 2:7; I Corinthians 15:53-55), the resurrection of the body         (I Corinthians 15:44), the final judgment of a just God (Matthew 25:41-46), and the never-ending punishment of sinners and the eternal bliss of the saints.  (Matthew 25:34-46).


 

 

 

Church History

In the beginning....

God has given First Baptist Church of Ballwin a long and blessed history. 

First Baptist Church of Ballwin was organized in the early 1800s. According to ST. Louis County records, the second oldest Baptist church west of the Mississippi River.  The church received its first official charter in 1832, when presiding Judge Higgins issued a building permit to its members.  This permit allowed them to build their first house of worship.  Judge Higgins was a progressive public officer.  He was considered a man of integrity and was well respected in the community by both whites and blacks.  Judge Higgins was also considered a man of social prominence and political power.  He was a dependable and worthy ally of those early church members.

These church members came, both slaves and freedmen, traveled by horseback and on foot over Indian Trails from as far as Gray Summit, St. Clair, Union, Allenton, and Maryland Heights, Missouri.  These early church members held church service and prayed in the outdoors under grape arbors.

This early congregation flourished despite continuous harassment, flogging, and other intimidation.  Oral history states that there were times when church members had to hide under wash pots in order to avoid vigilantes.  In 1837, when members bought two lots from John Ball, ownership was denied them because of rigid slave laws.  It was 1853 before a legal way to purchase two other lots from Fredrick and Mary Shelp was found.  The purchase price for these lots was $45.00.  It was this land that became the site of the former church building at Main Street and Ries Road.

Even though the laws had changed regarding black land ownership, the minds of many vigilantes had not and stories indicate that two structures were destroyed by fire between 1853 and 1865.  The first two structures were log cabins, and the stories relate that a deacon gave his life in defense of the congregation’s right to worship.

Around 1890, when the church’s existence ceased to be so stormy, the Rev. R. J. Critten led the new large congregation.  Twelve men of the church purchased ground on Clayton Road for a church cemetery.  Accounts say that Rev. Critten led many converts down Ries Road to the creek for Baptism.  Such occasions were followed with an old-fashioned basket dinner on the grounds, an event for which the church became well known.

 

Sometime before 1935, electricity was installed in the old frame church due to the efforts of Mother Lydia Herman.

 

Under the leadership of Rev. L. J. Woodard in 1947, the congregation saw a vision of worshiping in a new church.  In the early 1950s, church members worked to raise funds for a new building, but they were unsuccessful.  Membership declined but the remaining members kept at the task of financing a new building.
 

Rev. Royston was called in 1950, and under his efficient leadership, we had a large and well-advised Deacon Board.  The spiritual outlook and membership was high.

 

When Reverend Royston left, Rev. Charles Thames became Pastor and the members worked hard to renew their vision for building a new church.  However, it was under the leadership of Reverend Collins that a large portion of the building fund was raised and the architects were called in to draw up the first plans for a new building.

 

On the church’s 127th anniversary in 1959, a dedication day was held and the Church site declared a “Freedom Prayer Ground.”  At this time, the Church received a letter of congratulations and encouragement from the White House.
 

Finally, on May 21, 1961, ground was broken for a new church.  That day, 400 people ate the last basket dinner and $1,000.00 was raised for the new building.  At this time, the members were under the leadership of Rev. C. J. Duvall.  The members still faced building code problems as well as funds running low, but through the faithfulness of new members as well as the perseverance of long-time members, church finances tripled and the hope of a new building gave way to the reality of its completion.  And on Sunday, November 11, 1962, our Church’s 130th anniversary also became our Dedication Day, as Rev. Duvall marched the members into the new church building.

 

Following the departure of Reverend Duvall in 1964, and following the cornerstone laying service, continuing leadership was provided by Rev. Willie McCoy, George Aitch, Louis Aitch, George Works, Clifton Anders, Aaron Blunt, and Richard Rollins.
 

Under the leadership of Rev. Rollins, the church opened the Christian Learning Skills Center adjacent to the Church in 1991.  This was a childcare ministry dedicated to excellence in the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of its children.

 

First Baptist Church of Ballwin held its last service at 302 Main Street on Sunday, October 1, 2000, due to the subsequent development of Old Towne Center of Ballwin, where the church formally stood.

 

On November 11, 2001, the Church had its groundbreaking ceremony at its new building site on Ries Road in Ballwin, Missouri.  However, as of the formal adoption date of these by-laws, construction has yet to commence on this site, as tribulation (in the form of ongoing legal battles) has once again besieged our Church.  But, as we move into our next 200 years, we will continue to strive ahead with the same faith-based diligence of our forefathers.     (“…and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” -- Matt. 16:18)

 

Mission

The mission of the Church is to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ in accordance with (Matthew 28:18-20): through the preaching of the Gospel, consistent Christian living, personal evangelism, missionary endeavor, Christian Education and public workship of God.

  1. Through the preaching of the Gospel,
  2. Consistent Christian living,
  3. Personal evangelism,
  4. Missionary endeavor
  5. Christian Education
  6. Public Worship of God


Doctrine

The body accepts the scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the inspired word of God.  This record of God's revealed actions in human history is the authoritative basis for this Church's doctine and practice.  We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the Good News of Salvation to a lost world.  The ordiances of the Church are Baptism (by immersion) and the Lord's Supper.

 



What We believe

 

 
  1. We believe the whole Bible and accept nothing but the Bible as their guide in matters of faith and practice.    (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 6:46; II Timothy 3:15-17)

  2. We believe in One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism.  (Ephesians 4:5)

  3. We believe that salvation is wholly of God (John 1:12-13), that we are saved by grace and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that the two conditions of salvation are Repentance and Faith.  (Luke 13:3)

  4. We believe in a regenerated membership. (John 3:3; Acts 2:41 and 47)

  5. We believe Christ is the spiritual head and founder of the Church.  (Matthew 16:18;  Colossians 1:18)

  6. We believe Christ, the head of the Church is the only begotten son of God, both accepted and requested baptism at the hand of John the Baptist, a preacher,    (Matthew 3:15) who was prepared in heaven (Luke 1:44) for the sublime task and sent from God.   (John 1:6)

  7. We promote the right of the individual; first, we may seek God for ourselves   (Acts 17:27); second, everyone must repent for himself (Acts 17:30); third, everyone must confess for himself (Romans 10:9-10); fourth, everyone must report to God for himself (Romans 14:11-12).

  8. We believe in the democracy of the Church (every member equal).         (Matthew: 20:24-24; Matthew 23:5-8)

  9. We believe that Baptist Ministers are equal in rank and are never to exercise authority over one another (Mark 10:42-44) and are never to be called Master or Father (Pope).   (Matthew 23:8-12)

  10. We accept as Church ordinances only those things ordered by Jesus Christ, which symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ—namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Romans 6:3-5; I Corinthians 11:23-26).  The quotation “Let a man examine himself and so let him eat….” is a statement addressed to the Church and has no reference to non-Christians and non-church members.  (I Corinthians11:28)

  11. We believe that the salvation of God is eternal.  (John 3:14-18; Romans 8:1,       33-39; Hebrews 11:13; 32-33)

  12. We believe in the second coming of Christ (Acts 1:11), the immortality of the human soul (Genesis 2:7; I Corinthians 15:53-55), the resurrection of the body         (I Corinthians 15:44), the final judgment of a just God (Matthew 25:41-46), and the never-ending punishment of sinners and the eternal bliss of the saints.  (Matthew 25:34-46).