Our Story

How it all started...

1832                    The church received its first official charter in 1832.

1853                     Purchased two lots at Main Street and Ries Road.

1890                     Men of the church purchased ground on Clayton Road for a church cemetery.
1935                     Electricity was installed in the old frame church.

1950 and 60's,    Church members worked to raise funds for a new building

1962                     Church was built at 302 Main Street  Church’s 130th anniversary

1991                      The Christian Learning Skills Center was opened.

2000                      Last service at 302 Main Street on Sunday, October 1, 2000.

2001                      Groundbreaking ceremony at 206 Ries Road Ballwin, MO on November 11, 2001.

...and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” -- Matt. 16:18

 Our Church History

According to St. Louis County records, our congregation is the second oldest Baptist Church west of the Mississippi River. God has given First Baptist Church of Ballwin a long and blessed history. Organized in the early 1800’s, the church received its official charter in 1832, when presiding Judge Higgins issued a permit to build a house of worship. Judge Higgins was a progressive public defender. 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, both slaves and freedmen, traveled by horseback and on foot over Indian Trails from as far away as Gray Summit, St. Clair, Union, Allenton and Maryland Heights, Missouri. These early members held church service and prayed in the outdoors underneath the grape arbors.
This early congregation flourished despite continuous harassment, floggings, 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 not until 1853 that 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 which 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. 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 stormy, Rev. R.J. Critten, Pastor led the new large congregation. Twelve men of the church  purchased ground on Clayton Road for a church Cemetery. Accounts report that Rev. Critten led many converts down Ries Road to the creek for baptism. Such occasions were followed by old-fashioned basket dinners-on-the-grounds. These types of events made the church become well known in the area. Sometime before 1935, electricity was installed in the old frame church, which was a result of the efforts of Mother Lydia Herman. Under the leadership of Rev. L.J. Woodard in 1947, the congregation saw a vision of worshipping in a new church. In early 1950’s, church members worked to raise funds for a new building, but they were unsuccessful. During this time membership declined, but remaining members continued the task of financing a new building.
Rev. Royston was called in 1960, and under his efficient leadership, a large and well-advised Deacon Board was established and the spiritual outlook and membership became high.

When Rev. Royston left and Rev. Charles Thames became Pastor the members worked hard to renew their vision of building a new church. However, it was under the leadership of Rev. Wm. 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. In 1959, the church’s 127th Anniversary, a dedication day was held and the Church site was declared “Freedom Prayer Ground.” At this time the Church received a letter of congratulations and encouragement from the White House to move forward.
Finally, on May 21, 1961, we broke ground for the new church and over 400 people attended the celebration. This event would be the last basket dinner held and $1,000 was raised toward 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 deficient funds, 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.  

On Sunday, November 11, 1962, our Church's 130th Church Anniversary became our Dedication Day, as Rev. C.J. Duvall marched the members into the new church building! Following the departure of Rev. Duvall in 1964, and following the cornerstone laying service, church leadership was continued by Reverends 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 as a result of the subsequent development of Old Town Center of Ballwin, where the church formally stood.
On November 11, 2001, the Church had its groundbreaking ceremony at the new building site on 206 Ries Road in Ballwin, Missouri, yet, it took almost eight years before the church was constructed.  
In August of 2007, the Rev. Phillip G. Duvall was called as Pastor. Under his leadership and tireless efforts, we held our first service in our new edifice in November, 2008. We celebrated our building Dedication Service on June 14, 2009. Rev. Duvall resigned on October 17, 2010 due to his health. On November 18, 2012, Reverend Gregory A. Wilson, Sr., accepted the call as Pastor. Under his leadership the Church continued to grow spiritually.

Taking place on September 18, 2016, we were blessed to install Reverend Leonard C. White as Pastor of First Baptist Church of Ballwin.  Today at 190 years strong with service, we continue to be blessed under Pastor White's leadership. While under Pastors leadership we are encouraged to use biblical principles in every facet of our work. It's also vital to have this kind of thorough and structured teaching for each church member. Pastor White is a spiritual visionary and we are looking forward with spiritual excitement and joy as we embark the new years ahead on "Building Unity in the Body of Christ." Ephesians 2:21-22.

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Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 11 am.