Our  Story

How it all started...

When the dust settled the evening of April 22, 1889, what had been a field of prairie grass was a community of 10,000 people. Over the following months, Baptists who had participated in the historic land rush and settled the city began to find each other. By July,  Sunday School was organized and meeting in rooms over Winningham Brothers Hardware store. The group met on Wednesdays and Sundays, and within three months had grown sufficiently to move to larger quarters. On November 2, 1889, a business meeting was held and the group officially organized as the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City.
Only a month later, the church organized an oyster supper and invited the public at large, establishing a precedent for reaching out to the community. A reporter wrote that the Baptists “were getting into line of battle and will soon be ready to open up their gatling guns of gospel truth upon the ramparts of sin…” Church doctrine was established in four tenets: that the only rule of faith was the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, that the only proper subjects of the ordinance of baptism were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, that the proper administration of baptism was by immersion and that the Church, “according to the New Testament,” should be independent in form and that the right of administration should be in the body itself.

Expanding the vision...

The church organized a board of Deacons to act not only as an advisory and financial oversight board, but to share the burden of ministry, visiting the sick, widows and the poor “to see that they are not neglected.” The deacons were charged with oversight of the spiritual interest of the Church and attempted to mediate disputes and disagreements.
The deacons were also charged with recruiting a pastor for the congregation, and only three months after the founding meeting, presented Reverend W.H. Nichols as a candidate. At the time of the pastor’s first sermon on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1890, the congregation had a membership of 43.
Throughout the twentieth century, from statehood through two world wars and social revolution, First Baptist Church maintained its central city presence. The sanctuary, built in 1912, is a majestic gothic structure noted for glowing stained glass windows and the Casavant 104-rank pipe organ, installed on the church’s 100th anniversary. The 1952 educational building was one of the first to boast a full gymnasium and the church first to call a full-time minister of Christian Recreation. The list of renowned pastors has included Mordecai Ham, noted for being the evangelist who brought Billy Graham to Christ, and Dr. Herschel Hobbs, twice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and author of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. 

Where we are headed...

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the high school choir made missionary trips to Mexico, South America and Europe.
Social upheaval and the civil rights movement brought about massive change through the last half of the century. The Good Shepherd ministry was inaugurated to address the growing needs of homelessness and poverty. Under the leadership of Dr. Gene Garrison, First Baptist made the decision to ordain women to the deaconate and ministry, a departure from traditional Southern Baptist teaching. The church saw the central city crumble under the weight of financial recession, then revive just in time to welcome a new millennium. In November 2018, FBCOKC called Sarah Stewart as Pastor, the first female Baptist pastor in the state of Oklahoma. 
Through our 130+ years of ministry in Oklahoma City, one thing has been for sure: God was moving in our midst, and continues to do so today.  Come, be a part of this journey of discovering God and who God has called us to be.

Be a part of our story!

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 10:30am.