history

 

First Baptist Church - "In the Beginning" 1898
First Baptist Church – “In the Beginning” 1898

Inspired by such Holy Scriptures as Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision the people perish.”, a group of Christians of all faiths met in the lobby of the Southern Pacific Depot in Jennings and organized a Union Sunday School. These Christians had a need for some place where they could meet and worship the Lord. At this time in Jennings, 1884, there were only about 150 people living here. The few Baptists who were residing here joined with these other dedicated Christians. Later, they grew to a point that they organized themselves as their own group. Then they began meeting in the old store building known as Robert’s Store.

In 1894, when the population of Jennings was 412, this group of Baptist believers made their first legal transaction. They purchased two lots at the corner of First Street and State Street. The condition of the sale was made with S. L. Cary and the Louisiana Baptist Convention, that a church building be built on the site within five years of the purchase.

IMG_2581In the early part of 1897 the church called its first pastor, Rev. E.W. McLendon, for full-time service. In April, logs were sawed and the Baptist Church building was under construction.

One year later, April 25, 1898, the Baptists moved into their newly constructed auditorium with an increase of 10 members. The church membership had grown in one year to 24 members and the Sunday School enrollment had grown to 40.

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The church continued to grow and to have a vision for the future of this congregation. In 1945, using those same words of inspiration from Proverbs 29:18 the church started a building fund that would be utilized just four years later. Due to the lack of space in the buildings and no space left on the lot to extend onto, the church voted to purchase property nearby at Curtis Street and Cary Ave. The church voted to secure Bill Bollich to supervise the building of a lovely new church structure. The church was excited about this process and supplied over a third of the labor force to complete the new church with volunteer help. The church was finished and the growing congregation of First Baptist Church of Jennings moved into the present existing structure on August 5, 1951 with a membership of 580 people. PRAISE GOD for HIS faithfulness.

churchIn 1959, a new educational building was added to the church plant. These diligent Baptists had seen the Lord bless their efforts with continued growth that had reached 1,030 resident members and a Sunday School enrollment of 776. Led by Dr. Jimmie Dobson, as pastor in 1990, the church went through a renovation phase and remodeled the current sanctuary.

In 1996, under the guidance of pastor Lindsey Burns, the church moved into a planning stage for the future. There had been another vision casing service where Preston Stagg stood and challenged the church to look into the feasibility of building an additional multipurpose building and renovating our older space. Due to such spiritual leadership in this church and a vision to see new things accomplished, the Lord led this church to the threshold again of building new buildings to enhance the wonderful ministry that He is leading our church to be a part of in this community.

On November 9, 2003, we dedicated our newest building–our Family Life Center. This was definitely a step of faith, but we trust that God will bless this building just as He has done throughout this church’s history.

It is an exciting time to be a member of First Baptist Church of Jennings. With “Open Hands-Loving Hearts”, we would consider it an honor and a privilege if the Lord led you and your family to join our congregation to see the Great Commandment and the Great Commission fulfilled in this community.