God has allowed this church to minister in the community of Vilonia for over 150 years. During this time, we've had the opportunity to impact, not only the local community, but many parts of the world with the Gospel of Christ.
We are dual-aligned as an independent Baptist church with the Southern Baptist Convention. What does that mean? It simply means that we maintain our independent Baptist roots and method of supporting global missionary outreach, but also support, fellowship, and serve with the Arkansas Baptist Convention and, by extension, the SBC. One of the liberties and blessings we have is to directly support over 60 missionaries through various trustworthy mission organizations. God has allowed First Baptist Church to serve in this community for over 150 years. During this time, we've had the opportunity to impact, not only the local community, but many parts of the world with the Gospel of Christ. We seek to grow the Kingdom of God through fulfilling the Great Commission in our community, nation, and the world!
Scroll down to learn more about our history.
At our church, you will hear the word “gospel” repeatedly because it is the most important truth that we can know and experience. The gospel is not merely a message that needs to be shared with non-Christians, but also with Christians. It is not something that mature Christians move on from, but rather something that they move deeper into. The gospel is the lens in which we should view theology, ministry, and all aspects of life. The gospel is life! . . . the abundant life that can only come through Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul encapsulated the word “gospel” concisely in Romans 6:23 when he wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, as revealed in the Bible, and that every person on earth must repent of their sins and place their faith and trust in Him to receive eternal life.
Shortly after the Civil War (1860’s) a small settlement known as Vilonia was formed in Faulkner County. Around 1869 a Baptist Church was established with a wood structure serving its needs for a worship place. This building was typical of its time with two front doors, and was heated by a pot-bellied wood stove.
The original location of the church was north of the main part of town on North Church Street (thus the name of the street). In the 1920’s through the 1970’s it was known as “Vilonia Missionary Baptist Church” and it was affiliated with the American Missionary Baptist Association (ABA). The church moved to its current location and started building a new brick building in June 11, 1955 and it took until August of 1957 to complete. (This building is now completely enclosed by other buildings and serves as our Children’s Church).
In the 1970’s the church gradually withdrew its affiliation with the ABA and became an independent Baptist church. It is now affiliated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International: a group of independent Baptist churches that network together for fellowship and to support missions. The church changed its name in 1974 to “First Baptist Church” to reflect its place as the first Baptist church in the city.
It seems that every decade has brought the need for a new building of one kind or another. A new and bigger auditorium was added in 1964 (this auditorium presently serves as our Fellowship Hall). In the 1970’s the church added another addition for education space (which now serves as the nursery, office and Sunday School space). This addition also wrapped around and connected all the older buildings together by means of the arched walkway on the north side of the building. In the 1980’s the Family Life Center was built to allow the church to start the Awana program. God continued to grow the church, leading FBC to build the present auditorium and the first service was held there on March 14, 1999. We continue to look to the future and have faith that the Lord will continue to use our church for many more years to His glory.