The Sunbury Association applied to the Board of Domestic Missions for $300 to help the “Brunswick Mission” build a house of worship. The dream of a little church building became a reality in 1858 located on the corner of H and Union Streets. The new structure valued at $2,500, was without benefit of a baptistery, and so baptisms had to be administered in a salt water creek near there.
The War Between The States came in 1861, and out of 29 churches in the Sunbury Association only 9 had pastors. Georgia seceded from the Union in January of that year. The Brunswick Church was broken up.
In September of 1869, the church reorganized and petitioned to join and was admitted to what was now the New Sunbury Association.
1887 was an especially important time in the history of the church. They needed a new church, and what a vision they had! With mostly faith they built a new house of worship. The account of the dedication of the church building was printed in The Brunswick Times, November 17, 1890. The new church was built at the corner of Union and Mansfield Streets. Its auditorium was the largest in the city of Brunswick. Valued at $35,000, the debt was a formidable undertaking for the 200-member congregation.
In1891, the church petitioned to leave the New Sunbury Association and in 1892 was admitted to the Piedmont Association.
As early as 1892, the church had a Mission Sunday School. The building was located on the corner of George Street and Cochran Avenue and was know as Dart’s Hall.
1912 was another vital time in the life of the church; the pastorium was built behind the church on the corner of Mansfield and Ellis Streets.
The seaman’s Mission, also called the “Bethel Mission”, at the corner of Oglethorpe and Dartmouth Streets in the south end of town, had been a Sunday School as far back as 1902. It was sponsored by all denominations, but was served by our ministers and members.
In 1918, a Building Committee from First Baptist was appointed for the Norwich Street Church, which was completed the following year.
In the summer of 1931, the first Daily Vacation Bible School was held, with an enrollment of 141.
By 1938 the church was able to contribute financially to the Calvary Baptist Church (formerly a Mission of First Baptist). This group was called the Emanuel Mission.
In 1944, over-all gifts had reached a new high. $39,024.28 had been put into the building fund. A lot on the southeast corner of Ellis and Mansfield Streets was bought by the church. Originally the Educational Building was planned for this site. It is now used as a parking lot.
The lot for the Educational Building was bought and a house, which was included in the sale, was moved a block back on Ellis Street and was used for Sunday School rooms. On March 7, 1948, the contract was let for the Educational Building. The building cost $122,000 without furnishings. The Educational Building was dedicated on April 3, 1949.
The Blythe Island Church was organized as a Mission from the First Baptist Church on September 18, 1949.
On the afternoon of May 28, 1950, “Open House” for the new pastorium, located in Windsor Park , was held and dedicated to the Lord. By December 1951, the debt for the new Educational Building and the pastorium had been paid in full. This property was sold in 1978 to the First United Methodist Church.
On December 11, 1955, the Centennial of First Baptist Church was celebrated. That year the church ended its 68-year membership in the Piedmont Association and joined the Southeastern Association.
Ground breaking exercises for the new Educational Building and Chapel on Mansfield Street took place May 1956, and the laying of the cornerstone on April 9, 1957. The Twitty Memorial Chapel was named in honor of Attorney Frank Elmore Twitty and dedicated in services held January 26, 1958.
In March 1962 the church purchased the property on the corner of Mansfield and Union Streets for$60,000 as a site for a proposed sanctuary.
In September 1963, Southside Baptist Church was constituted as an independent church; and during that winter, night meeting began on Jekyll Island, which resulted in the establishment of the Jekyll Island Baptist Mission.
A new church budget of $150,000 was adopted in 1965-66. with approximately $135,000 on hand in the building fund, the church voted to erect a new sanctuary at the cost of $492,000 without furnishings. Ground breaking was held on October 31. On March 5, 1967, the new sanctuary was dedicated. Building, land and furnishings cost approximately $650,000.
Months were spent in study, research and investigation for an instrument suitable for the Sanctuary within the price of $50,000. The Reuter pipe organ was chosen and built especially for our church. A Service of Dedication was held on July 27, 1967.
In October 1970 ground was broken for the new Jekyll Island Baptist Mission. The completed building was dedicated on May 16, 1971.
Remodeling of the old wing of the Educational Building (built 1949) began the summer of 1975 to provide a beautiful and useful Youth Center and an updated nursery wing and library space. Open House was held in February 1976 when the project was completed.
November 26, 1978 Mr. Thomas Beach died and left a quarter of his substantial estate in a trust to First Baptist Church.
In March 1980 Dr. Gene Harden and his daughters, in memory of Doris Lowe Harden, gave a beautiful 9-foot Yamaha Concert Grand Piano.
Goals established for “Together We Build.” April 4, 1984, pledges for new educational building and social hall were $607.940. March 9, 1986 dedication of new educational building including social hall/dining room named Beach Hall. Total cost with furnishings $4,542,736.34.
In 1987, Mr. & Mrs. George Barfield left their estate to our church. In 1993, the “old social hall” was renamed “The Barfield Room” in recognition of the Barfield’s commitment and stewardship to First Baptist Church.
First Baptist entered into a TV Ministry on Station WBSG (Channel 21) on April 8, 1990. This would be live coverage of the Sunday morning worship service from 10:30 to 11:30 each week. After many days of frustration and delay we finally began televising our morning service on May 13.
September 1990, the church received a gift of Sea Island home of Mr. and Mrs. John Carter and voted to invest proceeds from sale of property in Georgia Baptist Foundation.
The Scarlett property located on the corner of Union and Monck Streets was purchased November 13, 1991 for the sum of $75,000. In the spring of 1996, the property was renovated for use in the ministry of the youth.
February 9, 1993, the Mission Committee recommended that our church sponsor the Everett Mission Church. The following month property was purchased to locate this mission on Old Jesup Road and May Road. A trailer was moved in to start the mission.
Library relocates in fall of 1993 to present location.
In August 1996, it was recommended that the Basswood Mission Chapel (Everett Mission Chapel) be brought to a dignified and honorable conclusion. The present pastor would be invited to join the staff of First Baptist. The adult members would be encouraged to attend First Baptist, also. The property would be retained for future use. The property was later sold.
We had the opportunity to purchase and renovate the building and property located at 1321 Union Street (owned at that time by the Georgia labor Department) for use in the ministry to single adults. Title had been secured and the renovation was ready to begin April 1997. Dedication of this building was held on March 15, 1998. This building was named SAM 9single adult ministry) Building.
March 2000, word was received that Wilson J. Flanders, one of our long time members, who recently passed away had bequeathed his home to First Baptist Church.
Crossroads Fellowship Baptist Church, Park City, Utah, a mission church sponsored by First Baptist. This mission was established October 2000. Sponsorship of Crossroads Fellowship Baptist Church was relinquished in July 2003 since they have incorporated and would no longer need a sponsor.
On November 16, 2003 the Contemporary Service Committee announced the beginning of the New Contemporary Service on Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 8:00 AM in Beach Hall. The service made its debut and was commissioned on Sunday night, January 4 at 6:30 PM so that our entire church body could participate.
2003 budget gifts received were $1,396,054.24. Budget goal was $1,394,862.56. Lottie Moon gifts to date $21,118.75. First Baptist goal was $23,000.00.
February 28, 2004, First Baptist reserved one theater at the movies at Glynn Place Mall for a 7:00 PM showing of The Passion of the Christ. The screenplay was adapted by Mel Gibson and depicts the last 12 hours of Christ’s life on earth. It was adapted from the four Biblical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Summer of 2004, Faith Ministry was introduced. Faith is ongoing comprehensive (evangelism and ministry) strategy and process which functions through our existing Sunday School. Faith equips and mobilizes Sunday School Classes to accomplish these ministries.
November 7, 2004, Harvest Love Offering was given in obedience. Although we are not sure how the 12 acres of Harry Driggers Blvd. will be used, we are certain God has called us the purchase it. May God’s Spirit lead us to be sacrificed givers.
It was announced on January 16, 2005, we would begin two Bible Fellowships (Sunday Schools). The Contemporary Church Service and Bible Fellowship will begin at 9:00 AM and the blended Worship Service and Bible Fellowship will begin at 10:30 AM. This program will be implemented April 1.
The 150th Anniversary Celebration of First Baptist Church was celebrated on November 13, 2005.