History

“planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13 (NIV)

Below is a brief history of our church…

First Pastor Andy & Eloise SmithThe First Baptist Church of Oakville held its first meeting on October 25, 1959, when a group of eithty-two people gathered at the home of Buel and Helen Clendinen to talk about organizing a new church. One month later, on Novermber 22, the church was formally organized in a service held in the Mehlville Junior High School auditorium. The church was organized with 78 charter members. Rev. Andrew J. Smith was called as pastor. The church met in homes in the Oakville area. The number of people attending services at the time made this impractical for more than a brief time however, and the church moved its worship services to the Oakville Elementary School.

On January 6, 1960 the new church purchased 15 acres at our present location. The church began to work on the old farm house on their new property. The members managed to renovate the house and build an Ed Bldg Construction 3auditorium that would seat nearly ninety people. The different organizations of the church were already beginning to function. On November 20, 1960, almost one year exactly after the church was organized, the church faced one of its’ early crises, Andrew Smith felt led to minister elsewhere and the young church was without a pastor for the first time. The church called Rev. Allen, as interim and very few members left during the period.

In February, 1961, Rev. Don Wideman was called as pastor. Only three months later, in May, a building committee was given the authority to hire an architect and commission plans for a new building. The plans the committee came up with were approved by the church in August, 1961. The church was amazed and humbled when $53,500 in ABC bonds were sold in one evening. God blessed and the church began to grow in earnest. Many people came to know the Lord, thirteen were baptized in 1961, Cornerstonethirty in 1962 and thirty-eight in 1965. The church built the section of the building where we now worship in 1962. The churches’ high attendance mark during Brother Don’s ministry occurred when 257 people attended on April 25, 1965. Perhaps as significant, during Don Wideman’s ministry, two men were ordained to preach and a number of others were trained as missionaries. In 1966, when Brother Don left to continue his education he encouraged the church to meet the challenge of ministry that lay ahead.

Dr. Herbert Haney was called as pastor shortly after Don left. Dr. Haney would resign because of ill health after only fourteen months, but in those months twenty-seven more people were baptized and the current educational building was in the works.

The church had now been organized for eight years and during those years it had been served by three pastors. The custodial work, secretarial work, and most of the construction was being done by volunteers.

In January, 1968 Rev. Gary Hawkins became the church’s fourth pastor. In March, the church’s attendance rose to over 200 for the first time in over a year. The educational wing was almost completed. A few of the far-sighted members led the church to build two floors of educational space, although just one was necessary at the time. In August, 1970 Rev. Hawkins resigned as pastor and the church was again without a shepherd.

The churches’ youngest pastor to date, John King, was called March 7, 1971. During John’s leadership the church expanded and deepened its ministry. The WMU became active, a strong youth program was started, the building was expanded still more and the church became active in race relations work. In addition, the church began to publish a monthly newsletter and a missions committee was established. On October 30, 1977 John resigned to accept a position with the Christian Civic Foundation.

IMGP1757On February 12, 1978, Bill Shreve was called as the church’s new pastor. Bill might best be described as a pastor’s pastor. He was a wonderful shepherd, sharing his love and concern with an incredible number of people over the years he served the Lord here. During Bill’s ministry at the church many things were accomplished: the church added new offices, the nursery was moved to its current location, and the activity center, where our meals are held was completed. In addition to the building being expanded the ministry of the church grew as well: the children became involved in drama, the church developed a monthly teacher’s & officers meeting and the missions education ministry of the church expanded. Bill would serve the Lord for thirteen years in our church. He remained as pastor until September 1, 1991. During that time it would be impossible to fully measure the lives he and the church touched.

Dr. Roger Steenrod was called to pastor the church on February 28, 1993. Doctors discovered lung cancer shortly after he came which ultimately led to his resignation on April 23, 1995.

Pastor Tim Richards accepted our call in November, 1995. During his ministry God has blessed us with many new members. The church has expanded its ministries to children and youth.Pastor Tim Richards w children Paster Tim Richard continued to lead our church until he was called to serve as Pastor at The Refuge in November 2006 providing 11 years of service to our flock.

Dr. Roger Steenrod was called to pastor the church on February 28, 1993. Doctors discovered lung cancer shortly after he came which ultimately led to his resignation on April 23, 1995.

Pastor Tim Richards accepted our call in November, 1995. During his ministry God has blessed us with many new members. The church has expanded its ministries to children and youth. Paster Tim Richard continued to lead our church providing 11 years of service until November, 2006, when he left with several families to start a new church, called The Refuge in Imperial, MO.

IMGP1759John L. Hessel became pastor of First Baptist Church on Easter Sunday, 2008. He began at our church as an Interim Pastor January 2007. Over the following year it became clear to both Pastor John and our church members that he would be the best candidate to continue the tradition of the above pastors by providing guidance to the church’s members and guests. He continues to serve God and First Baptist Church of Oakville and his ministry brings the word of God to our lives and our hearts.