John L. Hessel is the pastor of First Baptist Church. He came to us as our interim pastor in January, 2006. On Easter Sunday, 2008, John officially became our pastor. Pastor John and his wife of over 50 years, Brenda, have three married daughters and eight grandchildren, all living in the St. Louis area.

John and Brenda both grew up in Alton, IL, and were high school sweethearts. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Formerly the senior pastor of South County Baptist Church for eight years, Pastor John has been in the ministry for 47 years. First called to preach as a teenager, he has a deep love for God’s Word and for God’s people. His hobbies include golf, travel with his wife, and old cars.

Our Pastor also has a consulting ministry, John L. Hessel & Associates, established in 1995, after 10 years doing capital stewardship for the Southern Baptist Convention. In this consulting ministry, he assists churches with financing for building programs, a ministry he first began in 1983. He has assisted over 250 churches throughout the Midwest in raising over $150 million dollars to expand or improve their building facilities.   The pastor’s consulting website is






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