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Our Beliefs

We are a Christ-centered, Bible-focused people.

When we speak of Baptist beliefs it is important to understand first that Baptists are a “non-creedal” people. We emphasize the freedom and the responsibility of every individual to relate to God without the imposition of human creeds. Our goal is to know the mind and spirit of Christ revealed in scripture and experienced through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. 

We affirm that Christ is Lord over the believer, He is Lord over the church, and He is Lord of all that is. Jesus Christ is the final authority in our individual lives, in our homes, in our churches, and in all our relationships with society and the world. Our ultimate loyalty and allegiance is to God's Person, not to books, creeds, confessions, traditions, programs or procedures.

At the same time, it is important to say that Baptists affirm the historical doctrinal beliefs of the church. We affirm the Holy Spirit as the living presence of God with us making real the things of Christ in the life of the believer and empowering the church of Jesus Christ for the living of these days. We believe that the church is the Body of Christ and that all of God’s people are called and gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve and love our Lord and give witness to his saving love for all the world.

What makes us unique as Baptists is the way we understand the church and the role of the individual in the church. First Baptist Church is rooted in this particular history we know as “Baptist.” We are centered in the Bible and celebrate a personal faith affirming the integrity of the individual in matters of faith and practice. We practice “Believer’s Baptism” by immersion and we are committed to religious liberty for all people. Our mission is focused in the local church and united with other Baptists and Christians where we make common cause to accomplish the work God seeks to do through us. We are engaged in mission and evangelism, open to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit who empowers us for mission and service.

At First Baptist Church, we affirm the historic Baptist principle of Congregational Autonomy. Through this, Baptist congregations are able to express our heritage in alignment with the historic beliefs of the church but are faithful to the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. 

We practice open membership which means that any believer from another Christian community desiring membership in our church whose baptism is by a means other than immersion may join our church without re-baptism if their prior baptismal experience is meaningful for them as their public witness to faith in Christ and their belonging to the Body of Christ, the Church. For those who come making a first-time profession of faith in Christ we baptize by immersion.

We celebrate open communion, meaning that all believers regardless of membership are invited to share with us around the Lord’s table. It is the table of the Lord and the witness that we are united in Christ at the deepest possible level where denominational characteristics do not separate us. We are committed to working with other believers to serve a world in need. Where it is possible, we work with other Baptists and other Christians to serve the cause of Christ. We believe that both women and men are called by God to lead and serve. The Holy Spirit uses all of us in the work of Christ.

Organized by 20 members in Greenwood, Indiana, on July 17, 1839, under the leadership of Pastor Henry H. Hunter, the first of 37 pastors to serve this congregation to date. The members met outdoors until they could raise $500 in pledges to build the congregation’s first meeting house which was located just west of Madison Avenue on the south side of the road that is now Main Street. It took eight years to complete. Since there was no baptistery, believers were baptized in the creek behind the church building. That was the first of four buildings thus far that have been completed to accommodate the membership and ministry of this church.

In the 1850's, attendance waned until a revival was held in 1858, and membership increased from seven to over 100. Shortly thereafter, in 1860, just before the start of the Civil War, the church built a one-room brick structure on a plot of land at our former location (901 W. Main Street). The women sat on the west side of the aisle; the men on the east side.

The third building was dedicated in 1899, remodeled in 1930 and again in 1938 for the centennial celebration. A Sunday School class annex was added in 1958.

The fourth building, in the same location, was completed in 1971. At that time, the church bell, from the previous building (weighing 721 pounds) was given to a church in Haiti to call people to worship there. Some beams from the 1899 building were salvaged by a member, Clyde Winchester, and were used to construct a rugged cross.

On August 13, 2023, the Church had its first worship service in a newly constructed facility, located at the intersection of Averitt and Stop 18 in Greenwood, directly across the street from Greenwood Middle School. The service was led by Rev. Dr. Sean D. Holloway as Senior Pastor. Sandra Canizares as Director of Worship Arts, the Praise Team and the FBC Choir.