On May 14, 1883 seven concerned people under the leadership of T.S. Powell, pastor of Bunker Hill Church, met at the Columbia, MS. courthouse for the express purpose of organizing themselves into a Baptist church. These Charter members – Dr. & Mrs. M.L. Banks, Mr. & Mrs. W.C. Mobley, W.R. Fortenberry, J.W. Holleman, and Mrs. E. Finn (mother of Mrs. Banks) felt this to be an important step for the cause of Christ and for their own spiritual well being.
From 1883 – 1890 this small group, which was steadily increasing, met for worship in the courthouse, Masonic Hall, or the newly constructed Methodist Church, and they adopted as their motto “He will be our guide.”
When the church paused in 1913 to take a look at themselves and their accomplishments so that these could be recorded in a church leadership of its early pastors – T.S. Powell, J.G. Chastain, F.D. Baars, James N. Walker, Rollard W. Hall, T.E. Robinson, J.R. Carter, J.P. Culpepper, W.H. Willams, J.T. Dale, W.A. Hewitt, Bryan Simmons, S.A. Wilkinson, J.B. Quin, and W.E. Farr-they could point with pride to certain memorable dates:
1890 – Church building erected near cemetery on lot donated by General T.S. Ford.
1891 – Church dedicated with B.D. Grey preaching the sermon.
1898 – Parsonage built on High School Avenue lot purchased from G.H. Rankin
1900 – Pastor called for half time instead of one fourth.
1903 – Additions were made to the church.
1904 – Pastor called for full time.
1907 – Parsonage sold and new parsonage built on corner of Dale Street and High School Avenue on lot purchased from Dr. T.B. Ford.
1908 – Balcony placed on church building to accommodate increase in Sunday School.
1909 – South Mississippi Baptist Sunday School Convention held in Columbia Church.
1910 – Additional Sunday School rooms built.
1912 – Sunday School receive A-1 award: a movement launched in February to erect a new building resulted in a completed structure in November.
September 1912 – September 1913 Unprecedented growth when more than 400 names were added to the roll.
November 12, 1913 – Baptist State Convention was held in Columbia Church.
During the next several years 1915-1936 under the capable leadership of several pastors – Zeno Wall, W. M. Bostic, T.W. Holcomb, W. R. Cooper, Wayne Alliston, J.M. Metts, H.W. Ellis, and L.B. Golden – the church continued to grow and to demonstrate its interest in Missions.
In the early 20's an office on Main Street was opened as the church office with Miss Jennie Watts as the full time secretary, a position she held for more than ten years. Also in this office was the first church library in the state of Mississippi.
The parsonage was moved in 1924 from High School Avenue by horsepower across an open field to its present location on Ford Street.
About 1927 a Sunbeam Band was formed in South Columbia by the Secretary of the church with its meeting being held in the home of Brother J.O. Chappel. In 1931 a committee was formed to investigate the possibility of a Mission in South Columbia. The Mission became a regular church in 1956.
Between 1931 and 1934 a Sunday School group met in the old Double Cola Plant and the Holly Piner home. By 1934 the group had grown to such an extent that a committee was selected to secure a site for a mission church.
In 1935 the W.M.U. as a part of community missions held prayer meetings in different homes in the North Columbia Community. From this beginning the North Columbia Baptist Church was formed. During this time the church increased its contributions 5% above what it had ever given.
From 1937 – 1950 the church was led by two brothers F.K. and James Horton. Under their leadership the church began to set aside a fund for the building of a much needed annex. The church also became interested in forming another Baptist Church in Columbia. Permission was granted to the newly organized Calvary Baptist Church to meet in a building belonging to First Baptist. Later in 1956 the property was deeded to Calvary.
A span of eight years covered the pastorates of Charles F. Treadway, A.L. Gatewood, and J.R. Davis. During this time the church made definite progress in increased membership, in an effective visitation program, and in making plans toward building a new house of worship with the 5th Sunday offering being set aside for the building fund.
J.R. Davis titled his words to the church family in the weekly reminder “Together We Build”, and together they did, but not until several years later under the leadership of Howard Aultman who served as pastor from 1958 – 1976. It was during his pastorate that the church led the state in baptisms.
1961 – New church building was built;
1965 – new parsonage constructed;
1969 – Full payment of church building;
1970 – New pipe organ installed;
1971 – church bus purchased;
1971 – Minister of Education and Minister of Music hired. Church building was air conditioned.
1976 – Dr. J. Roy McComb began his leadership as pastor of the church.
1977 – Wayne Ward called as Minister of Education. Served until 2006.
1977 – Bernie Parker called as Minister of Music. Served until 2006.
1979 – Don Lum called as Minister of Youth. Served until 1997.
1986 – Fire in the building destroyed education building, church offices, music suite and music library.
1989 – Family Activity and Gym built.
1993 – Dr. Wayne VanHorn called as Pastor. Served until 2005.
1995 – Sanctuary remodeled
1998 – CJ Johnson called as Minister of Youth. Served until 2011.
2001 – Jennifer Baker called as Preschool/Children Ministry. Currently serving.
June, 2006 – Tom Thurman called to minister to our Senior Adults. Currently serving.
At the close of 2006 our church giving totaled $1,264,536.04.
April 1, 2007 - Dr. Bryant Barnes begins service as pastor.
May 4, 2008 - FBC celebrates 125 years of ministry with a month long celebration.
June, 2008 - O.J. Seals begins service as Minister of Education.
April, 2009 - Hugh Plunkett called to serve at Minister of Music. Currently serving.
October, 2010 - Mary Herrington called to serve as Associate Minister for Church Care. Currently serving.
July, 2011 - Shannon Willis called to serve as Interim Youth Minister. Currently serving.