Church History


The History Committee of First Baptist Church, Weatherford would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all who came before us in documenting and preserving the storied history of our church. What has been a constant throughout the years has been the wonderful people of this church whose shoulders we stand on today. As we continue to commit to abiding in Christ, proclaiming the gospel, building the church, and making disciples, may we never forget those who paved the way for us as we seek to further the Kingdom of God at FBC Weatherford and beyond.

A special thanks to the following historians who have kept the history of our church alive:
Dr. Leroy Thomas
Dr. Dora Ann Stewart
G.K Harris
W.R. Fulton
Rev. Geo. A. Goss
Rev. W.E. Lowe
Rev. William A. Lutker
George Atkins
Rev. Larry Wileman
Jack Shelton

Chuck Cole
Richard Phillips
Lee Ann Nail
Geneva Koch
Phillys Stevenson
Denise Hamburger
Pat Lightfoot
Brennan King
Lisa Mast
Earl Stephenson

A History of First Baptist Church, Weatherford

Banding Together (1899 - 1901)

Near the turn of the century, in 1899, a group of Baptists began meeting on the second floor of Algram Hall, a building located in downtown  frontier Weatherford. After the turn of the century, services began being housed in a one-room schoolhouse at the corner of Seventh and West Tom Stafford. By 1901, this group of determined Baptists constructed a building on the plot where Trinity Baptist Church once stood. The tenacity and determination of these individuals who had come together to form what would become First Baptist Church shone through as they faced adversity during the tumultuous times of the early 1900s. It wasn't until later in 1901 that another move was planned, and the existing structure was moved to a new location on the corner of Custer and Franklin. It was at this time that the church received its first charter.

Fun Fact: The pastor's salary circa 1901 was around $25.00 a month.

Growth and Expansion (1902 - 1939)

As the church began to show signs of growth, the existing structure would no longer be adequate, and an extension was added in 1916. This expansion of the church would measure 30 ft by 30 ft, and was attached to the north side of the existing church building. As God continued to provide for the church, a planned excavation took place in the fall of 1921, and a basement was added to the church building. This addition was paid for through the painstaking service of the church members, many giving every spare penny available in order to provide additional physical growth to a growing body of believers. The church experienced a time of financial hardship along with several pastors coming and going throughout the 1910s, 20s, and early 30s. It was at this time that the church organized a group to cultivate a cotton crop on 30 acres of land north of town. This cotton crop, along with a debt paying campaign, helped the church financially. Stability finally came around 1937 as  the church  began decreasing indebtedness and seeking to expand once again by erecting a new building. Church members did their part once again in helping finance construction that began in September of 1938 and was completed by June of 1939, when the first service was held in the new building.

Fun Fact: You could have seen a large portion of our church body out in the cotton fields working to raise funds during this era!

Evangelism and Prosperity (1940 - 1949)

During the 40s, the church saw growth in many ways, most prominently in evangelism and discipleship. In March of 1944 the new building was dedicated, and there was a note-burning ceremony to celebrate the financial burden of new construction being lifted. During a time where many suffered from financial hardship due to wartime struggle, the church sought to reach as many as they could to share the gospel, along with showing the kindness of Jesus through helping the sick, caring for the elderly, and devoting church resources to furthering outreach in the community. Throughout this period, the church sought to expand the scope of mission opportunities worldwide, seeking to share physical resources, as well as spiritual enrichment by sharing the gospel. However, with expansion always on the horizon, the church continued to visualize how the local church could bring more in the community within the walls of the church building comfortably and in a sustainable manner. Making disciples, as it had been since the beginning, was the goal.

Fun Fact: The cost of the education building in 1950 ($46,488) would equate to $598,607 today.

Physical and Spiritual Growth (1950 - 1953)

As has been our tradition for over 100 years, our church seeks to expand both the structural aspects of our church, as well as the spiritual, and the early 50s were no different. Part of seeking to make disciples is providing a space for the congregation to openly and freely participate in corporate worship. After the construction of the new Education Building, the auditorium was extended to provide adequate seating for the ever-increasing practical needs of the church. Through pain, sacrifice, trust in the Lord, and a little  elbow grease, our church was rewarded with spiritual growth that was a blessing beyond comprehension. This growth also included the construction of a cabin at Falls Creek Conference Center, a place where countless members of First Baptist Church have been led to Christ by the grace of God and the commitment of all involved.

Fun Fact: The Falls Creek cabin payment plan included several members pulling cotton to help raise money to supplement payment of the debt.

Adversity Brings Unity (1954 - 1965)

Throughout unprecedented periods of growth and spiritual blessings, our church also faced unrelenting periods of adversity. When personal attacks or threats to our church's unity have occurred, the vision that began all those years ago in 1899 have remained consistent. Through conviction, prayer, and relying on the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the people of First Baptist Church banded together as they had at the turn of the century in that upper room in frontier Weatherford. Trusting in the Lord above all else, and seeking to preach the gospel as a continued beacon of hope in the community became the primary focus, and our church endured. Not only did we endure, but we began again to thrive, as planned expansions and additions were scheduled and executed throughout the late 1950s and  early 1960s. The ranks of our church staff swelled to include full-time ministers of music, youth, and education, as well as secretarial staffing. An emphasis on physical growth continued into the 60s, and the auditorium was expanded from a capacity of 125 to 140 between 1963-1964. Central heat and air, renovations to the basement area, and relocation of the BSU building were all projects that came to fruition as First Baptist Church continued to prosper.

Fun Fact: The church went to two services to accommodate for increased attendance in 1963, before the expansion of the auditorium.

A New Frontier (1964 - 1973)

The bridge between the 60s and 70s brought about more changes to the existing structure of the church in the form of a balcony in the auditorium. Standing room only was a wonderful problem to have in our church, and First Baptist Church faced this by increasing giving to fit this specific need. The church also branched out into the world of media with a short-lived television ministry where services were broadcast to the local cable TV station. Perhaps one of the most significant developments of this time in our church was the construction of a modernized cabin at Falls Creek. Affectionately named the "Eagle's Nest" by our cohort of campers for decades, this cabin served FBCW well until it was sold to Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, OK in 2023. Though First Baptist Church had been standing on the promises at the corner of Custer and Franklin for 75 years to that point, changes were on the horizon that would forever change the landscape of the church.

Fun Fact: In an act of unity in Christ, the Falls Creek cabin was sold for $1.00 to Hilltop Baptist Church in 2023.

"Who We Are and Why We're Here" (1974 - 1979)

With Psalm 127:1 serving as a rallying cry, First Baptist Church began an undertaking unlike any it had seen thus far. From October of 1974 to February 1978, our church would seek to construct a totally new building on the 8.9-acre plot of land on Davis Road where we are currently located. One word that was a constant during construction was "together." The goal of this new building was to maintain the same mindset put forth in 1899:  band together to further Christ, and Christ alone. "Together We Build" banquets and fundraising campaigns accounted for a massive amount of giving to fund the new church building, and construction was completed in early 1978. The night before the first church service in the new building, a prayer vigil was held at the old location at Custer and Franklin. Members reminisced on past events, services, marriages, dedications, funerals, and countless salvations that had occurred there. The following morning, the congregation met in the parking lot on Franklin a final time and drove in a caravan to their new home. The church is not a building, but that old church was special. The forefront of the church's existence had been Jesus, and that would carry over to 1510 E Davis Ave.

Fun Fact: The church raised over $1,000,000 in pledges at their "Together We Build" banquets throughout the construction of the new building.

Divergence of Direction (1980 - 1987)

The 80s began with record growth in the life of our church. Baptisms, Sunday School attendance, and giving were hitting all-time highs. Construction began on a brand new Family Life Center.  All seemed well, but there was a growing concern regarding the direction of the church, and discord began to rear its ugly head. Issues regarding church beliefs, worship style, and focus started causing dissension within the ranks of the congregation,. By the mid 80s, a noticeable split was taking place in the life of our church. Business meetings were volatile. Services were divided. A church that banded together and overcome challenge after challenge was on the brink of collapse. By 1987, the record numbers seen at the onset of the decade had stagnated, and were beginning a consistent drop, and over the next ten months, over 100 members of First Baptist Church no longer called FBC their church home. Our church was at a major crossroads, and the remaining members sought for the guidance of the Lord in how to weather this tumultuous time. God is faithful, and He brought our church through this difficult time, and the end of the 80s saw a change in church direction that would once again place our focus firmly on the Cross of Calvary, the Bible, and seeking to make disciples.

Fun Fact: In February of 1983, the church purchased an organ for a whopping $75,000!

Back to Basics (1988 - 1991)

The end of the 80s brought about an end to what was an era of division and disdain in the life of First Baptist Church. A refocusing period occurred where the Bible, the significance of Christ, and mission-oriented work once again became the emphasis for our church. Mission work in Argentina, Belize, Chicago, San Antonio, Rio Grand Valley, Columbus, and many other areas was undertaken by our church's various youth and adult mission teams. In April of 1989, First Baptist Church celebrated its 90th year, complete with a dedication service for the new Allen organ the church had purchased, and the sale of anniversary cookbooks that included some outstanding recipes from our church members. As an economic recession took hold at the turn of the decade, FBC Weatherford faced a difficult financial situation, and many difficult and lengthy discussions were held regarding the church budget going forward. Staff changes and renewed vigor in improving the church's financial situation firmly placed a cap on the ups and downs of the 1980s and brought our church into a new era of growth and development.

Fun Fact: Between 1980 - 1989, FBC Weatherford took part in over 16 mission trips!

A Budgetary Battle (1992 - 1995)

The early years of the 90s saw the church battling the recession with fervor, while still maintaining the goal of reaching the lost and making disciples. Campaigns to increase giving aided the church in shouldering the budgetary burden, and even a remodel of the church was planned. Dubbed the "Nehemiah Project," the plan to remodel and renovate the church was presented by the Long Range Planning Committee with an estimated cost of $351,000. The church saw this as an opportunity to "scale the wall" and increase the relevance and staying power of the church in a more modern era.

Fun Fact: Signs of the Nehemiah Project are still evident in the current church building.

Making A Statement (1996 - 2000)

As the church inched closer to the 21st-century, a clear focus began to take shape. First Baptist Church was to have a concise mission statement from which to base future decision making. A vision team was selected, and the church began planning for the future. Much like the "Four Pillars" of present-day FBC Weatherford help guide our church, FBC in the late 90s sought a four-pronged approach to ministry. These four functions centered around experiencing God, discipleship, evangelism, and fellowship. In a time of renewed energy and vitality, First Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary in April of 1999. What had begun all those years ago was once again facing the turn of the century with unity, determination, and trust in the Lord.

Fun Fact: May of 1998 saw the beginning of the popular classic Christmas program, "The Living Christmas Tree."

Practical Stability (2001 - 2020)

As First Baptist Church faced the changes of doing church in a new millennium, our people faced challenges head on and with fervor. A century's worth of grit, determination, and unity would be, along with the promises of God, what our church stood on as they braced for the changing times. Through growing needs for space, different approaches to service times and structures were implemented on an experimental basis, and in late Summer 2005 the church went to two identical services and two Sunday School hours that ran concurrently, which is the schedule that has held steady to this day. As always, our people were steadfast in their support of our church as we tried new things and sought new strategies for reaching the lost and making disciples. Also in 2005, the church began broadcasting services to the local radio station during the noon time slot. This allowed an extended web of coverage for reaching others across the state. During the first two decades of the 2000s, the church expanded in nearly every way, including structural renovations and expansions. Additions to the music and children's departments, as well as the construction of a bus barn and pavilion were completed during this time. Thanks to the generosity of our congregation, all of this was done with little to no debt accrued. Other additions to the structure of the church was the addition of an annual baptism service at Crowder Lake, just south of Weatherford. This tradition is still a mainstay in our church, with hundreds publicly sharing the news of  their salvation within the waters of Crowder Lake. A church that had experienced ups and downs throughout 100 years of existence was about to face challenges never before seen in the modern age.

Fun Fact: During this era of FBCW, the church planted The Well Church in Mustang, OK. The Well is thriving to this day!

Unprecedented Times (2020 - 2024)

In  2020, the world stopped. A global pandemic had taken hold, and the task of navigating such a time became a top priority. Businesses were closed, people stayed home, and houses of worship went silent. First Baptist Church was no exception. On March 17, 2020, FBC Weatherford formally ceased in-person worship gatherings and began 100% virtual services. This would last until our final virtual service on May 10. Through God's provision and grace, the church began meeting in person the following Sunday. Precautions were still taken, and many still became ill. Many of the church staff resigned. The toll of the pandemic was staggering, but throughout all of the darkness that befell our church and our world, the sovereignty of God was ever-present, and His church endured. Over the last four years, our church has begun partnerships with church plants in West Jordan, Utah, and Revuca, Slovakia. Attendance has reached pre-pandemic levels once again. We have fully renovated and modernized the Family Life Center. Giving is at an historic high. The people of First Baptist Church are continuing to put the mission of Jesus foremost in their goals...without apology...without exception. As FBC Weatherford approaches 125 years of continued history, the four pillars that serve as the church's current mission statement ring true today just as loudly as they did in 1899: Abide in Christ, proclaim the gospel, build the church, and go make disciples.

Fun Fact: Church staff traveled all over Oklahoma to film virtual services during the pandemic.