First Baptist Church of Springfield
Friday, July 21, 2017
Sharing Hope Through the Love of God

History

Constituted January 16, 1848

The Springfield Baptist Church was founded on January 16, 1848 with five members.  The first pastor was G. S. Jackson.  The first church building was located on lot 60, which is reported to be on Jack’s Branch near the present water tank of the city of Springfield.  On December 1, 1870 a one-acre lot (#19) was purchased by the trustees of the Springfield Baptist Church for the erection of a church building. This building was used until the completion of the third church building.  The 1870 church was then moved to a lot on the west side of where Walt’s Furniture is now located.  This building was renovated and used as a home until it burned in the late 1940’s.

     The third church building was located on lot #19.  This building continued to serve as the sanctuary of the Springfield Baptist Church. In 1948, the church building was moved from the northwest corner to the center of the lot and an educational annex was added.  The second educational building was a two-story structure including a social hall, kitchen, and Sunday School rooms.  This was completed in 1963.

     From 1848 until 1925, the church held preaching services monthly on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  A missionary minister traveled to Springfield to preach the sermons.  The first resident pastor was Reverend. Lon L. Day. Services were increased to twice a month, with Sunday morning and evening services.  Prayer meeting was held weekly on Wednesday evenings.  This practice was continued until Williams N. Kitchens was called as pastor in 1947.  He became our first full-time pastor.

      The Sunday School was started prior to 1885 with Mr. Tom Carr as the first Sunday School Superintendent.  The Women’s Missionary Society was formed in 1891 with Mrs. John L. Hinely (Addie Reiser Hinely) as its first president.  The department is now called the   Women’s Missionary Union.  The Brotherhood was a missionary program for men and was started much later.

     Through the first hundred years (1848-1948) the Springfield Baptist Church grew from five members in 1848 to 303 in 1948 when the church employed its first full-time pastor.  In the next fifty one years, the church has grown to 976 today.

     In April 1988, the Springfield Baptist Church voted to change its name to the First Baptist Church of Springfield, adopted a new constitution, and revised its by-laws.

    In September 1991, after much thoughtful study and prayer, the church voted to build a new church building on the site known as Kieffer Hill.  Groundbreaking services were held July 24, 1994 for the new worship center. In June of 1995, the Effingham County Commissioners agreed to buy our former facility.  After we vacated the property in August, the County began renovating our former facility.  It is now known as the Effingham County Administrative Complex, and serves the citizens of Effingham as a beautiful and historical governmental center and meeting place.  “Miracle Sunday” was held on  August 13, 1995, when we held our first service in our new building.  

     In August of 1996 our church began the Weekday Education Ministry to   more effectively fulfill our mission of sharing God’s love with children and families throughout our county.

     Many things have changed throughout the history of our church, but the essentials remain the same: living through our personal relationships with Jesus Christ, caring for one another, and sharing the truth of God’s love with people who do not yet know Him.  As we keep this as our foundation, God will empower us to do great things for His Kingdom in the years ahead.  

    

 

      Ministry through music has always been an important part of our church services.  The first piano was  purchased during Rev. Day’s pastorate to replace the original pump organ.  An electric  organ was purchased in 1960, and was replaced by a new electronic organ in 1989.  A beautiful grand piano was purchased in 1992.

     Our church is abundantly blessed with both vocal and instrumental talent.  Mrs. Evelyn Tebeau  has served with faithful dedication as our organist for over 50 years.  Under the leadership of Mrs. Ava Hartzog, Music Director for over 35 years, the choir continues to be a tremendous asset to our church.

     Through the first hundred years (1848-1948) the Springfield Baptist Church  grew from five members in 1848 to 303 in 1948 when the church employed its first full-time pastor.  In the next fifty years, The Springfield Baptist church grew to 708 in 1998.

     In April 1988, the Springfield Baptist Church voted to change its name to the First Baptist Church of Springfield, adopted a new constitution, and revised its by-laws.

     In September 1991, after much thoughtful study and prayer, the church voted to build a new church building on the site known as Keiffer Hill.  Groundbreaking  services were held July 24, 1994 for the new worship center.

     In June of 1995, the Effingham County Commissioners agreed to buy our former facility.  After we vacated the property in August, the County began renovating our former facility.  It is now known as the Effingham County Administrative Complex, and serves the citizens of Effingham as a beautiful and historical governmental center and meeting place.

     On August 13, 1995, we held our first service in our new building.  This was truly ‘’Miracle Sunday’’.  In addition to having over 500 people present, we raised over $70,000 through our ‘‘Miracle Sunday Offering’’, which was applied to the debt on our new facility.  On November 19, 1995, we dedicated our new building.  Three of our former pastors and wives returned to lead us on this special day and to help us to celebrate God’s blessings upon us.  They were Rev. and Mrs. Ralph Brunson, Rev. and Mrs. Carl Milton, and Rev. and Mrs. John Waller.

     Since our first service, we have celebrated Homecoming Day each year on the second Sunday of August.  A special part of our Homecoming celebration has been the Homecoming Offering that has been used to help retire the debt on our new facilities.  Each year the Lord has enabled us to raise enough money to reduce our debt by 1 ½ to 2 years.

     On January 18, 1998 the church celebrated its 150th Anniversary.  Rev. Carl Milton delivered the sermon and various testimonies and dramas were delivered in the celebration of our church’s milestone.  State Representative Ann R. Purcell presented a resolution from the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.

     One very important area of expansion in our church since our relocation has been the growth of our church staff.  In 1995, Darren Thomas graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and returned to our church, the home of his childhood, as Minister of Youth and Education on December 27th.  He was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel in our church on January 14, 1996, with Dr. Howard Ethington, interim pastor of our church in 1989, returning to preach the ordination service.

      Also, in the spring of 1998 our church voted to hire someone to serve as our Summer Children’s Worker to assistant our Children’s Committee in their ministries to children.  In May of 1998 Carlett Fulcher agreed to accept this ministry position, and has served as our Summer Children’s Worker for the summers of 1998 and 1999.

      In March of 1998 we also decided to begin a search for a full time Minister of Youth and make Darren Thomas our full-time Minister of Education.  The reason for this decision was due to the growth of our church and the need for an additional staff member.  In October of 1998 we as a church called John H. Brothers, Jr., who at that time was serving in Prentiss, Mississippi, to be our full-time Minister to Students.

      Another important ministry that our church has begun since our relocation is our Weekday Education Ministry.  In August of 1996 our church began this ministry in order to more effectively fulfill our mission of sharing God’s love with children and families throughout our county.  This program started with 37 children enrolled, and more than doubled by the end of the first year.  The first Pre-Kindergarten graduation service was held on May 21, 1997.  Currently our Weekday Education Ministry is doing well and maintains an enrollment of approximately 75.

     Another very significant happening over the last few years has been the sending out of missionaries from our church to serve on the foreign mission field.  1) In 1994, Tina Kay (Boyles) Bailey, completed her training at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  In 1996, she and her husband Jonathan left to serve as missionaries in Southeast Asia through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  The Baileys will be back in the United States this fall.  2) In August of 1997, Brian Rutland left for East Asia where he has served as a Journeyman missionary through the International Mission Board.  Brian returned to the United States in July of 99, but he will be returning to the foreign mission field in August of 99 as a two-year career missionary through the International Mission Board. 3) In June of 1998, Alan (“Woody”) Ulmer, and his wife, Margaret, were commissioned by the International Mission Board as career missionaries to Taiwan.  They and their three sons are currently serving a three-year term of service.  As the church family of Tina Kay, Brian, and “Woody”, we need to continue to actively stand behind them through prayer and other means of Christian support.    

     Since our relocation, our church has grown from an average Sunday School attendance of 214 in 1995, to 310 in 1999.  Our average worship attendance has also increased from 249 in 1995, to 388 in 1999.  Currently we are constructing a new facility that will provide several additional classrooms and a large activity area.  In order to continue reaching people with the Gospel, our church body has also decided to begin dual Sunday Schools by the end of the year 2000 in order to continue to provide for our growing educational space needs.

     Many things are changing in the life of our church, but the essentials remain the same: living through our personal relationships with Jesus Christ, caring for one another, and sharing the truth of God’s love with people who do not yet know Him.  As we keep this as our foundation, God will empower us to do great things for His Kingdom in the years ahead.

     Yes, we are on our way advancing toward our goal of making Christ known to the world through our education and missions programs.  As we begin this fifth year at our new site and prepare for the twenty-first century, we eagerly look forward to serving the Lord by striving to involve all of our members in the service of sharing Christ’s love.

 

 

Summary of the History of

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SPRINGFIELD

 

    The Springfield Baptist Church was founded on January 16, 1848 with five members.  The first pastor was G. S. Jackson.  The first church building was located on lot 60, which is reported to be on Jack’s Branch near the present water tank of the city of Springfield.  On December 1, 1870 a one-acre lot (#19) was purchased by the trustees of the Springfield Baptist Church for the erection of a church building. This building was used until the completion of the third church building.  The 1870 church was then moved to a lot on the west side of where Walt’s Furniture is now located.  This building was renovated and used as a home until it burned in the late 1940’s.

     The third church building was located on lot #19.  This building continued to serve as the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Springfield.  In 1948, the church building was moved from the northwest corner to the center of the lot and an educational annex was added.  The annex provided ten Sunday School rooms and a kitchen.  The second educational building was a two-story structure including a social hall, kitchen, and Sunday School rooms.  This was completed in 1963.

     From 1848 until 1925, the church held preaching services monthly on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  A missionary minister traveled to Springfield to preach the sermons. 

     The first resident pastor was Reverend. Lon L. Day.    Services were increased to twice a month, with Sunday morning and evening services.  Prayer meeting was held weekly on Wednesday evenings.  This practice was continued until Williams N. Kitchens was called as pastor in 1947.  He became our first full-time pastor.

     The Sunday School was started prior to 1885 with Mr. Tom Carr as the first Sunday School Superintendent.  The Women’s Missionary Society was formed in 1891 with Mrs. John L. Hinely (Addie Reiser Hinely) as its first president.  The department is now called the Women’s Missionary Union.  The Brotherhood was a missionary program for men and was started much later.