What kind of church is Richmond’s First Baptist?

Richmond’s First Baptist Church was started in 1780, and our building has been located at the corner of Monument Avenue and the Boulevard in Richmond’s historic Fan District since 1927. But our congregation is not entirely defined by our history and location… although they are keys to understanding who we are.

We are a diverse congregation where people from diverse cultural, ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds join together to put God’s love in action. Some have a lifetime of faith experiences. Others have become followers of Christ later in life. All find a home in our church with opportunities for spiritual growth, fellowship, and service. We have a large active preschool and children’s ministry and our youth are drawn from over 40 schools across the Richmond area. Our ministries include among others divorce recovery, a deaf congregation, outreach to the homeless & disadvantaged, and mission trip opportunities both internationally and closer to home. Many members of our congregation have answered God’s call to serve as missionaries in the U.S. and internationally. Our church is committed to the support of missions through going, giving and praying.

Our people celebrate and draw strength from our diversity, which finds its unity in the Lord Jesus Christ. We embrace an international perspective with more than ten different languages spoken among our members. Men and women serve as deacons and as ordained staff in leading services and preaching sermons.

We believe Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. He teaches us how to live an abundant life, full of joy in service and in fellowship with God. We strive to put the risen Christ at the center of everything we do. Our focus is to put God’s love in action.

We believe the Bible is the Word of God. Scripture reveals God’s plan for salvation through Jesus Christ. It teaches us how to live, serve and become His disciples. With Christ as our guide, example and interpreter of scriptures, we need no other mediator between us and God. Each day, through prayer and personal bible study, we strive to deepen our relationship with God and our understanding of His purpose for us.

We believe Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbolic celebrations of grace. Believer’s Baptism celebrates new life in Christ. The Lord’s Supper celebrates Christ’s sacrifice for us on the Cross.

We believe the Church is the body of Christ on earth. It is a fellowship of believers, not a building or institution. Each individual congregation is autonomous, yet part of the larger body of Christ with many expressions and locations. We view ourselves in cooperation with other churches of the Baptist denomination and the larger body of Christ, and cherish our oneness in Christ.

Our Relationships with other Baptist Groups

First Baptist Church relates to the River City Faith Network, the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and the Baptist World Alliance, and supports missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Our Purpose

First Baptist Church exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ through joyful worship, caring fellowship, spiritual nurture, faithful service, and compassionate outreach in the Richmond area and throughout the world. These purposes are expressed through the core ministries of Christian Worship, Christian Community, Christian Formation, Christian Compassion, and Christian Invitation.

Through joyful worship, First Baptist people strive to bring glory to God. As individuals, we experience the presence and work of God among us as we offer our lives to him in daily worship. As a congregation, we gather to praise God through music, to celebrate Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to pray, to hear the word of God, and to bring our tithes and offerings before the Lord. Our worship opportunities include traditional Sunday services as well as monthly contemplative and healing services, and special services for Lent and Advent. We welcome you to join us in connecting with God and experiencing his joy.

Through caring fellowship, First Baptist people respect and love one another as we are taught by Christ and the scriptures. We are all saved only by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, not by perfect behavior, perfect understanding, or perfect doctrine. Our focus on the centrality of Christ and not on doctrinal differences allows us to base our relationships on love and respect, whether they be with those with whom we agree, those with whom we disagree, those who believe in Christ or those who do not. We celebrate and draw strength from our diversity and find our unity in the Lord Jesus Christ. Fellowship opportunities include Sunday morning Bible study, Wednesday night supper and Connection Cafe, and small groups that meet throughout the week. We strive to be a warm, accepting family of faith and invite you to join our fellowship.

Through spiritual nurture, First Baptist people lovingly support each other as God forms in each believer the character of Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God shapes our thoughts, behaviors, and relationships with Himself and others through prayer, study of scripture, and fellowship as we nurture one another. Bible study groups, family activities, and discipleship classes help us discover our spiritual gifts and equip us for a life of service to others and witness for Christ. We invite you to grow with us in relationship with God and with each other.

Through faithful service, First Baptist people follow the example of Jesus Christ as we minister together and serve in His name. We are each created for a unique purpose. God has called and gifted every believer for ministry and servant leadership through faithful stewardship of our time, talents, and resources. From the shower ministry for the homeless to administrative teams of the church , to singing in the choir and more, there is a place of service for each of us. We invite you to become servant leaders by developing and using your spiritual gifts in ministry and service to God and others.

Through compassionate outreach, First Baptist people seek to fulfill Jesus’ command to “go into all the world and make disciples.” Our Lord has chosen local churches such as ours to fulfill His work of compassionate outreach and evangelism. We understand we are accountable to Him in following this command. Our passion is to see people come to know and worship God in Jesus Christ here in Richmond and throughout the world. We do not seek to fulfill this commitment alone but in cooperation with others of like mind. Programs such as our food pantry and outreach to university students help to meet the needs of our urban community. We offer mission education for children and adults, and partnership mission trips within the United States and overseas. We provide prayer and financial support for career missionaries. We invite you to be a part of our many mission opportunities, those that fulfill His command in international outreach as well as those in our community, state and country.

Our Journey

On a June evening in 1780, Joshua Morris conducted a prayer meeting in the home of John Franklin on Union Hill. The meeting took place in the midst of the Revolutionary War, two full years before Richmond incorporated as a city. Richmond Baptist Church evolved from that group of worshipers. It would later become First Baptist Church, the first Baptist church constituted in a Virginia city and one of the first churches organized in Richmond.

Our church has a long history of involvement in missions. In 1813 the women of the church formed the Female Missionary Society, the first such in Virginia and the second in the South. We were the first church to send our own members as missionaries to Africa. Deacon William Crane started a school for slaves in 1812 and two of his students, Lott Carey and Collin Teague, purchased their freedom and gave themselves to African missions, sailing to Liberia in 1821. A number of other churches in the Richmond area trace their origins back to this church.

First Baptist Church has been at the present location on the corner of Monument Avenue and the Boulevard in Richmond’s historic Fan District since 1928. Although we are an urban church, our diverse congregation is drawn from the greater Richmond metropolitan area with members from the city and all of the surrounding counties. We remain committed to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and ministry in the city of Richmond and throughout the world. Our present is as vibrant as our past.

Read more about our history…

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FBC exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ through joyful worship, caring fellowship, spiritual nurture,
faithful service & compassionate outreach in the Richmond area and throughout the world.
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