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
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 Richmond Baptist Association, the Baptist
General Association of Virginia, and the Baptist World Alliance, and supports
missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist
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
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.
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
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…