To exalt the Heavenly Father through worship and praise,
To encourage one another in mutual love,
To equip believers to live the power of the Holy Spirit,
To engage in ministries, which address human needs, and,
To evangelize seekers in the name of Christ, the Savior.
What We Believe:
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter.
There is one and only one living and true God. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith of Jesus Christ.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is autonomous local congregation of baptized believers associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel and seeking to extend the gospel to the end of the earth. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Baptism & The Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and resurrection to walk in the newness of like in Christ Jesus. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members memorialize the death if the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week (Sunday) is the Lord’s Day. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. The righteous will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Evangelism & Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations, to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness under girded by both a Christian lifestyle and other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
All the treasures of knowledge and wisdom dwell in Jesus Christ. Sound learning therefore is a part of our Christian heritage. Teaching within the Kingdom of Christ is necessary to the cause of missions and general benevolence. There should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have, we owe to Him. Christians have a responsibility to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions.
Christ’s people should organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great mission of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations.
The Christian & The Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality.
Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. Children, from the moment conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
Interested in Membership?
When a person accepts the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, they become a member of the world-wide body of Christ. However, we are called in scripture to become a part of the local body of Christ as well. Local church membership is special and vital to the healthy walk of a believer. Unlike membership in a civic organization or club, it isn’t about what we receive, but rather about how we serve!
As a member of the local church, we have the responsibility to:
- ·Be a source of unity within the church. We understand that no one in the church is perfect, so as a member we work to uplift and support each other. This means that we avoid gossip and dissention. Instead, we pray for, encourage, and act in each other’s lives to both help in weakness and to stir one another up to greater works in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- ·Lead our families to be good members of the church as well. As a family, we pray for our church, we worship together with the church, and we serve together in the church.
- ·Set aside our own preferences and desires. We join the church to serve others and to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is the bride of Christ and he loves her so much that he gave his life for her. Our desire, as the church, should be for Him. Sometimes, we may do something as a whole that isn’t to our own person preference, but that’s ok, we’re working to reach the world for Jesus.
- ·Study and teach God’s Word. In order to know God fully, we must seek him in his revealed word. It is through his word (the bible) that we learn about him and how he relates to us. And, it is through his word that we reveal him to others.
- ·Share Jesus with others. Jesus came that the world might be saved through him. He died on the cross, was buried in the ground, and rose again to secure for us a new heart, new life, and new record. This is not a gift that we hoard. Rather, it is a gift to be shared as much as possible. This means we build relationships with people who aren’t Christians, we know and share our faith, and, when a person surrenders to Jesus, we teach them how to live like Christ.
- ·Be good stewards. God gives a great deal to his believers and we’re called to be good stewards of all that he has given us. Financially, we support the church through our tithes and offerings. It is through these gifts to the church that ministry is possible. We also strive to be good stewards of our money at home. The first is through our worship of him. This is our upreach. It is in time of personal devotion, study, and prayer as well as our time of coming together as a church to worship through our songs.
- The second is through our service to the body of Christ. This is our inreach. This ministry takes many forms from teaching, grief support, care ministries, ministries for women, men, teens, and children, care for those who are infirm or shut in, and practical discipleship that teaches us how to better live in our world.
- The third is through our service to the community and world. This is our outreach. This is when we go outside of the church to reach those who do not know Jesus Christ. This takes the form of ministries to meet needs in our community, trips both into the larger part of our country as well as outside of our country to share the gospel and meet needs, and to develop relationships with those who do not know Christ and to share him with them. In this way, we can be a blessing to our community.
What do you receive?
You receive the chance to serve Christ by working beside others who are equally dedicated to serving him. You will be surrounded by men and women who, while broken, are being mended in Christ. You will be surrounded by support, prayer, love, and encouragement. And, we will provide opportunities for you to serve.
How do I join First Baptist of Bluefield?
We want to serve alongside of you as a member of First Baptist Church and it’s easy to join! We accept members through the following ways.
- ·Faith and baptism: If you surrender to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and are baptized through immersion, then you are welcome to join the church.
- ·Transfer from another church: If you have already accepted Jesus as your savior and have been baptized through immersion, then you may transfer your membership to our church.
In 1889 the First Baptist Church of Bluefield was organized. The organizational meeting was held in an unfinished store room at the corner of Princeton Avenue and Russell Street, later known as Samuel’s Store. This historic meeting was held in April, 1889, and was attended by the following members of Baptist churches then living in Bluefield:
Mr. and Mrs. A. Loehr
Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Elliott
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Surface
Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Samuels
Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Payne
Mr. O. C. Jenkins
Mr. Harvey Wilson
Mr. W. C. Easley
At that time the Reverend M. A. Wilson was traveling this new country, preaching and working as a missionary of the Baptist State Mission Board of Virginia. Believing Bluefield to be a strategic point and one from which Baptist influence could be disseminated throughout the region round about, he assembled that small group of Baptists in that memorable initial meeting in the unfinished store. The church was built in the year 1890 on the site of the present Central Baptist Church.
The first day of January, 1893, the Reverend W. A. Pearson came to us from South Carolina where he had been called from his native Virginia. Brother Pearson’s talents were greatly needed at this period of the First Baptist Church of Bluefield. He built well and wisely upon the foundation that was laid. Brother Pearson offered his resignation as our pastor on July 17, 1897, and shortly thereafter his long and useful pastorate came to a close.
W.W. Hamilton, who was then at Radford, accepted the call and on the first of January, 1898, became our pastor. His custom, as he often said, was to study books in the morning and faces in the afternoon.
On the first day of May, 1900, Rev. P. A. Anthony was duly installed as pastor of our church. During his ministry we became the church giving more to missions than any other church within the bounds of the General Association. Brother Anthony’s pastorate closed on Novermber 1, 1903.
Rev. S. R. Thompson became our pastor on the first day of January, 1904. Probably the most prominent feature of his work was in connection with the build of our new church. Brother Thompson resigned in the spring of 1910 on account of illness.
We extended a call to the Rev. Harry S. Mabe and in due time, and to our delight, it was accepted. He entered upon his work here in June, 1910, and was our pastor until October, 1918.
A unanimous call was extended to Rev. J. Taylor Stinson, and he became our pastor on February 1, 1919. Our church had large growth under Dr. Stinson’s pastorate, and we considered that we were making a great sacrifice when we let Bluefield College take him as its president. At first he gave half time to the college and continued as pastor of our church. During that period we employed Mr. Jack Neilson, a brilliant young preacher, as assistant pastor. On March 1, 1930, Dr. Stinson resigned as our pastor.
Our next pastor, The Rev. T. E. Peters, came to us on September 1, 1930. Dr. Peters did a fine work with his radio audience. We had a good increase in membership each year during his pastorate which closed in November, 1943.
The church during these years made notable contributions to the Baptist cause. In the year 1899 there was established what was then known as Calvary Mission. Reverend J. H. Franklin was employed to take charge of it. Our church also helped in the organization and construction of the church at Ceres. Calvary, College Avenue and Ceres are daughters of the First Baptist Church. We are very proud of our association with these churches.
At a business meeting of the church held on February 27, 1944, a unanimous call was extended to Reverend Cecil V. Cook, Jr., who was then pastor of the Napoleon Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans. Brother Cook became our pastor on April 16, 1944. Reverend Cook soon realized our need for larger building accommodations, and was vigorous in his effort to supply that need. After some years of prayerful study, it was decided that the church should move to a new location where adequate space would allow for adequate facilities. Choice property was secured on Augusta Street, and additional adjoining property has been purchased on College Avenue. On Mother’s Day 1956, the first service was held in the new building.
On March 1, 1959, Dr. W. Malcom Fuller came from the University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia, to be our pastor. Under his leadership, the financial progress of the church was remarkable considering the economic condition of the community.
Dr. Fuller was followed by Rev. Charles B. Nunn, who came to us from the Plymouth Haven Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA on August 28, 1968. Under his leadership the renovation of the chapel and several classrooms was accomplished. Rev. Nunn left in June, 1977, going to Richmond, VA, to assume a supervisory position for Virginia Baptists.
Reverend Don McNair came in September, 1978 from the Westhaven Baptist Church of Portsmouth, VA, and pastored our church until November, 1983. He left to become pastor of First Baptist Church, Kannapolis, N.C. During his time at First Baptist Church he was Chairman of the Bland Missions Committee that was instrumental in setting up the First Dental Clinic in Bland County. He also served on the Virginia Baptist General Board and was Chairman for the Mission Committee for the General Board.
Reverend Bob Shackleford came on July 13th 1986. The church celebrated its centennial during Reverend Shackleford’s pastorate. Special services were held for six weeks leading up to the centennial Sunday. Every living former pastor and other leading historical personages participated in one or more of these services. During Rev. Shackleford’s tenure he and six other members of the church participated in overseas mission activities by serving in Tanzania or Nigeria in partnership mission activities. Rev. Shackleford Resigned his pastorate as of August 15, 1990.
Reverend Ken Frazier was called from Era Baptist Church in Era, Texas, and assumed the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Bluefield on June 23, 1991.