First Baptist Church of Decatur had its beginnings in 1856 when some believers gathered in the home of Samuel Perrin near Taylorsville that in 1858 asked the state legislature to change its name to Decatur. The first church building was a log cabin constructed in 1857.
The church grew in the late 1800’s and relocated to new facilities near the center of Decatur. A storm destroyed that facility in 1903, and the congregation met in the chapel of Decatur Baptist College (now Dallas Baptist University) until completion of a new building in 1904 located at 600 S. Trinity in Decatur.
Great leadership moved First Baptist into the role of working with other churches in the county and the leadership of Decatur Baptist College to share the gospel. Twenty-six pastors have been called to shepherd the church. From J.F. Head, the first pastor, to J.L. Ward, the last of the 19th century pastors to Dr. R.E. Bell, the longest serving (28 years) of the church’s pastors to Robert Kenneth May, the most recent pastor, God has continually blessed this congregation.
By the 1980’s the church, with children filling the classrooms and VBS packing the halls, realized it was time to step out in faith. The congregation refused to live in the past and dared to dream of the future when, in 1989 under the leadership of Pastor Gene Smith, it purchased 32 acres at the corner of Highway 51 South and Preskitt Road. In the early 1990’s, a multi-purpose gymnatorium was built. Phase I was completed and worship services and Bible study classes began in that facility.
Then came Phase II. The piers were drilled, the structure was raised and the interior was completed. On September 9, 2001 (two days prior to “9-11”), the congregation met under the leadership of interim pastor Dr. Dan Crawford for its first Sunday morning worship service in the new, 1500 seat sanctuary.
Later, Education and Administration Buildings were also completed. Funds are currently being raised for the construction of a Children’s Building. Our prayer is that God will continue to challenge and direct us to dedicate ourselves to the Great Commission and to each day reflect and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.