First Baptist Church was founded in 1865, when Sedalia was five years old. The city was beginning to grow following the Civil War. The American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York sent the Rev. Edwin T. Brown to this mission field to start a new church. With 19 charter members, the congregation dedicated a $5500 meeting house on the east side of Sedalia’s courthouse square in 1866.

The building soon was enlarged to meet the congregation’s growth and house its educational ministries. In 1889, the church purchased two lots at Sixth Street and Lamine Avenue. The congregation erected a new building in 1893.

A sanctuary seating 1100 persons was completed in 1924. 1200 attended Sunday School on its dedication day.

The present three-story educational building was dedicated in 1961. The $250000 facility provided classrooms for more than 600 people.

The current sanctuary was dedicated in 1976.

The church launched Long Range Planning in 1985, which led to construction of a new multi-purpose building. The $2.2 million Christian Life Center (CLC) was dedicated in 1998, enabling the church to launch new recreation and sports ministries.

The church purchased the Boonslick Library building in 1995. It was renamed the First Baptist Church Annex and provides a versatile space for missions and education. Today, the First Baptist Church complex occupies the entire block where its second sanctuary was built in 1893. The church property includes parking on several adjacent blocks.

Founded as a mission church, First Baptist soon became a church on mission. The Ladies’ Aid Society began raising funds for ministries in the 1870s. In the early 1900s, First Baptist organized a mission church in the Lawnsdale area of Sedalia. The church also began its first “bus” ministry during this era with a wagonette, or horse-drawn surrey, to bring children to Sunday School. Sunday School became the largest in Sedalia, with attendance exceeding 1,500. The church started a mission congregation at 16th and Hancock in 1948, which became New Hope Baptist Church with 115 charter members in 1957.


The church launched a bus ministry in 1972 with one rented bus. By end of 1972, five buses were in service.


During 1994, Missouri Baptists were asked to form three-year partnerships with individual Baptist churches in Wyoming and the former Soviet Union country of Belarus. The church commissioned a mission team to Light of the Gospel Church Minsk, Belarus, in 1995. In 1997, the church and Missouri Baptists extended partnerships until the end of the century.

In partnership with Harmony Baptist Association, FBC began sponsoring Hispanic work in the mid 1990s. A Hispanic congregation began meeting in the First Baptist Annex in 1998. It remained until 2009, when it was constituted as First Hispanic Baptist Church and acquired its own building. Members became involved in several new ministries in the 1990s, including MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Women’s Enrichment, Mentoring, Singles, and Promise Keepers. Upward Basketball began in 2000, followed by Upward Cheerleading. Church members participate in mission trips and support activities on a local and global scale. They live out the theme for the congregation’s founding meeting in 1865: “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).