Humble Beginnings ...
The story of First Baptist Gulfport is truly a story of God’s providential leadership and unending provision. Ultimately it is HIStory! In the months before September 1896, eighteen-year-old Bertha Amis organized and taught a non-denominational Sunday School class for youth. In good weather, the class met under live oak trees and at other times in a railway car that was side-tracked on Sundays. On September 19, First Baptist Church Gulfport was formally organized with 8 charter members. The church continued meeting in homes, the railway car, under the trees in lumber sheds and finally in a small schoolhouse.
With attendance growing, the need for permanent meeting space became evident. In. December 1898, First Baptist Church Gulfport began its first building fund. The committee first wrote to all their Baptist friends, asking each for a donation of ten cents. The venture netted $30.
The church continued growing and expanding in membership, facilities and ministries. The bus ministry of the 1960’s and 79’s led to the greatest participation in Sunday school and worship the church has ever experienced. The Sunday school, music ministry, children’s ministry and student ministry have long been key in disciple-making. In the past decade, Upward Sports has become a consistent outreach ministry, reaching hundreds of children and their families. While methods have changed over the years, the mission remains the same.
After each seemingly devastating disaster, the church, led by amazingly faithful, generous and prayerful people, has continued to give, reach and grow. Thanks be to God for 121 years of provision!
The Church received major damage on three occasions with the fire of 1965 that destroyed the sanctuary,
Hurricane Camille in 1969
and Katrina in 2005
For three years after Katrina, the church family gathered for worship at Gulfport High School, meeting in the auditorium, the gym and finally the cafeteria. In 2006 the congregation purchased 35 acres along new Highway 605, one mile North of I-10. A Capital Stewardship Campaign, Now By Faith, helped raise funds for the first buildings. The current facilities were completed in the summer of 2008, and the first worship services and classes were held in August.
Meeting at Gulfport High School
In the Cafeteria
Opening Day at the new facility, August 2008
Gulfport city officials reached out to church leaders in August 2013, expressing a desire to purchase the church’s three acres of downtown property. The eventual sale took place on December 29, 2014. The final price was received in full on December 30, and the the debt on the current facility was paid off on December 31.
The Missions Committee presented a request to the congregation in October 2015 to prayerfully consider a significant missions offering from the proceeds of the sale of the downtown property. The mission offering would be a thanksgiving offering to the Lord for all His provision. The congregation voted unanimously in January 2016 to designate 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the downtown property for this missions offering.
As we amplify the hope across the Coast by connecting people to life in Jesus, we are growing. Until April 2015 the church offices occupied preschool space. Due to an increasing number of families with preschoolers participating in life at First Baptist Gulfport it was necessary to move the church offices off campus. We have also reached capacity on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings in our Adult Life Group Meeting space. With less than half our adults participating in Campus based Life Groups, we need room to create opportunities for a multiplying number of people to cultivate growth in groups.
Our Student Ministry (grades 7-12) is growing as well. They are currently meeting in one room dividing into six Life Groups which creates a challenging disciple making environment with limited potential for additional growth.
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We invite you to join us as we launch a 40-day prayer journey. Click here to join in the daily devotionals and prayer guide (begins March 26th). You will see in this devotional that the collective heart of the membership of First Baptist Gulfport beats for Jesus! It is He who has saved us and now fills us with His Spirit. The words you will read in this daily guide and the stories they tell will impact your heart and leave you wanting more! May you be challenged and encouraged to serve Jesus more consistently, to love Jesus more deeply, to reach people more effectively, and to give Jesus your best - using every resource at your disposal to Amplify the Hope you have in Jesus. Pray daily for direction. Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray that He will use you for His Glory and His Kingdom, now and forevermore.
Click here to be take the next step in your relationship with Jesus.
Click here to more information about the Capital Stewardship Campaign.
12190 HIGHWAY 605, GULFPORT, MS 39503
with offices at 11975 SEAWAY ROAD, SUITE B240, GULFPORT, MS 39503
Sunday Services at 9AM and 10:30AM