First Baptist Church, founded in 1855 when Kansas City was a fledgling pioneer village of 478 people, is the oldest Baptist church in the city. We are the second oldest Protestant church. Many of the first churches in the city have since gone out of existence. But – not First Baptist Church! At one time, we were the largest church in the city. Our second location in downtown Kansas City was at 12th and Baltimore, the site of the Muehlebach Hotel. Twice in our history, we have been one congregation serving out of two locations in the city.
Our church was founded in part by members of the McCoy missionary family who came into Kansas City to help resettle the Eastern tribes that were beginning their migration to the Plains States. Isaac McCoy had a vision of making Kansas and Oklahoma off-limits to white people – the exclusive domain of the Indian tribes. McCoy was asked by President Andrew Jackson to plot tribal reservations throughout Eastern and Central Kansas. His assigning the land immediately west of Kansas City to the Shawnee tribe is the reason we use the common term, Shawnee Mission, Shawnee, KS, and Mission, KS. McCoy’s son, John Calvin McCoy is the founder of Westport. He chopped his way from Westport to the River and this became today’s Broadway Street. He is recognized by many as the “father of Kansas City” as he plotted most of the original streets and settlements of the city. His brother-in-law, Johnston Lykins, was the first duly-elected mayor of Kansas City who, along with his wife, Mattie, pulled together the founders of First Baptist Church on April 21,1855.
Our church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the original Baptist denomination in our nation. Kansas City is one of two American cities founded in large part through the efforts of American Baptists (Providence, RI).
Today, we still serve within Kansas City, in the southern part of the city at the corner of Red Bridge and Wornall Roads, one mile south of I-435. We remain a metropolitan-based congregation.
COME AND JOIN "THE BELOVED COMMUNITY"
Martin Luther King Jr, an American Baptist pastor, coined the phrase, "The
Beloved Community," to describe the kind of diverse and loving community
that he envisioned for our society. King also declared that Sunday
mornings at 11 AM is the most segregated hour of the week. Well, King
might like what he sees at First Baptist Church of Kansas City, a racially
integrated congregation that views its diversity as an accepted fact of
congregational life. It's been that way for a long time.
In this way, we model King's Beloved Community every time we gather at
First Baptist Church. By the way we honor and respect each other, form
lasting friendships threading through our diversity, and work toward equity
toward all persons, we bring the Beloved Community to life.
In today's world, there are many bi-racial couples and bi-racial
families. And there are many others who do not want to worship only with
"their own kind." That is what we offer: an easy-going diversity where we
each represent the light and hope of Christ to each other and in the wider
world around us.
Come and bring your own uniqueness! We'll value your questions and your
faith journey! You'll experience an amazingly loving and supportive
community of new-found friends.
First Baptist Church is entering a period of "re-inventing itself," and
reaching out to invite others to join us on this important journey. We're
the first Baptist church in Kansas City, formed in 1855 when KCMO was a
small pioneer outpost. Today, we are a people rising up with vigor and
hope to meet the needs of the world around us and commit ourselves to
King's compelling idea of "The Beloved Community."
The Beloved Community "We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality"
For more information about King and the Beloved Community, see