When you walk through the doors of First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Missouri, the difference will
be noticed immediately. It is not subtle. For this is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-national
congregation that values what we call “Soul Liberty,” the responsibility of each person to form their
own relationship with God. In this church, pastors don’t impose faith – they encourage faith!
First Baptist Church is a non-creedal church. We focus upon the Lordship of Jesus Christ and
sovereignty of God, and leave it to each person to fill in the details. We give each person the freedom
to raise questions, explore issues, and forge a faith that has personal meaning.
You’ll also notice that First Baptist Church is a warm and engaging congregation. We talk a lot about
the significance of relationships, of conversations that go deeper than what often occurs elsewhere in
You’ll also notice in nearly all of our services that women play an equal role in leadership as men. We
have two co-pastors, a young woman from Haiti earning her doctor’s degree, and an experienced
white guy. But every leadership position in our church has been occupied by women, as well as men.
We don’t understand churches that limit women’s natural leadership abilities.
You may recognize First Baptist Church as the oldest continuing Protestant Church founded in Kansas
City. The first mayor of Kansas City founded our church in 1855 when KC was a pioneer village on the
river’s edge. The church is also closely connected to Isaac and Christina McCoy, called founders of
Kansas City, who came to the heartland as American Baptist missionaries with Native Americans. We
proudly carry our history with us as we enter the future.
You may notice that our church is deeply related to our community. We have 12 outreach groups
responding to needs in our community, offering jazz vespers, labyrinth walks, elementary school
partnership, Eggstravaganza at Easter for children, the Red Bridge food pantry, a racial equity
organization, partnership with a health ministry in Nicaragua, just to name a few.
You may notice that we are a smaller congregation in a large building. We were larger much earlier in
our history. But we could not be the racially-inclusive congregation of today if we had remained a
large Euro-American congregation. We believe God has re-shaped us for ministry in the 21st century!
We are a single-cell congregation. Everyone is friends with everyone else. We know one another on a
first-name basis. Having said that, we are WIDE OPEN to welcoming new persons. New persons widen
our perspective and potential.
We welcome all persons regardless of their sexual orientation, their race, their income, their
background, their first language.
You may have stereotypes of Baptists – we likely don’t fit them. You’ll have to come to appreciate our
difference! We are affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA, with only a hand full of
other KCMO congregations. The ABC-USA is the most diverse Christian denomination in America.
As you enter First Baptist Church, an Uncommon Church, you will find a warm welcome!