Our church steadfastly proclaims the love and inclusiveness of Jesus Christ for all who accept Him.

Who founded the American Baptist Churches USA?

We follow in the footsteps of not only Roger Williams, the founder of the Baptist Movement in America, but also many history-shaping theologians who came after him, including May Jones, our first woman minister ordained in 1882, as well as the founder of Social Gospel Walter Rauschenbusch and the civil rights leaders John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We invite you to take a moment to further explore our denomination by visiting our national headquarters website at ABC-USA.

Who are the American Baptist Churches USA today?

Though we are the first and oldest Baptist denomination in America, we are smaller in number than several of the more prominent Baptist groups. American Baptists are the only denomination in America in which there is no racial majority.

American Baptists are known for our passion for mission as we have one of the most energetic and effective mission organizations serving around the world and throughout the USA. We are also known for open communion and open membership and for ecumenical and interfaith cooperation. 

We believe in a gospel rooted in personal evangelism and in social justice and peace.

What is the vision for our American Baptist Church here in KC?

Our vision is that we will seek to embody love: God at work in and through our lives. 

This congregational vision is realized through the grace of our God and our meaningful worship, Bible studies, generational / inter-generational and small group ministries, church retreats, sharing faith journeys, leadership development, an environment open to questions and discovery, and by being a place for anyone and everyone to believe, belong, and become. 

Both as individual followers and as a local body of Christ, we will seek and strive to be welcoming, enabling, encountering, advocating, and inviting disciples. In short, we will seek to envision love: God at work in and through our lives. 

Baptist Liberties

American Baptists are best identified by our convictions and practices about freedom. These “Baptist Liberties” are typically identified in five ways, and they are taken very seriously by First Baptist Church and in many ways set our church apart from other area churches. Our liberties define us like nothing else. Baptist historian Walter Shurden once said, “The one word that comes closer than any other to capturing the historic Baptist identity is the word, FREEDOM.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “For freedom, Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1a)

Soul Liberty - - Shaping one’s own relationship with God

Soul liberty is the deep conviction that every person can enter into a direct relationship with God without outside mediation. As Baptists, we resist anything that appears to oppress freedom of the soul. Our practice of believer’s baptism arises out of our insistence upon soul liberty. No one can decide for another, not even a parent for a child, a person’s relationship with God. Thus, we baptize only after an individual has made a personal decision of faith.

Religious Liberty – Defending the Separation of Church and State

When the Baptist experiment in Rhode Island began, few other colonies were inclined to follow. The Puritans in New England, for example, feared that the loss of a state church would result in moral anarchy and theological chaos. We believe in the free and open practice of religion – and we do not seek or support government endorsement of religion.

Priestly Liberty – Calling Christians to be priests to each other

All people of God, collectively and individually, are called to be priests or ministers. This means that we are to care for each other. It means that we are to be instruments of God’s love to each other. It means that Baptists have a level playing field when it comes to individual ministries. All persons are called by God to be ministers. Pastors are called to equip the members of the church for their unique ministries. This explains our motto: “Serving as the Hands and Feet of Christ.”

Scriptural Liberty – Interpreting the Bible in one’s own faithful way

We take the Bible seriously. It is our sole written authority. We do not value creeds or other written statements of faith. We believe in studying the Bible seriously. And we believe that it is each person’s responsibility to interpret the Bible, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, to inform personal faith. No person can interfere with another person’s reading, study, and interpretation of scripture. However, we study the Bible best with others and not in isolation.

Church Liberty – Allowing no hierarchy over the local church

Each local church is inspired directly by the Holy Spirit and each congregation is accountable directly to God. Baptists believe in the autonomy of the local church and the necessity of associating with other churches. We do not have bishops or hierarchy over the local church, as the local church is the highest expression of our denomination.