Phone: 907-376-4668

First Baptist Church of Wasilla

History

Updated January 2010

 

First Baptist Church - Early BeginningsFirst Baptist Church became a reality on Fathers Day June 18, 1978. First Baptist Church of Birchwood under the direction of their mission-minded Pastor, Bob Chadwick had voted in March of 1978 to begin a mission in a little community called Wasilla, Alaska. Officially it began when Paul Carter from Louisiana arrived on the scene to begin the first worship service on Father's Day 1978.


They began meeting in a music store owned by a member of First Baptist Church of Birchwood. Meetings were held there for a couple of months and soon the mission outgrew this space. The church then met in a hangar at Chuck Jackson's on Fairview Loop Road. These services were held there until December when services were moved to the AIC building on Lake Lucille. Those were good days, happy days, and growing days.

Early in the summer of 1979, ground breaking services were held on the Bogard Road property. The Alaska Baptist Convention had purchased the land in anticipation of starting a mission and First Baptist Church, Birchwood, assumed the loan. With the help of members from Birchwood, the foundation for the first building was laid. Then in October of 1979, a work crew of 10 men from Alabama and North Carolina arrived to erect the building. In just four and one half days the small building at the rear of the present auditorium was closed in and under roof. However, there were still a lot of workdays and work nights. The first Sunday in January 1980, the first service was held in the basement. The building was completely paid for. The only debt was the note on the land, but there were not funds to complete the upstairs until March of 1982. Then on June 1982, Father's Day, the church was constituted. Father's Day will always be special for First Baptist Church of Wasilla, since it was begun on Father's Day and also constituted as a church on Father's Day.

 

The small building was finally bulging at the seams and in 1985, a step of faith was taken and a building program was launched to construct the present sanctuary. The sanctuary was completed in 1986. However, the fellowship hall and classrooms were not completed until 1994. The first service held in the new sanctuary was on Easter Sunday 1986. This church, like all churches has had growing pains and has become stronger and larger for it. The first Vacation Bible School was held in the summer of 1979 and has become an annual event for the church.

Paul Carter was the first pastor and served for one year. Edward E. Wolfe, DOM for Chugach Association, served as interim pastor until John Land was called in 1980. He served one year and following his resignation, Ron Ratliff served as interim until Al Allen was called in early 1982. Following his resignation, Gary Godwin served as interim until James (Jim) Hearn was called in January 1983. Jim served as pastor until January of 1989. Pastor Hearn resigned to become missionary to Togo, West Africa.

Jim Hamilton served as interim until Jim Eller was called in July of 1989 and served until July 1992. Marshall Duncan served as interim until Pastor Fred Stroud and his wife Jetta were called in August of 1993 and served until August of 2007.

 

In January of 1985, Randy Covington was called as Minister of Music and Youth. He served until June of 1991 when he resigned to return to seminary. Later Randy and Robin his wife were appointed missionaries to Russia.

First Baptist Church of Wasilla Building
In December of 1999 the church called Sterling Lynn to become its Minister to Youth and Evangelism. Sterling resigned in July 2001. Many faithful members of the church continued to carry on the Youth work during the absence of a Youth Minister.

In October of 2001, the church called Stephen Shrimplin to be its Minister of Music and Worship leader. Stephen and his wife Dana came and he served in that capacity until August 2007 and Dana assisted him with Vacation Bible School. Stephen served as the Interim Pastor from August 2007 until January 2010 while the church searched for a new Senior Pastor. In January 2010, the church called Stephen to be the Senior Pastor.

In June of 2003, First Baptist Church in a step of Faith called John Richardson to serve as its Pastor to Students. John and his wife Debra served in that capacity from August of 2003 until February of 2006. In March of 2008, the church called Michael Graham to be an Associate Pastor. He and his wife Pam served in that capacity until April of 2011.

First Baptist Church has a vision to reach the Mat-Su Valley for Jesus. In August of 1998, First Baptist church having grown to the point of needing additional space, committed itself to dual worship services and dual Sunday Schools. In October of 1999 the Church committed itself to FAITH Evangelism strategy and FAITH continues to work hand-in-hand with its Sunday School in growing the church. FAITH continues to challenge those who want to share their faith with the community.

First Baptist Church of Wasilla took an additional giant step of faith in November of 2000 and purchased twenty-six acres of land for a new multipurpose facility including Sanctuary, Education Complex and Multi-purpose gym on Seward Meridian at the intersection of Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

First Baptist Church believes in preaching and teaching the Word of God. They have a Women's Bible Study on Monday Mornings, Men and Women's Bible Studies on Friday evenings, and various Small Group Bible Studies throughout the week. First Baptist Church has a strong Discipleship emphasis for all ages. The Church is committed to Missions and Mission emphasis. First Baptist Church provides an AWANA program for children and youth, ages 4 years to seniors in high school and adults. The Church provides a food Ministries to meet the needs of our community and a variety of other Mission Projects.


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