It is only fitting for Faith Baptist Church to celebrate its 40th anniversary with the theme, “God’s Faithfulness Over 40 Years.” The Rev. Jeff French, pastor, said, “God has been and will remain faithful to Faith Baptist Church as the church began with 1 Thessalonians 5:24, ‘Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it.’”
It is only fitting for Faith Baptist Church to celebrate its 40th anniversary with the theme, “God’s Faithfulness Over 40 Years.”
The Rev. Jeff French, pastor, said, “God has been and will remain faithful to Faith Baptist Church as the church began with 1 Thessalonians 5:24, ‘Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it.’”
Anniversary events last weekend, included messages from Illinois-Missouri Regular Baptist Representative Bernie Augsburger, Washington, (Ill.), a luncheon, recognition of former members and charter members, stories, testimonies and a commemorative video.
The rural church was born from a vision to establish a Regular Baptist Church in a location that would serve the communities of Geneseo, Green Rock and Colona.
On Feb. 20, 1972, the first of four organizational meetings was held at the Ebenezer United Methodist Church, located on Illinois Rt. 82, to prepare a doctrinal statement, church constitution, church covenant, and to appoint temporary offices.
The Rev. Orville Terry, who led the meetings, was elected temporary pastor of the church. The church was born on March 19, 1972, and in April of that year, Rev. Terry was named pastor and the former Hanna Township Hall, on Wolf Rd., became the temporary home of Faith Baptist Church.
Charter membership extended to April 30, 1972, and totaled 42 charter members.
Lyle Peterson, Colona, a charter member of Faith Baptist, recalled the church’s beginnings and said, “Seven families started the church. We all attended a church in Silvis, and we had talked for years about starting a church along Wolf Road. There were seven families who decided to do just that and that’s how it started.”
“Financially, we started with nothing,” he said. “We did not have the backing of a financial institution, just the seven families who felt the Lord leading us to start the church. It was amazing. We started with zero finances in the general fund, and we not only built the church, but we also built homes for our first two pastors.”
In September of 1972, church membership bought five acres of land on the northeast corner of Wolf Road and Stage Coach Road, the current location of Faith Baptist. Groundbreaking was held Oct. 14, 1972, with much of the construction work completed by members and friends of the church.
Services were held in the new church on March 25, 1973, and the structure was dedicated on June 3, 1973. That same month, Faith Baptist Church joined with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC).
The church continued to grow and in July of 1973, membership began to support its missionaries and agencies, which it continues to do today, Rev. French said.
In the summer of 1974, church members and friends worked together in building a gym at the north end of the church.
Rev. Terry resigned in 1976, and the Rev. Gary Hansen was called to Faith Baptist where he remained pastor for almost 23 years until retiring in 1999.
The church continued to grow under Rev. Hanson’s leadership, adding numerous missionaries to its support, several para-church agencies, and a garage on the north side of the property.
In 1988, the church mortgage was paid and in celebration, two members refurbished the pews and built the current altar and pulpit.
When Rev. Hanson resigned in 1999, the Rev. Doug Love became pastor, serving for almost 10 years.
“The church became very active in the arts during Pastor Love’s ministry, putting on yearly choral concerts and Bible-re-enacted plays,” Rev. French said.
In 2010, Rev. Love resigned and Rev. French was called to Faith Baptist.
“Over 40 years of ministry, God has provided Faith Baptist with four senior pastors, 24 deacons and finances to support monthly over 30 unique missionaries and para-church ministries,” Rev. French said. “Over 40 years of ministry God has used Faith Baptist to disciple hundreds of members, baptize over 65 members as a testimony of their gospel salvation, and shape the lives of 12 individuals God has called into full time ministry. God has been and will remain faithful to Faith Baptist Church.”