First Baptist Church was established in 1843 and was the first organized African American church in Liberty, Missouri. The Pastor, Rev. William Brown was a young man less than twenty years of age. Prior to 1843, church members worshipped in the Clay County old courthouse located on what is known today as the historic Liberty “Town Square”.
During the 1890’s, the property adjoining the church was purchased and a parsonage was built. The old church was destroyed by fire and our present church was built in 1915 during the pastorate of Rev. J.L. Dudley.
Many dedicated Men of the Gospel have served as Pastors in the history of First Baptist Church: Rev. William Brown; John Gains; George Saunders; George Wright; H.J. Jones; W.H. Young; W.H. Hill; William Pankey; M.L. Clay; W. McAllen; Rev. Battles; J.L. Dudley; W.L. Davis; Ed Wilson; J.H. Herring; W.L. Blake; Rev. R.E. Miller came to use in November of 1961 and for forty-six years did a remarkable job; many accepted Christ and new auxiliaries were organized. Rev. Miller and his wife, Sara, worked together as a religious team, he as pastor and she as chuch pianist until her death in 2002.
Under the leadership of Rev. R.E. Miller, the church purchased an adjacent house in 1970 and used it for educational purposes until 1986 when an educational wing and heated baptistery were added to the present structure. Also, in 1986, the church incorporated and a Building Committee and Board of Directors were established. On August 28, 1994, the church held its Mortgage Burning Service.
Our current Pastor, Rev. Tony P. Johnson, is the 18th minister of the church. He was called to First Baptist in January, of 2004. As a proactive leader, he is Moderator of the Mt. Zion District Association and serves on the Liberty Ministerial Alliance, The Missouri State Convention Board of Director’s and the Baptist Ministers Union of Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Johnson has initiated several new ministries for the church: Evangelism, Food Pantry, Children’s Church, Outreach, Women’s and Men’s Ministry. Under his leadership, the church purchased rental property on Gallatin Street in 2007-09.
Today, First Baptist continues to be a lantern for the unsaved in the Liberty Community. It is a place where everyone is welcome to fellowship, pray, and worship God in spirit and in truth.