Prior to 1833 black and white Christians worshiped together. Later, some leaders of the white Baptists thought it was wise to separate in 1833. Thus, the First Baptist Church became two congregations – one black and one white.
First Baptist Church was led by able pastors throughout the years and a strong laity help insure the progress of the congregation. The congregation worshipped in various homes until they could build a permanent church. In 1844, land was donated by John Ward and in 1898, Reverend Robert Mitchell and the Church’s Trustees purchased the present lot for $4,000.00 and a legal struggle ensued.
The City Council of Frankfort ignored the construction petition to build a sanctuary to house First Baptist. Adjacent property owners refused to sign the petition and the City became actively involved with the prevention of construction. Even with this obstacle confronting them, First Baptist Church proceeded to have the old building torn down and started negotiations with a contractor to build the Church. The City Council disapproved of this action and issued warrants for the arrest of the contractor and the Board of Trustees citing violation of City Ordinances.
THE 1900s . . .
In 1903 the Court of Appeals granted an historic victory to First Baptist Church and allowed construction of the church. The court stated that the City’s opposition was “largely based upon race prejudice.” In 1905, under the leadership of Rev. W.T. Silvey, construction was completed on the current edifice at 100 Clinton Street.
In 1919, the current church parsonage located at 104 Clinton Street, was purchased under the leadership of Rev. H.W. Ballew and the Board of Trustees.
A succession of pastors, each with their own God-given vision has led First Baptist Church in good and bad times. They are: Rev. Henderson Williams (1838-1843); Rev. James Monroe (1845-1864); Rev. Robert Martin (1864-1884); Rev. George W. Patterson (1884-1887); Rev. Eugene Evans (1887-1894); Rev. J.W. Hawkins (1894-1898); Rev. Robert Mitchell (1898-1903); Rev. C.C. Wakefield (1903-1904); Rev. W.R. Payne (1904-1905); Rev. W.T. Silvey (1905-1919); Dr. W.H. Ballew (1919-1932); Dr. J. Welby Broaddus (1932-1938); Rev. R.E.S. Utterback (1938-1945); Dr. Reggie H. Johnson (1948-1949); and Rev. W.R. Hutchinson, Jr. (1949-1960).
In 1960 Dr. K.L. Moore, Jr. of Chicago, Illinois became the 16th pastor of First Baptist Church. Under Dr. Moore, Jr.’s leadership the Lord added souls to the congregation and he initiated the Men’s Chorus, Gospel Choir, Pastor’s Aid Club, Youth Choir, internal decorations of our church, roofing repairs, gas furnace installation, HVAC installation, and purchase of pianos. In 1973, First Baptist Church received Historical Site designation by the Kentucky Heritage Commission and hosted some of the largest community events. The congregation was active in the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Kentucky State Fellowship PNBC, and united with the new Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., where he served as Recording Secretary. Dr. Moore pastored faithfully for 46 years and went home to be with the Lord in 2006. His widow, Sis. Sara Moore and children are still faithful members of First Baptist.
THE 2000s . . .
On Thursday, February 12, 2009, Pastor Robert Earl Houston became the 17th pastor of First Baptist Church. He and his wife, Jessica moved from Nashville, TN in March and his pastorate began on April 1, 2009. He was formally installed on Sunday, May 31, 2009 by his pastor, Minister Barton Elliott Harris.
Just as the Lord was with Moses and Joshua - the Lord has been with Pastor Houston as He was with Pastor Moore. Under the energetic leadership of Pastor Robert Earl Houston, Sr., the following accomplishments have been made including: A second morning worship service, a Systematic/Thematic Preaching and Teaching Series; a sharp increase of membership (over 425 souls have united); Increase in giving, pledges and donations; Re-established and increased our presence in the Progressive National Baptist Convention; hiring of additional staff; Presidency of the Kentucky State Convention of the PNBC; Increase in Bible Studies attendance and creation of Power Lunch Plus; Joined the Central District Baptist Association; Creation of an off-site Community Vacation Bible School and creation of a Joint New Year's Eve Service will the St. John A.M.E. Church and First Corinthian Baptist Church; Establishment of Radio Broadcast Ministry and later a television broadcast which airs every Sunday called "EVENING WORSHIP WITH ROBERT EARL HOUSTON" (sponsored by Robert Earl Houston Ministries), K.L. and Sara Moore Scholarship Fund, Deaconess Board, off-site Vacation Bible School, Corporate Prayer Service, Married Couples Sunday School Class, Women’s Ministry, Men’s Ministry; Young Adult Choir, Young Adult Ministry, Marriage Ministry Emphasis, Youth House, Next G(eneration) Services, Media Ministry; Restructuring of ministries and implementation of new Sunday School curriculum; and Purchase of audio, CD duplication equipment; Purchase of new tables; roof repair, electrical re-wiring and replacement of kitchen.
History was made when the first female, Reverend Anna T. Jones, Assistant to the Pastor, was ordained on Sunday, January 4, 2015. Pastor Carole Jacobs was the first female to be licensed to preach in 2008, prior to Pastor Houston's arrival.
We look to the future of FBC. We believe our best is yet to come. We are continually evaluating and creating new ministries to meet the needs of this present age. The church has begun the process of restoring our present facility and is planning to build an Educational Building that will allow us to meet the needs of this and the next generation of FBC members and this community.
God has truly blessed FBC. First Baptist Church is a congregation that is “Preaching, Reaching and Teaching Since 1833” and is making S.T.E.P.S. (Studying, Tithing, Evangelism, Prayer and Saintly Peace).