The History of First Baptist Church O’Fallon
In 1973 a group of 12 people gathered under a tree to decide the future of their church. With declining membership, some felt they might need to close the doors of the church which had existed for 100 years. Others sensed that God was not finished with them yet. Little could they know how much God had in store for them in the coming years!
First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IL was formed in January of 1867 with 16 charter members. Today, the congregation averages more than 1,600 people each Sunday in worship and has more than 4,000 people who are members or attenders. The church has the largest attendance in the Metro-East St. Louis region and is the largest Southern Baptist church in the state of Illinois.
The church dedicated its first building in 1867 at the corner of Washington and Cherry Streets in O’Fallon. The white, framed structure served as the place of meeting for the congregation for many years until a fire in 1946. The congregation rebuilt on the same site and dedicated the new brick building on the 80th anniversary of the church, January 26, 1947.
In 1974, after a long period of decline, FBCO called a young man named Gerry Claybrook as pastor and entered a time of sustained growth. The congregation eventually outgrew their facilities at Washington and Cherry and began a search for more land which led them to 20 acres on Highway 50. They built a worship center and held their first service in June of 1979. Great growth followed and the church went to two Sunday morning worship services and two Sunday School hours. They built the gym and temporary classrooms for children. In 1987, Lloyd Jones came as pastor. During his ministry FBCO completed a new education building, purchased additional land, started new ministries and grew to approximately 550 in worship and Sunday School as the church reached out to the community and beyond.
Dr. Doug Munton was called as senior pastor in 1995 and the church began to grow rapidly. A native of Illinois, Pastor Doug brought a new vision and enthusiasm to the congregation. The church went to three morning worship services and three Sunday School hours, but more space was needed. The congregation built new worship center overflow areas and new space for preschoolers to accommodate the rapidly growing church family, but the growth continued to outpace the facilities. We started an extensive building program and in 2000 dedicated a 67,000 square foot Worship Center and education space that more than doubled the size of the church facility. The much-needed space allowed the congregation to continue to grow rapidly. Ministries were expanded for all ages and needs and the next years saw more land purchases, more parking and continuing renovation of current buildings.
FBCO’s ministries continue to thrive. Our Vacation Bible School has more than 1,000 children and workers in attendance each year making it one of the largest in the nation. Our Youth and Children’s ministries are large, active and effective. Our weekday ministries include Creation Corner Preschool with an enrollment of over 200 children and First Baptist Academy with almost 250 students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
Much has changed in 150 years. But, First Baptist Church’s faith in the Lord, trust in God’s word and passion for reaching people for Christ remains as firm today as it was in 1867. The prayer of the congregation is that God will continue to bless FBC O’Fallon as he has in the past and that the best is yet to come!