The old English proverb says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” It was the need for a Baptist Church in a small community that drove settlers to build First Missionary Baptist Church. A church that has stood the test of time, for over 125 years, the congregation has passed the torch on to the next generation to continue to spread the Gospel to the community and across the world.
The History of First Missionary Baptist Church
A group of families relocated from northern Mississippi to Huntsville, Alabama. When they discovered that there was no Baptist Church, they prayed and felt led to begin one; First Missionary Baptist Church was birthed in 1880. The families met in a small home, pastored by Reverend Robert Green. Some of the families integral in the church’s beginnings still live in the area and serve the church.
First Missionary Baptist Church: Leadership
- Reverend Pope Jones – Reverend Jones pastored the church in 1881. During this time the church met in a local court building, meeting twice on Sundays. Through a building fund under Jones leadership, a permanent structure was established in 1886.
- Reverend Horace P Snodgrass – Many short-term pastors oversaw the expansion of First Missionary Baptist Church through the mid-1900s. In 1949, the church was blessed with its first long term pastor, Reverend Horace Snodgrass. He served the church for 24 years. During which the church grew at a rapid rate; in size and spirituality. He had a missions-focused approach and membership soared. He also saw the church through the civil rights movement, aiding in the cause of freedom for all.
- Reverend Dr Julius Scruggs – Dr Scruggs pastored the church for the next 28 years. His focus was on Christian education — Sunday School classes targeted at every age group; physical age as well as spiritual age. With the growth of teaching opportunities, came more necessity. The need for teachers to build into the lives of believers. This led to the growth of members answering the call on God for their life. First Missionary Baptist Church and their focus on education eventually led to the development of a Child Development Center.
- Reverend Dr Don Darius Butler – In February of 2019, First Missionary Baptist Church passed on the torch of ministry to Reverend Don Butler. While new to the pastorate of the church, he is not new to ministry. He had a 10-year pastorate with a church in Milwaukie, Wisconsin.
Throughout the 125 years of ministering to the community of Huntsville, First Missionary Baptist Church has created many ministries that still exist to support and advance the Kingdom of God.
- Church Families – Building a family is more than preaching to a congregation. It is about teaching each member about their place in Christ. Classes for men, women, seniors, children, and youth are all part of First Missionary Baptist Church and their curriculum.
- Music and worship – Praise and worship is an experience for every churchgoer. Teaching about worship and giving opportunities for Christians to express their God-given talents to praise, uplifts the souls of the one singing, playing, and dancing as well as the spectator.
- Missions and outreach – The goal of every church is to minister to the world around them. From the community, the poor and needy, the imprisoned, those away from home, and those in foreign lands who have needs, God has given churches the call to go and serve and to share the love of Christ.
- Congregational and Service – Not only are missions crucial outside the church walls, ministry to those who serve within them is of equal importance. Just as Moses needed Aaron and Hur, Christians need other Christians when they grow weary or suffer a setback in their life. Support in times of bereavement, health and financial struggles, and personal fellowship.
- Julius Richard Scruggs Child Development Center & Academy – This Christian school cares for and educates Kindergarten through the Fifth Grade. They provide for the spiritual, mental, physical, and social well-being through a Christian based curriculum.
ALIVE in Christ’s Mission
First Missionary Baptist Church gives members information and the means to share what God is doing in and through the church.
- FMBC Live – Watch the weekly Sunday Worship services; one at 8 AM and the second at 11 AM Central time.
- Archives – All sermons are available to parishioners should they miss a Sunday or want to share the message with family and friends.
- “The Communicator” – The church newsletter communication the special announcements and events upcoming for the church.
- Radio and Television – WEUP broadcasts the Sunday sermon at 11:30 AM on Sundays. WHDF airs the broadcast at 9:00 PM on Sundays.
- ALIVE – Much like the newsletter, this means of promoting ministries of FMBC with stories about the church and community. Anchored human interest stories, love stories about how people are relating to one another, and informed stories about the local community, viable stories of the achievements of church members, and engaged stories of the needs of the ministries of FMBC.