First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IL (FBCO) was formed in January of 1867 with 16 charter members and dedicated its first building at the corner of Washington & Cherry Street later that year.
The white framed structure which had served as the congregation for many years burned 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.
A Time of Uncertainty
After a decline in membership, a group of 12 people gathered under a tree to decide the future of their church. 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!
Pastor Gerry Claybrook
FBCO called a young pastor named Gerry Claybrook and entered a time of sustained growth. The congregation eventually outgrew the facilities at Washington and Cherry and began seeking a new property.
The search for more land led them to 20-acres on Highway 50 where they built a new 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 also built the current gym and temporary classrooms for children.
Pastor Lloyd Jones
FBCO called Lloyd Jones as pastor and during his ministry, they 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.
Senior Pastor, Dr. Doug Munton
Dr. Doug Munton was called as Senior Pastor in August 1995 and the church began to grow rapidly. The church went to three morning worship services and three Sunday School hours, but still needed more space. The congregation built new Worship Center overflow areas and space for preschoolers to accommodate the rapidly growing church family, but the growth continued to outpace the facilities.
After an extensive building program, FBCO dedicated a 67,000 square foot Worship Center and an 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 expanded, more land was purchased, and renovation of current buildings continued.
With more than 50 Adult LIFE Groups, more classrooms were needed and a 36,000 square foot, three-story Adult Education building was built, wrapping around two sides of the existing Worship Center. Immediately after the classrooms were finished, FBCO was able to complete the balcony area of the Worship Center, adding seating for an additional 400 people.
150 Year Anniversary
FBCO celebrated its 150th anniversary in January 2017 and continues to thrive and grow. They now average around 1,600 in worship each Sunday and have over 4,000 members and regular attenders—making FBCO the largest Southern Baptist church in Illinois. Each summer, their Vacation Bible School has more than 1,000 children plus workers, making it one of the largest in the United States. FBCO’s youth and children’s ministries are large, active, and effective. Their weekday ministries include Creation Corner Preschool, with an enrollment of almost 200 children, and First Baptist Academy with over 250 students in K - 12th grades.
The Best is yet to come
Much has changed in 150+ years. But, FBCO’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 FBCO as He has in the past.