Values // Mission // History
God invites everyone to live their lives with Him, and we repeat that invitation to all kinds of people. We don’t pick and choose who is invited, and we don’t exclude those whose presence makes us uncomfortable. Nor do we sit within our walls, content to welcome those who come; instead, we leave our safety and comfort to go out and invite everyone. The life-changing power of Jesus is just too good to keep to ourselves.
Invest In People
Our deepest and best investments in people happen in small groups where truth can be shared in the context of relationships. Jesus invested in His disciples by spending time with them and sending them out. As we come together in small groups, we participate in this process by meeting relationship needs, fostering maturity, and encouraging each other in our efforts to serve Christ. Some days you may be the investor, and some days you may need the investing. Either way, Relationships with God’s people are part of the process God uses to help His people look more like Jesus.
We understand that eternity is a reality and that our eternal destinations—heaven or hell—are real places. The gospel is God’s good news that all who call Jesus their Savior and Lord experience both abundant life with Jesus now and life in heaven for eternity. We bear a responsibility to proclaim that good news to our city and around the world. Every member of our church can have an eternal impact by sharing in our church’s gospel-proclaiming mission.
1. Every life matters.
Jesus invites all people to experience a grace-filled life through a relationship with Him.
2. The gospel changes things.
The good news of salvation through Jesus can transform any situation, no matter how hopeless.
3. Our worship transforms our values.
We gather to recognize Jesus’s transforming power and respond by following His agenda for our lives.
4. The Spirit energizes us for living.
The Holy Spirit resides in us and enables us to live a life that honors Jesus.
5. Prayer aligns us with Jesus.
Talking to God and listening to God keep us in sync with what Jesus is already doing in our lives.
6. The Bible reveals God’s truth.
God wants us to know the story of His creation, our rebellion, and His plan to redeem us through Jesus.
7. We grow stronger together.
Growth happens best through relationships. We form small groups for learning, caring, and serving.
8. We are a family with a mission.
We share our resources and sacrifice our preferences to accomplish the mission of Jesus.
9. God’s kingdom is eternal.
Heaven and hell are eternal destinations. Actions we take today have an eternal impact.
10. Our mission is urgent.
We do whatever it takes to help people in our city and around the world become disciples of Jesus.
First Baptist Church was founded by Sarah Gardner Hale in 1836. This group of believers first met in a log cabin, which served as the first house of worship in Hot Springs. The cabin also served as the schoolhouse until it burned in 1860. Built in 1862 near where the Hale Bath House is currently located, the second house of worship had a baptistry in a hot spring under the building. This building burned in 1878.
The congregation met in the city hall until a third building was built in 1881 at Quapaw and Prospect Avenues at a cost of $1,800. It burned in 1905. A fourth building was completed in 1912 at the corner of Court and Exchange. It didn’t burn. A lawyer’s office now stands there.
The worship center that was completed in 1961 served us well until 2007, when we tore it was torn down in preparation for a new worship center. We moved into the new facility in 2008. In addition to a 1,200-seat worship center, the new building includes a sizable addition to our nursery and preschool area, additional adult Bible study space, and a music rehearsal area.
In September 2014, the members of First Baptist undertook a bold initiative to connect with more of our neighbors in Hot Springs than ever before. By creating two Sunday morning sessions for Connect Groups, small group Bible study and relationship opportunities for all ages, and two different worship service formats, the members of First Baptist doubled our church’s capacity to welcome new friends from our city. An unprecedented season of growth accompanied this forward-thinking strategy.
The church added additional adjacent property to its campus in the summer of 2015. Plans are underway to add much-needed parking and improved entryways to our campus. A two-year capital campaign, All In, will provide the resources for parking improvements as well as retire all existing debt. Once again, the members of First Baptist demonstrate their willingness to give sacrificially to make room for people who need Jesus.