First Baptist Church Pineville was founded on January 8, 1911, as Pineville Baptist Church after E.O. Ware preached at a brush arbor tabernacle on Reagan Street. J. Lee Railey, a professor at Louisiana College, became the first pastor, serving part-time. The church had 31 charter members including the hymn writer B.B. McKinney.
From 1911-1914, all services were held on the campus of Louisiana College (founded 1906). In 1914, the church moved into a humble tabernacle on Reagan Street.
In 1919, the church constructed its first permanent facility at the present location on Main Street. A substantial debt was incurred as the church fulfilled a vision to become a permanent place for life transformation in Pineville.
Several beloved pastors served the church in its early years, and the church grew with the City of Pineville and Central Louisiana. In 1946, Dr. R. Houston Smith was called as the ninth pastor. Known for preaching substance in a dignified manner, he served 26 years. Under his ministry, additional property was purchased, and the church facilities expanded drastically as the church built the building which now houses our preschool and children ministries (1952), the sanctuary (1959), and the activities building (1970). The highest attendance ever recorded was in 1958, when 1,387 people attended Sunday School.
The Cowley Adult Education Building was erected in 1980 and named in memory of long-time staff member Charles Cowley.
Dr. N. Larry Baker, Pastor from 1988-1997, led the church in extensive renovations of the sanctuary and education buildings during his ministry.
In 2006, after forty years of decline and a church split, the church entered a transitional interim period. This challenging season of the church’s history resulted in a renewed dependence upon God and a new vision for the future. Dr. Reggie Ogea, a professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, served as Interim Pastor.
Dr. Stewart Holloway was called as Pastor in August, 2008. Since that time, the church’s ministries and staff have been rebuilt, attendance has grown substantially, and the church has invested $5 million in renovations.
Since 1911, our church’s greatest days have been marked by decisive faith and strategic vision. We embrace that legacy today, and are building upon it for a bright and effective future.