Greater First Church is a progressive and hospitable congregation located in the heart of Baker, a connecting city to the north of Baton Rouge. She was organized on May 14, 2006 in Baton Rouge by our visionary Pastor Anthony Kelley and former members of Mount Zion First Baptist Church located in downtown Baton Rouge. In 2004 Pastor Kelley was called from Gary, Indiana, where he served for 13 years as Pastor and Teacher of Van Buren Missionary Baptist Church, to fill the vacancy left by Dr. T.J. Jemison upon his retirement. After a year of fruitful service and growth tension developed between the Pastor and Trustee Board as to who gives the Vision for God’s Church and her new direction. Pastor Kelley operating under biblical and theological precedents and mandates of Habakkuk 2:2,3; and Acts 20:28, unable to resolve differences, resigned and left along with one third of the active membership and organized the Greater First Church Baptist to engage in a more hospitable and progressive ministry.
Since our humble beginnings, and commitment to developing and implementing a new direction in Christian Ministry that embraces community, cooperation, competence, and character as her garments, our budding legacy continues as seen when in less than three years after organization, purchased two buildings on our new church campus to include a Sanctuary and Fellowship and Activity Center. It was later named in honor of the memory and outstanding contributions as Charter members and national education pioneers of excellence in our church and nation in the persons of Dr. Emmett W. Bashful and Dr. Huel D. Perkins. We continue to serve our community through benevolence; mission and evangelistic outreach, positive youth development activities and events including mentoring services, public safety/crime prevention/prison and criminal justice challenges; and family preservation ministries as our church family continues to grow by God’s grace and mercy.
We believe that when you learn to yield to the majesty and will of God in all aspects of our lives we will indeed prosper in all things as God would have us to do. Jesus said, “I come that you may have life and that more abundantly.”— John 10:10
As a constituent member of the National Baptist Convention, we hold to the Articles of Faith of our historical tradition. While many people are looking for alternative ways and structures to share the essence of their faith and practice despite denominational affiliation, tradition, culture, ethnicity and racial background, we believe that as a predominately African-American Community of Faith, the Church-in-the-Black-Experience historically has been and must continue to be that sacred round where celebration, liberation, and adaptation are unique forms of her spirituality and sacred heritage. All are welcome to join us on this fascinating journey of faith and freedom in light of your tradition, culture, ethnicity and racial background.
The Mission of the Greater First Church is to win persons in establishing a meaningful and life changing relationship with Jesus Christ while helping them to identify their gifts; equipping them to find their place in the Body of Christ; and engaging in ministries that seek to make the wounded whole and bring glory to God.
21st Century Vision and Ministry Plan Executive Summary
Greater First Church recognizes that there are two sides of the Church’s life. First is the internal side which makes compassionate disciples for Jesus Christ by helping people to take the next step to maturity in Christ. The second is the external side of the Church’s life which moves God’s people beyond its hallowed walls and engages in ministries that meet people where they are, and like Christ, in order to bring them spiritual, social, economic and psychological health and wholeness.
Greater First Church recognizes also that she has a responsibility to establish an environment that encourages people to be the best and do their best as God intended. Therefore, the 21st Century Progressive Vision Plan and New Direction Humanitarian Project has developed a unique approach to accomplish this by building or creating a progressive combination of “Centers” specially designed to offer patrons a place to worship and partake of an array of activities and services, in addition to its existing traditional church ministries, in an esthetically appealing, comfortable and safe environment.
Greater First Church would operate each of the “Centers” under individual program structures appropriate for that particular program. More importantly, “the Centers” would operate in a manner that makes them self-sufficient through income producing activities, services and events. This is vital to the overall viability of the Greater First Church. In short, its program strategy would employ a multi-faceted method to maintain and grow an operationally sound and worthwhile ministry, and develop capacity to sustain its humanitarian outreach plan and service. Each “Center” is complimentary to the other. For example, Family Life Center and Banquet Hall; Excellence Academy Christian School; Conference and Retreat Center; Assisted Living and Transitional Housing Center; Recreation Center; Child Development Center; Youth Activity and Reclamation Center; Transportation and Travel Center; Executive Center; and Retail Shopping Center and Movie Theater and Grocery Store.
The LONG RANGE 21st Century Progressive Vision Plan and New Direction Humanitarian Project, l undoubtedly will ensure personal and church growth and development for the current and future generations of competent, caring, and committed members of the Greater First Church Family who desire to move to A HIGHER LEVEL of Church Mission and Ministry of reconciliation and peace.
“Write the Vision; make it plain on tablets, so that the runner may read it…If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay” -- Habakkuk 2:2, 3