The History of
FBC DeFuniak Springs...
Although there are records of church activity as early as 1890, the Church as we know it was organized in the 1903-1904 time period. The initial First Baptist Church letter was recorded at Stetson University in 1904, and this date for record purposes has been recognized as the year of commencement for the Church.
The first church building was completed in 1904 and, through contributions to an organ fund, was furnished with a massive 13-pipe organ. The Church flourished during its first two decades, growing to over 260 members by 1924. Then, in the evening of November 24, 1926, a catastrophic fire destroyed the magnificent wooden structure. Only the pews, one piano, and the organ survived. The Church immediately formed a Building Committee, and plans for a new church building were launched. The structure was soon completed, with the first service being conducted on Christmas Day in 1927.
The Church’s success continued through the 1930s; and, on October 25, 1942, under the leadership of Pastor J.R. White, the mortgage note for the new church building was ceremonially burned. In 1945, the church sanctuary was remodeled to accommodate the increasing membership, and the front steps were modified to their current configuration.
The 1950s were years of continued growth; and in May 1959, the Church sponsored its first two missions. One was in Mossy Head and a second at Lake Stanley, DeFuniak Springs. A third mission followed at Santa Rosa Beach in March 1960. In November 1964, the Church continued its expansion with the groundbreaking for a new education building, and the structure was completed in May of 1965.
During the remainder of the 1960s and 1970s, several areas of the church building complex were remodeled and refurnished to facilitate the various church activities.
In 1989, construction of a new 600-seat sanctuary was begun, with the first service being held in the new facility in August 1993 (the note on the new sanctuary was shredded in a ceremony that took place on April 21, 2002). The Church’s fourth mission was established in August 1993 at Seagrove Beach (this mission was in partnership with First Baptist Church, Panama City).
Beginning in 2001, under the leadership of Pastor Jerry R. Chumley, the Church’s expansion continued with the purchase of additional properties and the initiation of new ministries such as the First Baptist Church Preschool, WAKJ Christian Radio Station, and the Pregnancy Support Center. On October 24, 2004, First Baptist Church celebrated one hundred years of ministering to the spiritual needs of DeFuniak Springs and the surrounding area.