Our church was organized the third Sunday in January, 1898. The first services were held in a school house east of the Jayton cemetery. The Baptists of Jayton held services in this school house for nine years. There were seven charter members: Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Bilberry and daughter Sallie, Mr. and Mrs. J.E. McKinzie, and Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Moreland.
The first pastor was Bro. E.S. Bilberry and the first deacons were H.H. Bilberry and J.E. McKinzie. H.H. Bilberry also served as the first clerk.
In the year 1907 a church house was built in the southern part of Jayton, approximately two blocks west of where the water tower is presently located. This first building owned by the Baptists served as a place of worship for 29 years. It was equipped with a steeple and a bell which was rung by pulling an attached rope that extended into the foyer below.
In the year 1935, under the leadership of Pastor Fred McPherson, a new house of worship was built near the center of town. This building was formally dedicated June 14, 1942 during the pastorate of Charles N. Gilbert. Brother Fred McPherson returned to Jayton to preach the dedicatory sermon and Mr. J.M. Johnston Sr. prayed the dedicatory prayer.
The church bell from the original 1907 church building was moved to the new location and attached to a tall metal bell tower set in concrete in front of the building.
On March 22, 1959, Irving E. Looney assumed his duties as pastor, knowing it was the desire of the church to build a new and larger church building. At that time, a long-range program was initiated which included the raising of funds, meetings with men from our State Church Building Department, and employing McMurtry and Craig, architects. Through the generosity of members C.C. and Oleta York, who donated over half the necessary building funds, the church goals were soon reached. The problem of finding a location for the new church was solved when Ray and Kathryn Smith donated the land for the church, plus additional acreage for a future parsonage site.
In February 1963, the Baptists entered into a contract with Dean Williams Company to begin construction of the third (and present) church building at a location only a little more than a mile east of the birth-place of First Baptist Church.
The second church building was traded to the Assembly of God Church in exchange for their building. The Baptists used the old Assembly building for a Latin-American Mission during the 60s, and later it was sold.
Our present building contains over 8,600 square feet of floor space and has a sanctuary with a seating capacity of 244, with overflow seating in sound-equipped, glass-windowed class rooms. The stained glass windows with Bible symbols help give it an atmosphere of reverence. The building features a 42 ft. tower of four white concrete piers with solar tile and a 24 ft. covered spire above the solar tile walls. It is beautifully lighted at night.
The original church bell was moved once again to a new location and was placed in front of our new building. This bell is still used today when the children delight in ringing it as Sunday School ends.
As we reflect on our history, it is impossible to name all the devoted Christians who have served and worshiped in First Baptist Church during the past one hundred plus years. We are thankful to God for the many pastors, deacons, Sunday School teachers, committee members, musicians, members of the congregation who have been faithful in attendance, and all those who have made it possible for our church to continue it's mission of spreading the gospel and following the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have experienced growth and transition in the life of our church, but some things never change. First Baptist Church is, and always has been, a Christian fellowship that meets regularly in our building for the purpose of worshiping God and studying His word, while knowing and glorifying Jesus Christ. Our vision will remain the same throughout the generations: we desire to be a spiritually strong church, winning others to Christ while ministering to those in our community and county, and also around the world through missions.
First Baptist Church, Jayton, is indeed a "work in progress" for our Lord!
Our pastors from 1898 - 2015, in the order they served:
Jesse Burrow Ward
Clyde R. Campbell
Clarence Noel Gilbert
Roy L. Stuckey
Irving E. Looney
Murry L. Brewer
Interim Pastors include: Ed Jackson, Howard Jones, Tommy Briscoe Shawn Coleman