Skip to main content

FBC in the Haverhill Gazette

FBC gets Front Page coverage on our 250 year anniversary and our goal to impact Haverhill for Jesus!  Here is the original article I wrote for the paper, part of which was used.  We also appeared in the editorial concerning our city's Heroin Fight

What's all that construction at First Baptist Church all about?

You know, the tall red brick one on Main Street?  You may have noticed the new parking lot across from the CVS on Arlington Street.  You may also have noticed the drywall trucks, the heating system vehicles and the A/V equipment vans parked out front.  It’s the place that offers free clothes and bathroom supplies during the week, and free meals on Sunday afternoon.  You may have thought, “What is going on at that church?”

First Baptist Church is an old church

This year we celebrate our 250 year anniversary.  Yes, you read that right.  Back in 1765 a fiery Baptist pastor by the name of Hezekiah Smith founded the first Baptist church in Haverhill, aptly named First Baptist Church.  Our church charter is signed by John Hancock, at the time, governor of Massachusetts.  The church has an unbroken line of members dating back to before the Declaration of Independence, through the Civil War, onto both World Wars, enduring the Great Depression and witnessing the events of September 11, 2001. 
Architectural buffs will easily note that the current building at 217 Main Street is not the original facility.  Actually, it is the church’s fourth building.  However, the current building does possess some historic significance.  Built in 1882, it was built to seat over a thousand attendees, complete with balconies and a choir loft.  The stained glass windows can sometimes be seen lit up at night during an evening concert or Christmas Eve service.

First Baptist Church is a new church

Yet, even as we celebrate our history, we have chosen not to live in the past.  We want to be a church that is ministering to Haverhill here and now, seeking to reconnect people with God today.  I’ve been the Lead Pastor for four years now, still enjoying my mid-30s.  My call here, I believe, was a crucial turning point for the church—a clear decision by the members to think of the next generation.  Since then, we have added new staff, created new ministries like Kid Town to minister to children during the Worship Service and we are pushing forward to be missional, outreach-focused. 
There was a time when we considered a move to the suburbs, building a facility from the ground and then coming into downtown only every so often for a night out at the Tap or Krueger’s, or to pay our excise taxes.  But downtown is where we need to be, sitting tall on Main Street next to City Hall and a block away from the Public Library.  This is where the action is, where the people are, and where needs are greatest.  We want to be a light to Haverhill, our city, our community. 

So don’t be a stranger; stop in for a visit.  Better yet, join us on a Sunday.  Stop in our church café for a cup of coffee and check out John Hancock’s signature on the wall (a copy of course), and then come right into our 19th century sanctuary, equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video.  We want to reconnect you to Jesus, who doesn’t change though times and seasons turn.


Popular posts from this blog

The 'Greatest' Theologian/Preacher/Christian Philosopher

Here's a fun little discussion for us. Who is the greatest theologian since the apostle Paul? Sounds too subjective, but here are some criteria to evaluate by: 1) Personal life - Did this person's personal character reflect his convictions effectively? 2) Breadth of Influence - How wide and long has this person's influence effected the church and the world? 3) Depth of thought - How careful, biblical, and articulate were this persons's works? My vote to come...

Remember Miss Bates from Mere Christianity

C. S. Lewis imagines two people: one Miss Bates, a naturally cranky unkind woman who becomes a Christian and the other Dick Firkin, a naturally friendly kind person who has not yet become a Christian. “Christian Miss Bates may have an unkinder tongue than unbelieving Dick Firkin. That, by itself, does not tell us whether Christianity works. The question is what Jane’s tongue would be like if she were not a Christian and what Dick’s would be like if he became one. Miss Bates and Dick, as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so. What you have a right to ask is whether that management, if allowed to take over, improves the concern. Everyone knows that what is being managed in Dick Firkin’s case is much ‘nicer’ than what is being managed in Miss Bates’. That is not the point. To judge the management of a factory, you must consider not only the

Does Church History Matter?

In a so called unprecedented age, where all of Christianity is re-inventing itself, and all of Christian doctrine is up for re-writing , one must ask the question "Does church history matter?" (Just to write this almost makes me cringe at how unbelievably near-sighted my generation has become!) If we say 'yes it matters' too emphatically, the response will be "Why are you Protestants then?" Didn't Luther radically depart from centuries of theological teaching. One common criticism against Luther (and the Reformation) was "Can you alone be right and the whole world be wrong?" And, when Luther talks about Sola Scriptura, isn't he saying Scripture is all that matters? A few things about Luther. First, his Sola Scriptura argument was not that Scripture is the only authority for the church, but that Scripture alone is the final authority for the church. According to Luther, there can be, indeed should be, lesser authorities, including pasto