On April 9, 1890, the Festus Baptist Church was organized with 28 charter members. J.P. McKay, a circuit riding missionary, was elected as its first pastor. Once a month preaching services were held. The church was admitted in the Jefferson Baptist Association in September 1890. They began looking for a suitable location for its first building. The Methodists and Presbyterians allowed the Baptists to use their buildings for six years. In the spring of 1893 the lot on the corner of Gray and Moore Streets in Festus was purchased for $325. In the spring of 1896 the church building was completed for a cost of $1,360.
The church voted to have two Sunday services each month in 1906 and in 1912 the Rev. J.M. Pepper became the first full-time pastor. In 1923 the church changed its location to the present site and name to First Baptist Church of Festus-Crystal City. A new structure was built on the corner of Truman and Bailey that same year. The present auditorium was completed in 1956 and the education addition completed in 1965. The Hammon Hall addition including handicap accessibility was completed in 1991.
Missions’ involvement and financial support are ways the church has demonstrated their commitment through the years in our community. New work starts include: Pevely, 1916; South Crystal City, 1941; Bluff City (now Second Baptist), 1943; Emmanuel, 1958; and Alpine, 1965. In more recent years, it was the sponsoring church for the Bloomsdale Baptist Mission and has been involved in numerous construction and youth mission projects.
First Baptist Church has embraced a multifaceted ministry approach. Christian education programs include Bible study, Christian Life Training, missions education, support groups, and Awana Clubs. Media ministries include video taped worship services and live radio broadcast on Sunday at 11:00 a.m., KJFF 1400.