First Baptist Church – Founded in 1921
On July 28, 1921 a Baptist church of eleven members was organized as a result of the sustained efforts of Rev. L.H. Billings. Billings tried for 10 years to find financial support in order to build a permanent location. He resigned in 1930 discouraged and in ill health.
In the spring of 1931 Dr. John A. Held led a revival in Fredericksburg and on May 3rd eighteen people banded together to reconstitute the church. Rev. F.W. Bartel was called as pastor for the Fredericksburg and Boerne churches with the State Mission Board providing most of the financial support for both churches. In August of 1931, with the members providing most of the work and buying their own pews, the congregation moved into its first home. Rev. F.E. Kirchner became pastor in the fall of 1935 and ministered to the Fredericksburg, Boerne, and Comfort churches.
In December 1944, Rev. Thomas D. Dunaway became the first full time pastor and when building supplies were released after WW 2, the first parsonage was built. The pastor from April to November of 1948 was Rev. Don R. Hendricks. From 1949-1953 Rev. Ike Hargrove was pastor and the church achieved financial independence and also started a building fund.
After Rev. Hargrove left, Rev. D.B. South became interim pastor and the first deacon ordination was held. Marvin Daniel, Bennie H. Heinen, Ralph Swanson, and J. Luther Watson became the first deacon body. In 1953, the next pastor, Rev. J.M. Garner led the church to purchase the building occupied by Bethany Lutheran Church located at 107 E. Austin St. This was a time of expansion and new building projects. The congregation moved into the new location February 13, 1954. From 1955-1957 Rev. J.W. Moffitt was pastor. Rev. Glen Reddell pastored from 1957-1960 at which time Logan Templeton was ordained to the ministry and Tommy Biles was licensed to preach.
From January to September of 1961, Rev. J. Melvin Ray served as pastor. During the pastorate of Rev. J.N. Coffman, 1961-1976, a wing was added to the educational building and a new parsonage was built.
In May 1977 Rev. Robert Hahn became pastor and even more renovation was completed.
In January 1981 Melvin Fields became pastor and a full time secretary was added along with Joe Taylor being added as youth/recreation director. Rev. Raymond Woodruff pastored from February 1983 to December 1987. James Collins joined the staff in January 1985 as music and youth director. In 1985 the congregation voted to purchase 5.7 acres on highway 290 and in 1987 voted to build a new building. Dr. Ernie Wells served as interim pastor from Janurary to June 1988. Rev. Hollas Hoffman became pastor in July 1988 and the last service on Austin St. was held December 18, 1988. On Christmas morning 1988 members moved into their new home at 1407 E. Main. A new mission was organized in June 1989 in Stonewall and became a full time church.
Dr. Ernie Wells served as interim pastor from September 1990 to May 1991.
Randy Zgabay became part time youth assistant in December 1991.
Rev. Allan Knuckles served as pastor from June 1991 to December 1992 and Rev. Bob Schmeltekopf served from Janurary to March 1993.
Rev. D.G. McCoury was interim pastor from April to September 1993 and was called to full time ministry in October 1993.
The church debt was paid off in December 1995.
An additional 9.5 acres was purchased and plans were made to construct a new sanctuary with more educational space. On August 10, 1997 the ground breaking ceremony was held and on July 26, 1998 the congregation had a “Crossing Over” ceremony. The members contributed not only with tithes but also purchased pews, bibles, organ, piano, and foyer benches among other things.
In September 1998 Caryl Christensen was called as Minister of Children/Preschool and Donna Vaughan as Music Minister.
Ken Stemler was called as Pastoral Ministries Assistant in 2000.
Les and Marie Bray’s generous gift allowed construction of the Oma Lovell Activities Building in 2001. In 2008 an additional 12,000 square feet of educational space was added.
Steve Livingston was called as Assistant Pastor in February 2002.
March 2002 Sue Gustin was called as the children’s minister.
Rev. Ken Coffee was called as interim pastor in January 2004 after D.G. McCoury retired in September 2003. Dr. Don Higginbotham was called as pastor in August 2004.
Eric Odenwald was called in Novenber 2005 as full time Minister of Youth and Recreation.
Gary Covin was called as Music/Education Minister in October 2006.
In April 2010, Jake Edwards was called as Minister of Youth and Recreation. Jake accepted the call to serve as Youth Minister in another Baptist church in 2013.
In December 2013, Graham Michel was called as Minister of Youth and Recreation. Graham left to pursue other opportunities in December 2014.
In January 2011, Catherine Zenner was called as Minister to Children and Young Families.
2011 marked the 90th birthday of First Baptist Church.
In November 2013, Pastor Don Higginbotham retired. Dr. Steve Spivey was called as interim pastor from April 2014 through February 2015.
In March 2015, Tommy Russell was called and served as Senior Pastor through early April 2018.
In June 2015, Austin Loza was called as Minister for Youth and Recreation.