The First Baptist Church of Ocean Springs is a local church that believes with an uncompromising passion that the Cross of the Lord Jesus is what saves us. Our security rests in the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. Ours is more than a temporal security, it is an eternal security. Our salvation is as secure just as the promises of God are sure. We recognize that the Cross not only saves us and secures us; it also summons us. It summons us to a life of dying to self. It summons us to be on mission with God. It summons us to the ministry of reconciliation. The Cross summons us to exalt the Savior, evangelize the sinner and edify the saints. We hear the summons of the Cross and strive to fulfill it with all our resources.
The following is a brief outline of what we believe as a body of Christians called First Baptist Church, Ocean Springs. See Baptist Faith & Message as approved June 14, 2000 for a complete review of our statement of beliefs:
We believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life. We believe a personal relationship must be established by each individual by repenting of sin and trusting Christ as Lord and Savior. We do not inherit our Christianity from our parents, nor do we obtain it through an association with the church. It is an individual's decision to receive God's grace through faith. Jesus is the focus of everything we do or believe. In the life of every believer, Jesus Christ is the LORD of every aspect of life.
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, Who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
We believe that every Christian has direct access to God through Jesus Christ. We do not have to go through someone else to confess our sins or to pray to God. All Christians are to be ministers. We each have different roles of leadership in the church, but with every Christian being called to be a minister within and through a local body of Christian Believers.
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
From our Mission Statement we are to:
Win the lost through Evangelism
Disciple the Believer
Serve as an action of obedience
First Baptist Church began in 1832, when on September 8; the Tidewater Baptist Church was organized in the home of Sarah Davis. Nine Members constituted the membership, with Elder George Davis being the pastor.
The minutes of the church from 1832 until 1853 were kept in a small book preserved and highly prized by the church. It was kept in the historical archives at Mississippi College. In January 1862 the War Between the States ended the church services for a period of time with no record being recorded again until April 1872. The church name was changed from Tidewater Baptist Church to Ocean Springs Baptist Church in 1874.
In 1876 a sanctuary was erected at the head of Jackson Avenue where First Federal Savings and Loan is now located. In 1906 during a storm this building was completely demolished. From that time until 1909 no regular services are recorded. With the destruction of this building, the members of the church were untiring in their efforts toward the construction of a new building. The Ladies Aid Society was the primary force in raising the funds for the new building. Land on Porter Street was donated and in 1909 the church was built with very little help from the outside.
Some time in 1933, the church name was changed to First Baptist Church and over the years additional buildings were added. Today the congregation of First Baptist Church worships in a Sanctuary that was dedicated Easter day 1969.
The current church campus consists of four buildings. The Worship Center building "A" houses the Sanctuary, offices and music suite. Our Education Building is a two story structure that houses classroom for the elementary through sixth grade students as well as all adult classes. The preschool children and the church's Early Education Center (EEC) are also located in our Education Building. The "Powerhouse" is our youth building and houses classrooms, worship space and recreational and meeting areas for youth from the seventh grade to high school seniors. The Activities Building is located on the East side of Bellande, and houses the fellowship hall and kitchen space.
On November 16, 2003 the church voted to enter into a Master Building and Planning program, that has led to the construction of several new buildings and renovation of our church offices, Sanctuary and Education Building. During the early months of 2004 the church entered into the first phase of a capital funding program for the building of the first phase of the Master Plan. The first phase includes a new building to house the preschool and elementary programming of First Baptist church. This new construction brought about the expansion of the Education Building to include all adult education space along with preschool and elementary education classrooms. Future construction will house additional education space, new offices, a new fellowship center and a building dedicated to the middle school and High School students.