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Our Legacy

First Baptist Church is part of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. (www.abc-usa.org) and participates actively in the area, regional, and national organizations. Our church was established in 1843 by a small group of people who saw the need to establish a Baptist congregation in this community.


Whether it was our ministry in helping to establish what is now Decatur Memorial Hospital, or selling the "secret recipe" roasted peanuts to pay the interest on the church mortgage during the depression, or following God's leading in moving to a new location, the congregation of First Baptist Church continues to serve as God directs. Faithful saints are one of our best assets: their legacy of Godly lives lived in service and ministry remind us of what Jesus taught: "Whatever you have done unto Me,  you have done it to the least of these."


First Baptist Church continues to adapt as we meet the needs of the community around us while trusting in the ever-unchanging truths found in God's Word.


175 years  Of ministry

First Baptist Church was established in 1843.  


It was an alert, aggressive group, all in their thirties or early forties, that gathered in the home of David Allen on a September afternoon nearly 175 years ago. Elder Dodge, the pastor, of the Springfield Church, was there with a group of believers who had been baptized into membership at the Springfield Church, Now they had letters of dismissal, for they were ready to launch a new church in Decatur which began on September 14, 1843.


Throughtout the generations, the congregation of First Baptist Church sought to serve God and minister to the greater Decatur community.  Many examples of sacrificial service are part of this congregation's legacy.  From their instrumental efforts in helping to establish the first Macon County Hospital (now called Decatur Memorial Hospital) to the founding of other Baptist congregations in our community, the members of First Baptist Church endeavored to put their faith into action that significantlyleft its handprint upon our community. 


Our Buildings  1855 - present

Work was started on the first building in 1855 and completed in 1857.  This served as the first church home until June 25, 1925.  The property at 401 West Prairie was dedicated on April 18, 1926 and served as our church home until October 30, 2005.  Our current facility is on a ten-acre plot and features great accessibility and parking.

American baptist ChurchES

ABC Churches usa

ABC USA Mission Statement


American Baptists are a Christ-centered, Biblically grounded, ethnically diverse people called to radical personal discipleship in Christ Jesus. Our commitment to Jesus propels us to nurture authentic relationships with one another; build healthy churches; transform our communities, our nations and our world; engage every member in hands-on ministry; and speak the prophetic word in love.


As a people of prayer, purpose, and passion, we are in the forefront of creating a community of faith where people of every race, nationality and culture gather as one in worship, service and work.


The heart of the gospel is God’s redemptive love. In our life together, the world will see the power of forgiveness to overcome alienation, the strength of love to transform hate, the power of grace to break the bonds of guilt, the triumph of hope over despair, and the victory of faith over doubt.


Through the cross of Christ we embrace the world as neighbor. Our vision for mission energizes a multitude of servant ministries of evangelism, discipleship, leadership, new church development, social justice, healing, peacemaking, economic development and education. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we work together in mutual submission, humility, love, and giving that the gospel might be preached and lived in all the world.



ABC Great Rivers Region

ABC GRR

American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region is a resource for challenging, empowering, assisting and representing the American Baptist faith communities in Illinois (excluding Cook, DuPage and Lake counties) and Missouri as we live out our ministry together.


We are 50,000 members in over 200 diverse congregations representing many ethnic backgrounds.