fbc moline

First Baptist Church logo

Show/Hide Navigation

Our Story

First Baptist Church of Moline was founded on June 1, 1852, by 18 charter members. It was a merger of two Baptist churches. The congregation previously had gathered for worship in a hall and was aided by the Baptist Home Mission Society. The first church building was built on the corner of Bass Street and Ann Avenue – now called 17th Street and 6th Avenue. This is the spot where the new police station now stands. A 750-pound bell was bought a year later for $223. It still hangs in the bell tower at this church.

Church member H. H. Grover, a former Moline school superintendent,organized the nation’s first Baptist Young People’s Union in the mid 1870’s. The popularity of the young people’s group and the church’s continued growth made space a problem, and a new church was built and dedicated in 1886. A Sunday School annex was added in 1910 and the church basement was excavated a few years later to make more space for additional classrooms. This was no easy task as the dirt in the basement was so hard that the men had to use picks to loosen the dirt, then shovel it into buckets.

First Baptist Church continued to grow, led by pastors, described by historical accounts as “predominately evangelical.” Special evangelistic meetings were common. Billy Sunday undoubtedly added support to these endeavors in 1922 when he brought his crusade to the area for seven weeks and attracted overflow crowds.

On October 26, 1927, Mr. and Mrs. L.L. Greenfield donated a gift of $500 for a new building fund. At that time there had arisen a desire among individual members for a new and larger church building. This desire did not take definite shape until later. A lot was purchased by the church on December 7, 1949, at 1901 29th Street, and in 1950 a drive was undertaken for funds for a new building. Many members wanted to know why we bought property that was way up on the hill and so far away from anything.

On September 11, 1955 ground was broken for our new church. The cornerstone was laid on April 8, 1956. The progress of the building was watched with keen interest by members and friends of the church. Work continued on the church along with regular church programs being conducted at the old church. The old building served the church until 1957 when the present church was completed. January 20, 1957 marked the last service in our old church on 17th Street and 6th Avenue.

On January 21st, volunteers, some with trucks, assembled to help in the moving from the old church to the new church. Some loaded furnishings while others unloaded and others unpacked at the new church. The moving took about a week to complete as most of the work was done in the evening. Rev. Elwood Wylie, pastor at the time, said in a sermon, “the soaring sweep of our sanctuary ceiling and the trusses draw our eyes and hearts upward to worship Him who is high and lifted up.”

God has blessed this church with a number of wonderful pastors over the years. Rev. Audley Bruce served from 1964 to 1972. Rev. Tom Bailey served from 1980 to 2000, when he retired.Rev. Dan Cole served as pastor until June 2007, and now we’re grateful to have Rev. Dr. Flint Miller as pastor. The Lord continues to lead and actively work among His people in Moline, just as He has done for over 167 years.