Our Story

The story of First Baptist Church is the legacy of God’s movement in the lives of many people, men and women, boys and girls, all followers of Jesus.  The first meeting of those believers in Sioux Falls took place in 1875 when the population of the village was 500.  Since then, we’ve been serving Christ and this growing community in Southeastern South Dakota.

Through those 140 years, the people of First Baptist have felt called to be a missional people, starting churches, supporting global missions, acting as a redeeming and reconciling force in the community, and forming Christian lives by championing discipleship.  Early in that history, First Baptist had a vision for Christian Higher Education – and in 1883, they birthed The Dakota Collegiate Institute, now known as the University of Sioux Falls. 

Core to our existence is our call to love God and love others.  We recently tapped into that calling with a new mission statement:  Loving God, Loving Others.  Our beginning and our ending is to love God and our neighbor, and in the middle, we also love – this is the simple and yet complex call of the Savior.  Love is First. Love is Last.  Love is In-Between.    

First Baptist is historically and proudly a partner in the American Baptist Churches USA.  We love sharing in the mission of Christ both globally and locally.  We thrive under the “big tent” that is ABCUSA – where freedom of soul and scripture and church and faith is celebrated and lived out.   

Lately as we have been celebrating our storied history, our present vitality and our hopeful future, we have invited people to plant their faith in an old growth forest.  First Baptist is just that – a rich forest of old growth faith.  That doesn’t mean that we have been allowed to grow undisturbed and ancient.  Old growth forests develop along a pathway that includes low-intensity and some high-intensity disturbances along the way.  We’ve been blessed by peace but not always tranquility, so we know how to weather storms.  And, old-growth ecosystems contribute to diversity and the growth of the new forest as fresh sprigs find their way to set down roots next to the old growth which knows the nearest path to water and establishes security as the root systems interlock.

If you’re looking for faith, or searching for a community of faith in which to belong – the diverse, old growth forest of First Baptist welcomes you to come and plant your faith here.