Who We Are: A Brief History
First Baptist Church Liberty City was organized as Memorial Baptist Church in 1934 with Russell Taylor as its first Pastor. It was located 4 miles NW of Kilgore on land owned by Mr. & Mrs. V. L. Taylor on Spinks Chapman Rd. In 1936 the church petitioned into the Soda Lake Association of the Southern Baptist Convention. By 1939 the name of the church had been changed to East Sabine Baptist Church.
1940’s-1970’s: A Time of Growth
The next four decades saw an era of growth and change for the church. During this time nearly a dozen Pastors and Interim Pastors shepherded the church. The staff positions of Music Director, Church Custodian, Youth Director, and Assistant Pastor were added to the church. In 1956, the church became a member of the Gregg Baptist Association. In 1963, property was purchased and a parsonage was built on Debbie Street. By 1968, the church had relocated to its current location, built a new sanctuary, and became the Sabine Baptist Church. The church continued to refine who God was calling them to be, and in 1970, took on the name First Baptist Church of Liberty City.
1980’s: Children, Youth and Family Ministry
As the church continued to grow and expand, the Lord directed the church to grow its children’s and youth ministries. In 1982, the Mother’s Day Out program began. It continues to minister to families in the church and community. The following year the Lord brought a young Pastor, Bruce Wells, his wife Patsy, and their two children, to be part of this growing ministry. Seeing the need for a facility to minister to families with young children, the Atrium was completed in 1985. By 1987, a spiritual awakening was taking place among young married couples in the church. That same year the church started a new children’s program, Kids for Christ, and also began building a new gymnasium.
1990’s: Missions and Outreach
The decade of the 1990’s started out with a new name and in many ways a new heart. 1990 began with the church voting to slightly alter the name of the church to First Baptist Church Liberty City. Two weeks later a great revival occurred among the youth, changing lives and bringing many to the Lord. This caused such growth that services were moved to the gym. In September of 1991, sensing that God was leading the church into missions and ministry, the church leaders signed a covenant to do whatever the Lord leads the church to do. This resulted in the formation of a Missions Committee. Over the next 25 years, dozens of mission trips and more ministries than could be listed here have resulted from this covenant. In 1992, the church made a commitment to become a house of prayer. That same year the position of Minister of Education & Administration was added to the church staff.
2000 – Present: A Pattern of Prayer
After a season of prayer in the summer of 2000, the church reaffirmed 3 distinctive areas of God’s call for FBCLC to be (1) a house of prayer, (2) missions minded, and (3) a lighthouse to western Gregg County. In September of 2000, the church voted to establish an Elder Board. Plans were also made to proceed on a new worship center. Groundbreaking for the worship center was on Pentecost Sunday, 2004. The new worship center was dedicated “For the Glory of God Alone,” on July 10, 2005.
In the fall of 2014, after 32 years of ministry at First Baptist Church Liberty City, Bruce and Patsy Wells announced their intention to retire. The church began a season of intentional and focused prayer asking for God’s man as Pastor for First Baptist Church Liberty City. God answered those prayers, and in May of 2015, the church called Paul Michael Vacca as Pastor. Paul Michael, Katie, and their four children began their ministry at FBCLC in June 2015. In October of 2018, the church adopted an updated mission statement as follows: “FBC Liberty City exists to see lives transformed for the glory of God alone.”