FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
In January 1953, the church was made aware of the work of The Southern Baptist Convention in the State of Ohio, under the direction of Dr. Ray E. Roberts. Dr. Roberts was invited to visit the new church to explain the mission of The Southern Baptist Convention. February 1953, the church voted unanimously to affiliate with the Whitewater Association of Baptists affiliated with The Southern Baptist Convention. First Baptist Church also helped in the organization of The Scioto Valley Baptist Association on January 28, 1954. At one time the location of the association office was in Athens.
In the spring of 1953, the church purchased four lots on East State Street in Athens. The first phase was constructed and dedicated July 11, 1954. Constuction began on the second phase in April 1958. This consisted of an educational unit that would house Sunday School and fellowship space. It was completed in December 1958.
In 1982, the third phase of construction began. The Sanctuary was completely remodeled, office and education space was added. Taking longer than expectd, the church voted to begin "The Completion Project" on June 6, 1984. The purpose was to raise the necessary funds to complete the project. After much sacrifical giving and working, the project was completed on December 18, 1984.
In June 1993, First Baptist Church answered another call for growth and construction. This commitment consisted of bettering the parking by paving an existing lot, maintenance of the church by replacement of the roof, equipping the educational space with air conditioning and new furnace system. The parsonage (annex) was utilized for additional Sunday School space and office facilities.
From the beginning the First Baptist Church was active in starting missions. With the aid of First Baptist Church the following churches were begun: First Baptist Church, Waverly, Ohio; First Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Ohio; First Baptist Church, Lancaster, Ohio; First Baptist Church, Woodsfield Ohio; Grace Baptist Church, Parkersburg, WV; First Baptist Church, Duncan Falls, Ohio; Zanesville Baptist Church, Zanesville, Ohio; First Baptist Church, Logan Ohio; Rolling Hills Baptist Church, Athens, Ohio; Grace Baptist Church, McArthur, Ohio and Coolville, Ohio. Out of these eleven became churches and started missions as well. Because of the efforts of the First Baptist Church many churches were started in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The ministry of this church has been one of transition. With the Athens community being a university town people come and go. Through the years almost one thousand people have become members of First Baptist Church. Several men have accepted the call of God to go into full time ministry through the work of First Baptist Church.