We are a conservative, separatist Baptist church of fundamentalist lineage. We practice the faith once for all delivered for the saints according to the Scriptures and in a way that we hope saints of bygone eras would not find completely foreign. In our ministry, we deliberately seek to avoid entertainment and popular amusement to see Christ build his church. Instead, we hold high the Word of God as the way of bringing salvation to those who have not yet professed faith in Christ and growing saints in the grace of Christ.
Growing out of a Methodist work that began in Minnesota Falls, First Baptist was organized Nov. 29, 1878 with nine charter members. They met in the old court house until, on Sep. 3, 1882, they completed a house of worship on “Baptist Hill,” a corner lot on 9th Avenue (across the street and a little east of Granite Falls Lutheran). Despite much financial hardship, the congregation persevered. They first installed electric lights in 1898, stained glass windows in 1900, and in 1912, they built a parsonage. But in 1913, the church took a turn that nearly ended in its dissolution.
On Sep. 20, 1913, First Baptist began sharing their pastor with the Congregational church. The two churches worshiped together, alternating locations each Sunday. Jan. 22, 1920, this relationship was formalized with articles of federation. But by 1927, First Baptist had shrunk to 12 members. Some in the federation wanted to close the Baptist church entirely and sell its property. In Sep. 1927, the Baptists severed the federation and began sharing the pastor from Sparta, who attended the Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School in the Twin Cities during the week and commuted to this area by train each weekend. The church began to thrive.
The congregation worked very hard to maintain their property as it grew older. Pastor Loewens, formerly of the Mennonite Brethren church of Mountain Lake, led the church through an extensive building and repair program in 1950-1952. Adding his own personal touch, Pastor Loewens hand-crafted a pulpit, adorning it with intricate scrollwork from top to bottom and emblazoning “ihs” (the first three letters of the name “Jesus” in Greek) on the front of the reading desk. He presented it to the church during the Christmas program of Dec. 1951.
However, with a small, 77-year-old building and no room to expand, the congregation soon decided to move. They built the current house of worship in less than a year and a half, dedicating it to God on Sep. 25, 1960. Still, each Sunday morning, you can see a part of the old facility. Pastor Loewens’ beautiful pulpit is still here, lifting high the Holy Bible in all its authority and splendor.
The July, 2000 tornado damaged the meeting-house and the parsonage next-door, and the congregation worked hard to repair the damage, rebuilding the parsonage from the ground up. But the work of maintenance is never done in this world, where all creation is in bondage to decay.
By God’s grace, and for God’s glory, this church continues to bring the Gospel to Granite Falls, and continues the most important construction of all – the building up of the body of Christ with the inerrant, infallible Bible. And as we lift up our worship to God, in reverence and awe, we do so in love and gratitude for the great things he has done.