the story of first baptist church salado


May 28, 1864, a group of 11 “single” people gathered in the chapel of Salado College for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church…Records state that after a series of meetings, the group “decided in all due deference to the good brethren and sisters belonging to the old organization that it would be best to begin anew.” 11 people then stepped out on faith and courage to lay the foundation for a church that would eventually become a spiritual stronghold in the village of Salado.

That church is this church. That’s what got us here - a legacy of trailblazing, of going in ways never gone before. Just listen to the description of the first 3 pastors of our church:

W.W. Harris, Pastor, June 1864 - considered one of the ablest and most eccentric preachers of early-day Texas; a dynamic speaker, well versed in Scripture, He was considered “a starter.” Therefore he readily accepted the challenge of starting a new Baptist church in the frontier area of Central Texas.

Ambrose Elledge, Pastor, November 1865 - a reputation of being “sound in doctrine and strict in discipline.” A rough-and-tumble sort of fellow, it is said that he met his opposition with a Bible clenched in one hand and a tightened fist in the other. If he couldn’t get his point across with the Bible, he tried his fist. Elledge once said, “When God had rough work to do, He choserough workmen [to do it.]”

George Washington Baines, Pastor, February 1868 - a man of action, determination, and leadership. He cut and rafted timber to pay for his college tuition, he founded churches, he chartered organizations, he led institutions (like serving as Baylor President.) He was great-grandfather of future U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson and he had a lifelong friendship with General Sam Houston. In fact, our Pastor Baines counseled Sam Houston about baptism after Houston accepted Christ. As a result, Sam Houston was baptized in the last decade of his life, not by Baines, but by our current Pastor’s ancestor, Rufus C. Burleson, who was pastor of the Independence Baptist Church where Sam Houston was attending at the time.

Now friends, that’s a legacy! A legacy of pacesetters, of innovators, of bold pioneers doing God’s work in this region. Look around, it’s our name – the FIRST Baptist Church of Salado! From the history book titled “Building His Kingdom” written by our own churchmember Charlene Carson:

The story of a church is...the story of God's interaction with people. In the early years of Salado Baptist Church of Christ, God interacted with circuit rider preachers and early settlers of Salado to lay the foundation for what was to become the First Baptist Church of Salado, Texas.

First Baptist Church, Salado...has experienced many noteworthy changes during its 154 years as a church. Even the name has changed, twice. Through all the changes, however, the church has been blessed with a spirit of unity and purpose. This spirit has enabled the church to build and grow and become a spiritual stronghold in the village of Salado. The legend that Salado Creek possessed "special curative powers?" It happens regularly on the north side of the Creek at FBC. God is moving and people are responding!

The story of a church is...the story of God's interaction with people. We are the people. It is now our turn to be the teachers, youth workers, children's workers, deacons, missionaries, givers, and church builders. It is now our turn to uphold the legacy of steadfastness, determination, and faithfulness. May we uphold that legacy with a renewed energy and excitement as we pray and plan and continue to build His Kingdom!

Prof. James Lowry Smith,    Principal of Salado College and charter member of First Baptist Church, 1864.

Prof. James Lowry Smith,

Principal of Salado College and charter member of First Baptist Church, 1864.

 
Salado College.    The original structure of the college building was the ell shaped structure to the right. The college chapel was located on first floor on the far right side of the building.

Salado College.

The original structure of the college building was the ell shaped structure to the right. The college chapel was located on first floor on the far right side of the building.

Salado Baptist Church with Masonic Lodge Hall on top, 1878 - 1958.

Salado Baptist Church with Masonic Lodge Hall on top, 1878 - 1958.

First Baptist Church, 2001- Present.

First Baptist Church, 2001- Present.

Updated: 11/15/2018