Called to Be
People of GOd
Whether you’re new to the community or have lived in Martinsville or Henry County for many years, you are welcome here. First Baptist Church is a community church, serving our city and county with love and hope. Come, join us as we journey together in faith. Your hopes, your dreams, your joys, your fears, and your doubts are all a welcome part of the journey.
See what our church is doing
Located at the corner of Mulberry Road and Starling Avenue, you’ll find a family of faith worshiping together each Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary with a blend of traditional and contemporary elements, as well as space for children to participate fully in worship time and age-appropriate children’s church. You’ll also find small groups to study the Bible, explore theology, and grow in Christian community. You’ll find new children’s ministries, retirement-age ministries, and missions ministries. You’ll find pastoral care and inter-generational support. You’ll find an award-winning Early Learning Center ministry. You’ll find the Body of Christ here. Come and see what our church is doing – and join us!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you Southern Baptist?
Well, we are in the South, and we are Baptist. But no, we associate with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, not the Southern Baptist Convention. The main difference is that we ordain women to all forms of ministry, and we consider that part of God’s call and giftedness for women. That being said, historically the church was Southern Baptist and owes its heritage to that denomination.
So, what is a Cooperative Baptist?
Unlike the Catholic Church, there is no such thing as the Baptist Church. There are only Baptist churches. Each church is locally autonomous and governs itself (no bishops or diocese tell us what we do or don’t do). This “Free Church” tradition means every church organizes itself and may look very different from another Baptist church up the street. All the believers in a congregation work together democratically to make decisions and be on mission together to do God’s work in this world. And, as locally autonomous congregations, Baptist churches join together to work for larger mission projects. For that, we associate with the Henry County Baptist Association (local), Baptist General Association of Virginia & Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (state) and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (national). We fund mission efforts like missionaries, disaster relief, advocacy, and other good work. We also partner with other nonprofit organizations that fit our theology and mission, focusing on who’s doing good work already that we can support.
What exactly do Baptists believe?
Well, as many different kinds of Baptist churches there are, there are exponentially many more Baptist believers, and as believers, each one has the right to read and interpret Scripture for her- or himself. That being said, there are some historic core Baptist beliefs:
Soul Freedom. Each person is responsible for
Religious Liberty for All. Because each person is responsible for his or her own relationship with God, it is essential that no person or human institution, particularly government, be a coercive influence either in support of or in opposition to the faith practices of people. Each individual must be afforded the right to define
Sufficiency of Scripture with Christ as the Lens for Interpretation. The Bible is the supreme theological determinant of our beliefs. All creeds or statements of belief, including this one, are secondary
Believer’s Baptism by Immersion. While First Baptist receives into membership all Christians who have professed faith in Jesus Christ and have been baptized, by any method, as a sign of their faith, our normative practice for new believers is rooted in our Baptist heritage. In that tradition, baptism follows a voluntary profession of faith. Believer’s baptism is a symbol of the death and burial of the individual’s “old life” and the resurrection of the person to their “new life” bestowed through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Consistent with the koiné Greek word on which the word “baptize” is based, baptism is performed by full immersion of the individual.
What does a worship service look like?
Our church follows the church liturgical year of the Christian church, joining with Christians all over the world to mark the seasons of the year together.
In our traditional worship service in the Sanctuary at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, we walk together through most of Scripture following the lectionary and celebrate with Christians of many different denominations the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Sanctuary worship here is what most would call “traditional” with hymns, an organ, and choir anthems. Chosen with utmost care to remember the Scripture and the season, these parts of worship bring us together to learn and to praise God together. But the message and the company is always contemporary – we believe that our faith not only looks back to the past in the Bible, but forward into our community and our world. Church and worship happen not only in our beautiful sanctuary, but in the ways we live our lives in this world.
In our more relaxed outdoor service “The Open Church” on the front plaza on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., we still mark most church year high points together by looking at the same scriptures, but we do so in a much more conversational way, with music that is more contemporary and an atmosphere that is casual and laid-back. We talk through life and faith together, and we invite all who come to be an active part of worship when we gather in this way.