In the fall of 1916, the church was organized as a Mission by Rev. A. M. Bennett assisted by Rev. Peelman. There were seven charter members, 4 by baptism; Mr. & Mrs. Robert Roberts, Mrs. Joe (Susie) Booth, Mrs. Belle Brown Kennon, 2 by letter Mrs. W.H. (Jane) Brown, Mrs. Ruby Brown Baucom and 1 by restoration, the records don’t give this person’s name, but it is believed to be Mr. Joe Booth. The church was organized in an old school building which stood on school property (which was deeded to the Collier County School Board for School only) at the corner of Highway 29 and Immokalee Drive. This is a drawing of the old Immokalee Elementary School. It burned years later. The property was sold and a McDonalds was built on it. How ironic, the property that was formerly used to feed the brain and is now used to feed the body.
In 1925, the First Baptist Church of Fort Myers, Florida gave to the Immokalee Church 5 acres of land where the cemetery is now on North 11th Street. In the same year a letter was sent to the Peace River Baptist Association asking to become a member of the association. At the fiftieth annual session of the Peace River Baptist Association, Rev. W.B. Davidson presented a letter requesting that First Baptist Church of Immokalee be allowed to become a member of the Peace River Association. As the information in the letter was complete as to what the church believed, on October 1, 1925 they were received as a member of the body of the Peace River Baptist Association.The church wanted to have their own building for worship and so to start building on their first structure they appointed three men to serve as trustees of the project. They were as follows: James Gouldin, J. I. Widden, Robert Roberts.
In 1928 the first church building was built on five acres of land, donated by the First Baptist Church of Fort Myers, Florida, that is now the site of the church cemetery on North 11th Street. The cost of the building was $616.00. It was a frame structure 30 feet by 40 feet.
This is a resolution adopted by First Baptist Church in 1937 because of a concern for the moral decline of their city and county:
To the HON. Sam Fish, Justice of the Peace and the HON. Ralph Walker, Constable and Deputy Sheriff of Immokalee, Collier County, FL.
Whereas, there exists a considerable amount of law violations in Immokalee among which is the operation of Bar Rooms, Beer Gardens, Stores and so called Jooks on Sundays which is contrary to the Laws of the State of Florida and detrimental to the moral and religious life of the community.
Therefore, be it further resolved that the law abiding citizens of this church will co-operate with the officers of the law to the best of their ability in the enforcement of the law.
Passed in regular Conference of this church this the 4th day of July AD 1937.
Grady A. Smith
In 1942 a mission was started on the Big Cyprus Indian reservation and was dedicated as a church in 1948. This mission was sponsored by First Baptist Church of Immokalee and First Baptist Church of LaBelle.
The Original church building was moved in 1944 to the property on Main Street. In 1952, they broke ground for a new church building and it was completed late that same year debt free.
The Spanish Baptist Mission began in the original church building, which had been moved to North Second Street. In 1954, the educational complex was completed at the church on Main Street.
In 1957 First Baptist Church along with ten other churches and 3 missions felt that the time had come to organize their own association. At the Annual Meeting of the Peace River Association at First Baptist Church of Nocatee on October 16, 1957, during the morning session the churches of the south group were granted permission to withdraw from the Peace River Association in order to constitute a new association. The Royal Palm Baptist Association was officially organized on October 17, 1957, at Riverside Baptist Church in Fort Myers, Florida.
In 1960, the Friendship Baptist Church was organized out of the First Baptist Church. The church is still located on North 11th Street today.
In 1967, First Baptist purchased a concrete block building on North Second Street that formerly housed the Church of God; this building was purchased for the Spanish Baptist Mission to use.
Also in 1967, First Baptist voted to purchase 8.3 acres of land on the corner of highway 29 and Lake Trafford Road, this is the site of the present church building.
In 1976 the original church building was situated just behind the sanctuary on Main Street and was used for youth activities.
In 1979 Glendale Baptist Mission, an African American congregation, became part of the ministry of First Baptist church. On May 12, 1986 they moved into the present building.
Between 1999 and 2000, First Baptist Church baptized so many new converts that it was ranked in the top 50 Southern Baptist Churches in America for number of per capita baptisms in a single year. This was due in part to some dynamic outreach and evangelism by a handful of faithful members, and special events held at the church.
"Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames" was one of the evangelistic events that was used during that time. It was a play that depicted several short scenes of people just before and after their final moments on earth, and where they went after death based on how they had responded in life to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The scenes were played out by members of First Baptist Church. Each performance played before a packed audience, requiring the play to be held over for additional performances. Over 200 people who came to see the play made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
In 2000 and 2001, First Baptist Church held Block Parties. These outdoor events offered food, clothing, entertainment, and a presentation of the gospel to close to 100 Hispanic and migrant workers in the community.
In May of 2001, a team of 10 men traveled with Clay Cartwright to Tambov Russia to help with the construction of a new church building. Brother Clay & Connie Cartwright had worked and served with the Russian Baptist Church in Tambov from 1994 - 1997. The construction team, along with bro. Clay, included Herrod Spangler, John Giddons, Chris Plunkett, Wayne Chism, Mike Ball, L.B. Gross, Sidney Platt, and Harold Rentz. When they arrived, the construction of the new church had come to a screeching halt. But the team, with their knowledge of building, welding, and brick laying, were able to get the project moving again. Two years later, in 2003, the building was completed and dedicated. The mayor of Tambov, and the President of the Russian Baptist Union were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony. To this day, many members of the First Baptist Church of Tambov can still name all of the men from First Baptist Immokalee who served on that team. They are forever grateful for the work that they did, and how they helped encourage the church to finish the project.
In 2014, a renewed spirit of growth, evangelism, and reaching out is emerging. The Life Chain in October 2014 saw 26 holding signs supporting life and healing for those having had abortions. The church continues to feed many youth on Wednesday nights and conducts a strong Bible teaching program to help them develop. Adults are led in various studies to better equip them for the challenges of today. A Praise Team practices to lead worship on Sundays. The days ahead are bright and we believe God will bring revival to Immokalee.
In May of 2015, First Baptist Church Immokalee began a new chapter in our history. Timothy and Jessica Pigg accepted the call to come and serve FBC. We also have developed new ministries in the church like a Young Adult Small Groups class.
Chapter After Chapter of God's Faithfulness
In 2016, First Baptist Church Immokalee, in partnership with NAMB, planted a church in Baltimore, Maryland.
In February of 2017, First Baptist Church Immokalee began a new satellite campus in Ave Maria, Fellowship Church. The first service was February 5th.
We also began Fellowship Sports Ministry with the start of summer sports clinics. Our first Flag Football season will begin in January 2018.