When asked the location of their church, many members of First Baptist Church of Greater Des Moines refer to the tall white steeple on their building just west of Pioneer headquarters in Johnston.
“Oh, that church!” their friends reply. “I’ve driven by that church many times.”
The tall white steeple just east of N.W. 86th Street on N.W. 62nd Avenue has become a Johnston landmark.
The congregation moved to the new Johnston building in May 2002 but First Baptist’s history goes back much farther. First Baptist Church of Des Moines was chartered in 1851 and served the metro from downtown Des Moines locations for decades until moving to Johnston a decade ago.
After the move, the name was changed to First Baptist Church of Greater Des Moines.
Today First Baptist serves families from throughout the Des Moines metro. Though many members reside in the Johnston and Urbandale communities, others drive from all parts of Des Moines and West Des Moines as well as most of the Polk and Dallas County suburbs.
A tradition of excellence in preaching and music is one of many factors that draws members and visitors from such a wide area.
First Baptist Church worships in a classical format with a pipe organ, choir and traditional hymns. The First Baptist choir sings each Sunday with a full orchestra accompanying the choir on many occasions.
The First Baptist Fine Arts Series provides concerts that are free to the community throughout the year. The next concert in the series — Thanksgiving for Christmas — is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 24.
Ben Holthaus is the music director at First Baptist.
First Baptist Church is affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA. The 1.3 million members and 5,500 congregations of the denomination share with more than 42 million Baptists around the world a common tradition begun in the early 17th century. In 1638 Roger Williams established the First Baptist Church in America in Rhode Island, whose government became the first in history founded on the guarantee of absolute religious freedom.
American Baptist Churches USA today is the most racially inclusive Protestant body. Represented in our churches are equally diverse worship styles, cultural mores and approaches to Scriptural interpretation.
American Baptists support religious freedom and respect the expressions of faith of others. As a people whose forbears came together in response to intolerance, American Baptists have cherished freedom and pursued it for millions around the world.
Manifestations of that ideal include supporting separation of church and state, advocating for people everywhere to be guaranteed the right to worship free from discrimination and lifting up respectful dialog as a healthy means to understanding.
First Baptist Church of Greater Des Moines is one of the largest ABC churches in Iowa. Dr. Timothy Deatrick has been the pastor of the Johnston congregation since January 2012.First Baptist Church of Greater Des Moines
8250 N.W. 62nd Ave.
Dr. Timothy Deatrick, pastor
Sunday worship: 9:30 a.m.
Sunday school: 10:45 a.m.