First Baptist Church of Waukesha is an American Baptist congregation, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin.

God has graciously worked in and through our congregation for 175 years. Now we are seeking new pastoral leadership that will lead us in renewed growth and vitality. God has been preparing us: our Task Force for the Future recently refreshed the identity of our fellowship, completed a comprehensive review of staffing and facility use, prioritized maintenance needs, and recommended the streamlined organizational structure we adopted in 2015.

"If western societies have become post-Christian mission fields, how can traditional churches become then missionary churches?”

- Darrell Guder
Cited in Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

Baptism

The American Baptist heritage of freedom of conscience in spiritual matters is exemplified by our tradition of Believer’s Baptism. In our denomination, the decision to be baptized is made by the individual when he or she can accept responsibility for a walk of discipleship. Baptism is by immersion in water. In affirmation of the customs of other branches of Christ’s church, baptized, confirmed Christians of other denominations are welcome to join this fellowship by letter of transfer or affirmation of faith.

Worship

Worship is central to our life at FBC. It is at worship that we are enabled, encouraged, empowered by God’s Spirit in our midst. We witness to the Gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ through our participation in worship, through our daily vocations, through our involvement in God's mission locally, statewide, nationally, and globally; and through our personal commitment to discipleship and spiritual growth.

Music

Music has always been an important part of the worship experience at FBC. A voice choir and a bell choir have presented more traditional music, while the Bear Witness praise band has brought a contemporary style of music to our church. We are also blessed with several talented church members and friends who bring music to us in vocal and instrumental solos. The grand piano in the sanctuary, the piano in the church parlor, and the two-manual harpsichord, were all received as memorial gifts.

Founded in 1839, ten years before Wisconsin achieved statehood, our church was established by Missionaries from the New York State Baptist Convention.

About Our Building

The congregation first met in the homes of its members. But as we grew, we began gathering for Worship in the local schoolhouse. In 1844, we purchased land at the intersection of Grand and Wisconsin Avenues from Morris Cutler and began building the frame. Completed in 1872, the Victorian-Gothic style building was constructed of rock-faced Waukesha limestone.

Attenuated buttresses accentuate the pointed arch windows which light the sanctuary. The design, dominated by the steeple, is set diagonally to the body of the church and framing the entrance. The sanctuary stands without columns, but features decorative hammer beam trusses which enliven the ceiling, drawing the eye upward, and accenting the verticality of the design. Carved fleur de lis, symbols of the lily and the Trinity, grace the building’s exterior and are echoed in the hammer beam trusses and the stained glass windows. The window designs also include grapevines symbolizing the blood of Christ, and oak leaves representing steadfastness, glory, and endurance against adversity. The north wall of the sanctuary is further decorated by a large rose window, a symbol of the sun.

The church is a local landmark and is recognized as a significant example of both the Victorian Gothic architecture and the creative talent of E. Townsend Mix. An addition made to the church and later construction of the education building in 1958 were carefully planned to not detract from the strength and grace of the original edifice.

About Our Organ

The Skinner pipe organ was purchased in 1976 from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln , Nebraska , where it had been installed in 1926. A group from FBC traveled to Lincoln , dismantled the organ, carefully marked and packed all of the pieces, and loaded it into a semi-trailer provided and driven by a member. When it arrived in Waukesha , the organ was met and unloaded by over 70 members and friends of FBC.   A smaller group of members and friends worked for almost two years to reassemble and install the organ. The organ now has 2716 pipes.

We're a community of Christians from different racial, ethnic, cultural, and denominational backgrounds.

Upheld, sustained and redeemed by God's gracious love, we are united as brothers and sisters by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord. We believe that God calls all of us to be ministers and witnesses to the liberation, forgiveness, healing, and new life available through Jesus Christ as revealed to us in the scriptures.

In order to live out our commitment to Christ, we covenant together:

  • To gather regularly in praise and worship of God - to dedicate ourselves to the growth and nurture of our spirits in personal prayer and meditation and to strive to hold ourselves open to the direction of the Spirit for our lives and for our church.
  • To care for each other in Christian love - remembering each other in prayer, helping and supporting each other in illness or crisis, trusting each other's integrity in our work together and seeking reconciliation in all our conflicts.
  • To participate in the mission of the church - through support of global efforts and active involvement in local ministries.
  • To be faithful stewards - responsibly caring for the earth and the church by using and sharing all of the resources available to us; including income, time, skills and talents.
  • To teach and guide by example - participating in and supporting the educational offerings of the church, nurturing our children as they grow in the faith and encouraging adults in their faith pilgrimage.
  • To live faithfully in the world - being just and kind in our speech and actions, seeking to be peacemakers and striving to be loving and honest in all that we do.