40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:40–47)
I. THE EXCITING FIRST YEARS OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
In the Spring of 1931, three men: an evangelist and a missionary from Miles City, with a musician from Sweden, came to Baker and led a two-week evangelistic service.
The messages warmed the hearts of several individuals, and with the help of a pastor from Miles City, they formally established the First Baptist Church of Baker in March of 1931.
Originally, the church met in Graingers Hall (located a couple buildings to the North of Wells Fargo), but by the end of 1934 the church had a basement built that would serve as it’s home until the top half could be built following World War II.
The newspaper clippings of that era reveal that the thirties were exciting times for the church. Each stage of the building process was reported. The church had a quartet come and sing at the Lake Theatre, with 350 people attending. Baptisms were in groups of five, ten, and fifteen and held at least once a year for a time.
Two prayer meetings and Bible classes were held on Wednesdays: the first for the youth was at 7 PM; the second for the adults was at 8 PM. Choir practice was on Friday nights.
On it’s fourth anniversary in March 1935, the church had a special Friday night service. 125 people attended, despite there being bad weather that kept many people at home.
In 1937, the church began an outreach to children from one to six years old. It was on Friday nights from 6:30 to 8. The newspaper article stated, “If the innovation proves popular, it will become routine.” I don’t know if it did become popular, but it does show that they were willing to try “innovations.”
By the time the first pastor left in 1938, the church had grown from 17 to 200 members and were meeting in a 38 by 80 foot basement.
The thirties were a time of excitement and growth here at the church.
It’s true that American culture was different back then; people were more apt to go to church. But there was also a freshness and willingness to reach out and try new things and be involved among the members of the church.