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First Church


First Baptist has returned to indoor worship with masks and social distancing. Worship service starts at 9:30 AM and last for 75 minutes. In-person attendance is optional and we will strictly follow the protocol listed below. 

First Church Indoor Worship Protocol

  • Mask (over nose and mouth) are required for the duration of time in the building.

  • DO NOT come to indoor worship if you are not feeling well, are experiencing symptoms, in a high-risk population or have been in a situation/around people where exposure could have occurred.

First Baptist will host a Connection Call on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Dial the dial-in number (605) 313-5721. When prompted, enter the access code 602854 followed by pound or hash (#). 

We hope to hear you on the line!

For those inquiring about weekly giving options, you can bring your giving to church on Sunday or use Givelify. The Givelify link is at the top of this webpage. If you need a tutorial on Givelify, please inquire.

Take care, and we look forward to worshiping with you soon. Thank you for being diligent and committed.

Welcome to First Baptist Church where God is priority and Jesus is proclaimed. 


We're glad you want to learn more about us. We pray that by connecting with us you feel God's love in a new, refreshing way. Come join us for worship or fellowship and experience First Church.  You are so welcomed in this place and we are bettered by your presence.

First Baptist Church

"Building on The Promise by

Growing The People. We Are Rising!"





“Doing IT Together”









“The God of Heaven Himself will prosper us;

therefore, we his servants will arise and build”

Nehemiah 2:20

The First Church Experience

Church Services


Worship Service

Sundays 9:30 a.m.

Bible Study Call

Wednesdays 6:00 p.m.

This Month at First Church

See Service Information Above

Pastor Brunson will host a Connection Call on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Instructions to join the calls are below. We hope to hear you on the line!

Dial the dial-in number (605) 313-5721. When prompted, enter the access code 602854 followed by pound or hash (#).

For those inquiring about weekly giving options, you can bring your giving to church on Saturdays between the hours of 11am and 1pm (practice social distancing), use Givelify, or contact Deacon Murdock. Thank you for being diligent and committed.


Pastor's Weekly Prayer Roll

First Church Healing List

City of Statesville

Pandemic Affected

Essential Workers

Bereaved Families


TLC Women's Ministry

Men's Ministry

Ushers Ministry

Deacons Ministry

Hospitality Ministry


The First Baptist Church had its beginnings in April of 1874. A small group of devout Christians met under a brush arbor on the corner of what is now known as Jefferson and Rickert Streets with Rev. Charlie Brown for the purpose of organizing a church. This church later became known as Emmaus Baptist Church as a result of a few dedicated believers who saw the need for a stationary place in which to worship. Rev. Charlie Brown became the first pastor of the Church. The Charter members were Solomon Trexler, Phyllis Trexler, Tina Allison, Hannah Allison, Charles Summers, Manlus Huggins and David Lynch.


The pioneers of Emmaus Baptist Church realized that a much larger building was needed due to the  increase in membership so plans were made for another site. Early in 1883, the congregation voted to relocate the church and purchased property on the corner of Green and Garfield Streets from Mrs. Mary C. Bell for the sum of $50.00. The Building was completed in September of the same year. The first pastor to serve this Church was Rev. V.T. Nunnally. It was during this time that the membership voted to change the name to The First Baptist Church of Statesville.


In 1905, the first brick building was erected and the first Baptismal pool was dug. Services were held in this building until 1914 when the members, under the leadership of Rev. O.J. Allen, voted to build a new and larger church to accommodate the great growth. A part of the old building was torn down and a new brick structure was erected. The Cornerstone Laying service was in 1915. Rev. O.J. Allen served a pastor until 1924.


The church's location created an inconvenience for those members living in the western part of the city to attend service regularly, so The First Baptist Church became the mother church of St. John Baptist Church which is a flourshing ministry to this day. The next 36 years marked the ministry of Rev. J.W. Croom. During his leadership, the church saw may improvements and grew, resulting in additions being made to the physical structure. Rev. J.W. Croom remained pastor unitl 1961 and in 1962, The First Baptist Church welcomed Rev. J.C. Harris as the eighth pastor of the church.


On January 1, 1963, the membership voted to  purchase the property on the corner of Garfield Street and the Old Salisbury Road, the church's current location, consisting of 16.82 acres. The property was purchased from Miss Anna Cowan for the purposes of erecting a new church at a price of $20,000. Architect Ray Trexler was selected to aid in the basic planning. Groundbreaking service was held on October 24, 1965. Construction of the edifice began March 1966 and was completed on March 11, 1967 by Tierney Construction Company, Inc. for an approximate cost of $215,000. Sunday, March 12, 1967 was the first service and the Cornerstone Laying ceremony at the new church location with Rev. J.C. Harris preaching the sermon. On Sunday, March 26, 1967, a dedicatory service was held where Dr. J.E. Cheek, President of Shaw University (Raleigh, NC) delivered the sermon.


With new facilities, The First Baptist Church continued to grow in all areas. The Church placed in its Charter that it would set forth to carry out the commissions of Jesus Christ and committed itself to a great zeal for missions and Christian education. Under the leadership of Rev. Harris, the church budget increased, new organizations were started and church business office was organized. The First Baptist Church facility even hosted a day care center program, founded in 1967 by Dr. Harris and Mrs. Florence Davidson, to serve black children in Iredell County.  Rev. J.C. Harris graciously and tirelessly served as pastor of The First Baptist Church until his passing in November 2013.


In 2015, The First Baptist Church welcomed Rev. J.W. Brunson, installing him as the first pastor in 51 years. The installation service was held on March 13, 2016 and Rev. Peter M. Wherry delivered the sermon. Under the leadership of Rev. J.W. Brunson, The First Baptist Church has re-committed itself to building on The Promises of God by growing God's people and rising to a new level of service, involvement and impact on the Statesville Community.


Pastors of First Baptist Church


Rev. Charlie Brown 1874-1880

Rev. V.T. Nunnally 1881-1890

Rev. W.M. Veal 1895-1905

Rev. F.A. Carter 1905-1907

Rev. A.H. Lewis 1908-1914

Rev. O.J. Allen 1914-1924

Rev. J.W. Croom 1925-1961

Rev. J.C. Harris 1962-2013

Rev. J.W. Brunson 2015-present



Pastor James W. Brunson Sr.


James W. Brunson, Sr. is a charismatic leader and visionary who serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church. Pastor Brunson is a passionate orator who has the gift of delivering the Word with historical narrative and context providing a meaningful life message of continued submission, committed obedience and unconditional faith.


Pastor Brunson’s spiritual journey started when he accepted Christ as his personal savior at the age of 15. Pastor Brunson accepted the call to preaching ministry in 1996 and was ordained in 1998 at Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church (Charlotte, NC). He continued to serve at Mayfield Memorial as an Associate Minister until being called to The Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. He served as pastor of The Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church from 2001 through 2015 where he focused on building people, values and relationships. He was instrumental in ushering the congregation into a new worship space in 2013 that allowed the ministry to have a better reach with the community.


As a professed man of God, Pastor Brunson is a servant leader guided by spiritual principles as evidenced is his word and work. As God’s servant, He is committed to sharing his knowledge and wisdom as led by God and teaching God’s people to put all efforts towards that which will reap rewards in the eternal future.


Pastor Brunson strives tirelessly towards the vision of a church that not only meets the needs of the congregation but also serves the surrounding community. He is focused on progressive change, renewal and growth ministry. Pastor Brunson believes that by bridging the gap between the past and the future, the congregation and the community, God’s Kingdom will surely expand and overcome.


Pastor Brunson was educated in the public schools of Sumter, SC. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from Shaw University and a Bachelor of Theology from the Sugar Creek Road School of Religion.  Pastor Brunson is a veteran of the United States Army (honorable discharge).


He is married to the former Nicole M. Young and together they are the proud parents of six children – Pacifini, James Jr., CC, Neala, Jackson and Davis. When he is not preaching, teaching or studying the Word, Pastor Brunson enjoys spending time with family. He is an avid golfer, a sports enthusiast and loves learning something new.

First Church

Be Encouraged – Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

First Baptist Church

"Building on The Promise by

Growing The People. We Are Rising!"


464 Garfield Street
Statesville, NC 28677



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