Brief History of First Baptist Russellville

First Baptist Russellville traces her beginning back to September 10, 1873, when a small group of people came together for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church in the River Valley. In 1874, Miss Mary Allen gave the church some property located at the corner of El Paso and West 2nd Street, where we’ve been for over 135 years. The church’s first forty-five years were modest, with an attendance of less than one hundred in a small, one-room building.


FBC Russellville entered a new era in 1918 when a new building, consisting of a 400-seat auditorium and educational space, was completed. In 1924, the Lord added 143 people to the church during a city-wide revival. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the church membership doubled and a new three-story educational building was completed. In 1962, the present 900-seat worship center was built. And in the 1980’s and 90’s FBC would see the fruit of becoming an Acts 1:8 church. The church continued to expand at home (new fellowship hall, events center & a two-story educational facility), as hundreds of members were sent on mission trips around the world.


We have been instrumental in planting the following churches/ministries in and around Russellville: Second Baptist (1924); Baker’s Creek Baptist (1944); Baptist Student Union at Arkansas Tech University (1951); Kelley Heights Baptist (1957); Fair Park Baptist (1961); and FBC Pottsville (1962). And today, church planting efforts are ongoing with unreached people groups in Kenya.


During her 137 year history, FBC Russellville, which began with around 15 members, has grown to an active membership of over 1,400. On June 19, 2011, the church called Greg Sykes as her thirty-fifth pastor. On August 21, 2011, we had a record Sunday school attendance of 1,093. Our mission remains the same: “To Know Him and Make Him Known.” And our future is bright as we move forward together, following Christ into a new era.


Pastors of First Baptist Russellville (1873—present)

  • 1873-76 W. W. Crawford
  • 1876-79 J. R. E. W. N. Adams
  • 1879-81 G. W. Reeves
  • 1881-84 J. P. Weaver
  • 1884-85 B. R. Womack
  • 1886-88 J. B. Wise
  • 1889 J. B. Hort
  • 1890-91 J. H. Coson
  • 1891 D. Elledge
  • 1891-94 W. T. Box
  • 1894-96 W. V. Walls
  • 1897-99 A. G. McMannaway
  • 1900-02 R. E. Reed
  • 1902 E. L. Craig
  • 1902-03 W. P. Kime
  • 1904-1906 J. O. Hill
  • 1906-08 W. C. Wood
  • 1908-10 B. R. Womack
  • 1910-11 R. F. Kerby
  • 1912 G. S. Clevenger
  • 1913-14 J. E. Brown
  • 1915-18 A. F. Cagle
  • 1918-20 W. M. Groom
  • 1920-21 R. M. Jennings
  • 1923-34 C. V. Hickerson
  • 1934-37 Troy Wheeler
  • 1937-47 Fritz E. Goodbar
  • 1947-54 W. E. Speed
  • 1954-57 A. Ermon Webb
  • 1957-64 Emil Williams
  • 1964-70 Charles B. Thompson
  • 1970-74 Jack Clack
  • 1974-83 Jack Riley
  • 1984-2011 Stephen P. Davis
  • 2011-present Greg S. Sykes