First Baptist Gulf Shores (FBGS) was birthed through the joint efforts of the Baldwin Baptist Association and Lagoon Baptist Church, with the first worship service being held in the local community house on June 1, 1958, just one year after the founding of the city of Gulf Shores. On July 13, FBCGS was organized as a church. One week later, the Meyer family donated three lots to the church, located approximately one-half mile from Alabama Highway 3, a dirt road connecting to Gulf Shores’ beaches. The church raised funds to purchase two additional lots for parking and future growth.
FBGS was accepted into the Baldwin Baptist Association on October 1, 1958. At that time, FBGS had forty-eight church members, with sixty-eight enrolled in Sunday School, and property valued at $52,501. Modest growth marked the first decades at FBGS. However, two significant events have impacted church growth dramatically. Hurricane Frederic made landfall on September 12, 1979, striking Dauphin Island, located twenty-nine miles west of Gulf Shores. The easterly rage of Frederic’s 135 mph winds leveled 80% of Gulf Shores’ buildings2. But in God’s sovereignty, the devastation had an unexpected effect. With national attention focused on the Alabama Gulf Coast, investors and builders capitalized on the reduced property values, and the tourist industry was born.
Another key event was the construction of Alabama Highway 59, placed immediately adjacent to FBGS property3. The church found herself situated at the highly trafficked gateway to Gulf Shores. Today, over 4.5 million visitors cross the bridge into Gulf Shores annually, driving past FBGS.
Over the years, FBCGS has responded to these opportunities by expanding facilities and developing ministries for seasonal “snowbirds” who annually winter in Gulf Shores, short-term summer tourists, and permanent local residents. Since 1999, FBGS has undertaken three building projects to accommodate growth. Worship attendance increased by 132%, and a second service was added. Sunday School attendance burgeoned 150%. Ministerial staff was added to anticipate and direct growth.
In April, 2012, a three-year vision was engaged, adding a third contemporary service, the Manna Center, bus ministry, and other ministries–all designed to engage our communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ.