Find out who we are, what we do and why, and where we are headed.
First Baptist Gulf Shores 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, First Baptist Gulf Shores 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.
First Baptist Gulf Shores was accepted into the Baldwin Baptist Association on October 1, 1958. At that time, the church 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 First Baptist Gulf Shores. 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 First Baptist Gulf Shores property. 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 First Baptist Gulf Shores.
Over the years, First Baptist Gulf Shores 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, First Baptist Gulf Shores 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, Student Center and other ministries–all designed to engage our communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In 2016, Dr. Phipps became the Interim Pastor of First Baptist Gulf Shores. During this time, the Bible Fellowship groups (Sunday School) doubled in attendance, 231 people joined the church, a second Adult Bible Study was added on Wednesday nights for our winter guest, and 57 people were baptized. In October 2017, the congregation voted Dr. Lawrence Phipps in as the Senior Pastor. The church is now in the midst of another wave of growth as maximum capacity has been reached in our kid's ministry, Bible Fellowship Groups, both Celebration Worship hours, and in the Innovative Worship hour.