First Baptist Church is pleased to have Rev. Laurence Brown serving as Pastor here since March of 1997. Pastor Brown grew up in a seminary professor's home and lived in Pennsylvania, New York, California and Michigan. He has the advantages of scholarly training (University of Michigan, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Mansfield University, Empire State Baptist Seminary and the Pine Valley Baptist Church Ministerial Training Program), along with practical experience as a layman, deacon, assistant pastor, Bible institute teacher and senior pastor.
Prior to accepting the call to serve in North Conway, Pastor Brown, his wife Lorie and their five children lived in Waterville, New York, for about 10 1/2 years. Pastor Brown served as the Senior Pastor of the Waterville Baptist Church. While leading the flock there, he developed a local church pastoral training program, initiated a publishing ministry in the church, and served as director of the Mid-York Baptist Bible Institute, a co-operative effort of ten local, fundamental Baptist churches in central New York State.
Pastor and Lorie are thrilled to be serving the Lord at First Baptist, and are enormously enjoying living in the Granite state. Their five children are Rebekah, Sarah, Stephen, Rachel and Timothy. The most recent addition to the family is Stephen's & Becky's daughter, Lorie.
Pastor Brown's philosophy of ministry is based on the belief that the Word of God, when faithfully preached and taught, and received by hearts that are eager to receive it, believe it and obey, will cause genuine spiritual growth.
First Baptist Church is an independent, autonomous body of believers in Jesus Christ who have banded together according to the Bible to obey God in worship, service and fellowship. We believe that the Scriptures constitute our only authority for faith and practice.
We believe that the Word of God was inspired in the autographs and is God's authoritative revelation to mankind.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, co-equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and that He gave Himself on the cross of Calvary as the atonement for sin.
We believe that all those who put their trust in Him for forgiveness of sins are born again by the Holy Spirit, and that those thus saved will never lose their salvation.
We believe that Jesus Christ is coming again, first to call His saints home to heaven at the rapture, and secondly to the earth to reveal Himself as the King of Kings and to rule the world for a thousand years.
We believe in two offices and two ordinances within the local church; and that solid Bible teaching and preaching are the bedrock of the church. We believe it to be our duty to evangelize the lost, and to edify the saints. We believe in scriptural separation from sin, and have as our utmost goal to give first place to Jesus Christ in every part of our lives.
The first known documentation of Baptists in the Town of Conway dates to April of 1795. In August of 1796, a small band of Baptist believers met at the home of Samuel Willey and called a recognition council of other like-minded churches to examine their doctrine and organization. The council accepted the body as the "Baptist Church of Christ" in Conway. Having no building, the church met in homes, barns and the town meetinghouse. Richard Smith was called as the first Pastor in October, 1796. A farm was purchased for use as the first parsonage; the barn was constructed first and the house completed in 1802.
The church building was built in 1838. The bell in our steeple, weighing 638 pounds, was purchased from the Revere Copper Co. and was shipped from Boston for a "trucking" charge of 50 cents.
The current parsonage on Kearsarge Street was built in 1847. An acre of land was purchased for $50 and several men in the church worked on framing the house. They received sixty-seven cents a day for their labors. In renovations carried out at the house in 1997 and 1998, workers found the original post-and-beam framing still intact and in good condition.
The real testimony of First Baptist Church, however, is not found so much in our historic buildings--as much as we cherish the heritage it represents--as it is in the lives that have been changed through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ for more than 200 years. The measure of any church is the love and loyalty it has to the Word of God and to the Lord Jesus Christ. The objective of this body of believers is the same now as it was in 1795: to love, obey, serve and worship the only true and living God.