The first efforts to start the First Baptist Church in Geneseo took place in the year 1858, when Elder Nathaniel Huson came to the village of Geneseo and gathered a group of Baptist believers in an attempt to unite them in a church organization. Elder Huson only stayed in Geneseo a few months as this venture did not prosper well.
On April 14th of the year 1860, the formal organization of the First Baptist Church of Geneseo was finally realized through the union of 23 members in church covenant. Rev. W. G. Johnson was elected as the first pastor of The Geneseo Baptist Church. In the first years of the church, the meetings were held in the Seminary Hall (VFW Building) until the completion of the first church building, located on the corner of Center and Pearl Street in 1864.
In the later 1880's there were intervals when the church did not have a pastor, the pulpit was often covered by students from the University of Chicago. Through all this, the Lord continued to bless First Baptist, and in 1889 the building was raised and a basement added in order to accommodate the growing membership.
From 1907 to 1940 the church once again went through several periods without a pastor and consequently a dwindling membership. On July 21, 1940 after a period of temporary shutdown Rev. Bennard Hulsen (Pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Rock Island) reopened First Baptist Church and he and his son-in-law, Mr. Paul Songer, started conducting services each Sunday evening, and as a result attendance grew reaching the lower 40's.
In 1942 Rev. Claude Sailhamer was voted in as pastor of First Baptist Church. The Lord used Bro. Sailhamer's ministry (1942-1946) to usher in a new chapter of prosperity and perseverance for our church. For the next 70+ years, the Lord would allow First Baptist the great privilege of consistent service to our community through the leadership of 13 different pastors.
In 1975 the church voted to withdraw from the American Baptist Convention. During Pastor Kobernat's pastorate the church grew from 40 to over 100 in attendance. The church was given the lot next door and used it to expand on the building. In 2008 the church voted to purchase 11+ acres on the east edge of town for the purpose of expansion, and on September 21, 2014 the First Baptist Church family moved into their beautiful new building at 15300 Ford Road.
Early 2016 Pastor Kobernat resigned his position, and just a few weeks later went home to be with the Lord. First Baptist Church began to seek God's direction for the next man of God. In August the church voted to call David Murphy to be the next pastor, and he officially took the office in September of 2016. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us!