Read a Letter from our Senior Pastor
Planning a visit? Read this welcome letter from our Pastor.
What to Expect
As we enter the sanctuary on Sunday mornings at FBC Lawrence, we remember that we are entering into the holy presence of the majestic God who is the focus and recipient of our worship.
During the school year, we have two traditional worship services, one at 8:30 a.m. and one at 10:45 a.m. with Sunday School and coffee and fellowship time in between. The early service is less formal yet still includes key elements of the worship experience. In the summertime, we typically move to one combined service, usually at 9:00 a.m., with Sunday School following at 10:15 a.m.
A typical Sunday morning service at FBC Lawrence includes a musical prelude and postlude, lighting of the Christ candle, Call to Worship, Passing of the Peace, Scripture readings, Unison Confession of Sin, Discipline of Silence, Assurance of Pardon, Morning Prayer and Lord’s Prayer, Moment for Mission, Sentences of Stewardship, Giving of our Offerings, Doxology and Prayer of Thanksgiving, Sermon, and Life of the Church.
We believe that music is an important vehicle for giving praise, glory and honor to God, and for sharing the Good News of God’s love for all of God’s creation. Music is an integral part of our worship service through the use of hymns and choral anthems as appropriate. Our chancel choir leads in worship most Sundays. We also welcome leadership from other gifted musicians and ensembles in the congregation. Lay leaders play a vital role in our weekly worship experience. Members serve as liturgists, offer music, read scripture and assist with the serving of communion.
We invite you to participate in one of our services of worship on Sunday.
Rev. Matthew Sturtevant, Senior Pastor
Rev. Matthew Sturtevant comes to Kansas from Central Illinois, the Land of the Fighting Illini, by way of Kentucky, where the sun shines bright and the birds make music all the day. He married a beautiful, red-headed Kentuckian named Kimberly in 1998, and they have two elementary-age children: daughter Addison and son Ethan. Matt has been involved in ministry in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Kansas. He is a graduate of Georgetown College and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. When he finds time to waste, he does it following Cubs baseball, college basketball and football, listening to bluegrass music, and spending time outdoors. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Cheryl Harader, Part-time Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation
Rev. Cheryl Harader retired as pastor of First Baptist Church, Winfield, KS, in August 2013, after the death of her husband earlier that year. She currently lives in Lawrence with her daughter, Joanna, pastor at Peace Mennonite Church,and her family– son-in-law Ryan and three grandchildren, ages 18, 16, and 10. Cheryl’s son, Matt, and his wife, Jenn, live in Topeka where she has a family physician practice; they have two sons, ages 8 and 5. So, Cheryl is within 30 minutes of all five of her grandchildren, which is a great blessing! Cheryl is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary. She enjoys reading, swimming, being with her family. (She continues to go back to Winfield the third weekend in September to be a part of the Walnut Valley Festival, the BEST bluegrass festival in the world!) email@example.com
Spiritual Leadership Team
Verlin Gilbert, Deacons Ministry, Steward
Bryan Miller, Evangelism Ministry, Steward
Wendy Wheeler, Facilities Ministry, Steward
Sarah Peters, Finance Ministry, Steward
SallyDon Weinaug, Membership Ministry, Steward
Kirk Heinz, Missions Ministry, Steward
Winston Heilman, Spiritual Formation Ministry, Steward
Anne Munsterman, Worship Ministry, Steward
Ann Havenor, Treasurer
Sally Heilman, Financial Secretary
Melisa Lord, Clerk
John Pauls, Moderator
TBA, Youth Spiritual Formation Intern
Rev. Cheryl Harader, Part-time Associate Pastor of Adult Spiritual Formation
Rev. Matthew Sturtevant, Senior Pastor
Margaret Lambie, Evangelism Ministry
Steve Heilman, Facilities Ministry
Brenda Schenkel & Susan Pauls, Spiritual Formation Ministry Co-Chairs
Laura McCorkill, Worship Ministry
Nancy Bonner, Deacons Ministry
Kathy Stauffer, Membership Ministry
Craig Weinaug and Ken Hite (co-chairs) Finance Ministry
Danny Trent, Missions Ministry
Jenny Purvis, Office Manager
Jenny Purvis comes to Kansas from, well, Kansas, with a short layover in Texas. She is married to Neal, a high school band director, and they have a beautiful daughter, Courtney. Over the past 30 years Jenny has raised twenty-five Labrador puppies, taught piano lessons to lots of kids, and has played with babies & toddlers while running a home-daycare. Jenny has been on staff at First Baptist since 2006, and much like her previous adventures, she’s enjoyed every minute of it! In her spare time, her family runs a home health coaching/nutrition business, they love hiking, traveling, gardening and music, and enjoy their current menagerie of pets; a dog and 5 chickens. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Robinson, Director of Chancel Choir
Evelyn Falen, Organist
Evelyn Falen has lived in Kansas her entire life, but in four different parts of the Sunflower State. She was born near Parsons, went to college in Lawrence and lived in Dodge City and Marysville before moving back to Lawrence in 1998. She has been a church musician since she was 13. She has served FBC as organist since 1998, and has taught piano for many, many years (her primary love!). Evelyn and her husband Delmar share their home with a corgi pup named Melody. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys doing counted cross-stitch, attends concerts and KU basketball games. email@example.com
Holly Grassy, Bookkeeper
Holly Grassy is originally from Towanda – a quaint town near Wichita, which is not a particularly interesting place to be from, except that it is home to a high school having one of the few fully circular buildings in the country when it was built (aptly named “Circle High”). Holly came to Lawrence as a KU student and was drawn in by the charms of the town and decided to stay. A graduate of KU’s Liberal Arts School, she has a B.A. in English Literature. After working for a local software company, and then a brief stint in a start-up company as an HR manager, she came to First Baptist in 1999 as the Office Manager and then began working as the bookkeeper part-time in 2003 after her second child was born. Holly is an avid KU Basketball fan, enjoys reading, hunting around on iTunes, baking and cooking for friends and family, and spending time with her three boys and husband Patrick. firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Pauls, Digital Outreach Coordinator
Susan is a long-time member of FBC who joined with her husband, John, in 1988 when they came to Lawrence so John could attend law school. After law school, they just never left! Susan was raised in the far reaches of western Kansas, in a tiny town of about 80 people (counting the dogs and cats, as the saying goes) called Coolidge. She and John met at Friends University in Wichita, where she majored in English. She loves riding her road bike, the more miles the better. She also enjoys making jewelry, and is a member of Northland Exposure Artists’ Gallery in Weston, MO. Susan and John have two kids, Lauren and Daniel, who are in college and high school, respectively. They also have a cat named Schrödinger (Ding for short). email@example.com
Welcome. Worship. Work. Wonder.
Welcome is the foundation of who we are as church. We welcome all who enter our doors as family. We welcome the presence of God’s Spirit working through our worship, work and wonder. When you come to First Baptist, our deepest hope and joy is that you will enter as guests, but leave as members or our family – God’s family.
Our worship is primarily a response to God’s grace and faithfulness. Our worship reminds us of the profound need for Sabbath from our daily routines. We listen for God’s spirit together as we sing, pray and learn together. We understand that our worship does not end at noon on Sunday, but extends to all we do as we live a life seeking to follow Christ and live in God’s Spirit.
When we talk of work, we mean many things. We are working together as church to be the presence of Christ in our worlds. We believe it takes hard work and effort to be church: to be in relationship with one another and seek God’s will together. Part of our response is to do God’s work – by taking care of our building, by serving our local community and giving and serving to missions projects around the United States and the world. We commit ourselves to the difficult but life-giving work of being and doing Life Together.
Feeling wonder at God’s grace and faithfulness marks all we do, in our welcome, worship and work. We embrace the mystery of God’s work in our world and throughout history. We gather together to wonder together about the questions of our faith. At First Baptist, we welcome questions and uncertainties, understanding that often faith rests in discovering further questions than finding concrete answers. We invite the myriad ways that God is at work in each of us – through our creativity, intellect, and relationships.
We are American Baptist
Though many of us come from diverse backgrounds, both religious and non-religious, we pride ourselves in being American Baptists. As American Baptists, we take seriously the need to minister and serve in our local community and around the world. We believe that it is our responsibility as a congregation to love others as God has loved us. As American Baptists, we believe that to live out the gospel requires social justice and service to the poor alongside our worship and preaching.
Being part of the denomination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are a church that believes fully in the freedom of each person to worship as he or she believes fit. We celebrate a diversity of cultural and theological beliefs throughout our church and denomination. We are an open-minded church willing to explore and challenge each other to more deeply understand the gospel of Jesus.
To more fully understand what it means to be American Baptist, visit the national website.
Partners in Ministry
One way we work as a church is through service. We give time, money, and resources to a multitude of organizations – congregational, local, regional, national and global. We give to Regional Missions, American Baptist Missions, and the World Missions Offering, as well as participating in One Great Hour of Sharing, an ecumenical global missions offering.
We believe in being supporting members of American Baptist Churches, USA, believing that we can do more and contribute more together than apart. Together we support mission work, training (universities and seminaries) and pastoral development.
Members of FBC are involved in various organizations and ministries, including:
Habitat for Humanity
Heartland Community Health Center
Justice Matters in Lawrence, KS
Downtown Churches Association
Theologian-in-Residence Program in partnership with Lawrence area congregations.
Lawrence Ministerial Emergency Fund
Boy Scout Troop 60 of Lawrence
Bethel Neighborhood Center
American Baptist Churches of the Central Region
Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
In 1855, seven families joined to form the third church in the new town of Lawrence in the Kansas Territory. Named First Baptist, it was two years before the church began to hold worship services in earnest. Their goal was simply to provide a source of religious training for their families and to help them persevere in hard times. Their faith strengthened and soon many of the congregants moved on to help start more communities. The same precepts of education and support form the basis of FBC Lawrence today.
There have been many individuals who stand out in the 150-plus year history of the church. All of these individuals had strong faith and provided leadership to keep the church doors open and the community served. Many of our leaders served in local leadership positions in business and government, and many taught at the University of Kansas. However, all supported the church and its members. Individuals such as Gordon Governor and Dr. Ray Q. Brewster, Lowell Bailey, Ruth Stringham and Dr. Howard Wilcox stand out in the church records.
In 2005, FBC Lawrence celebrated a Sesquicentennial during which time Robert A. Heacock wrote Strength of Stone, covering the 150 years of FBC Lawrence’s history. If you are interested in reading more about the church’s extraordinary history, copies of the text are available at the church.
Important turning points in the life of the church:
- 1855: FBC Lawrence founded.
- 1870: Dedication of the first building located near downtown Lawrence at the corner of 8th & Kentucky.
- 1955: A new educational wing was added to the building, provided the church much-needed space for Christian Education.
- 1976: The original church building was torn down after the structure was deemed unsafe, the education wing served as the church until the present building was constructed.
- 1979-80: The congregation moved into the new building.
- 1998-99: A new addition was built at the present site that included a fellowship hall with a full basketball court, additional classrooms, and a new nursery.
- 2011: Strategic planning and reorganization.
While these dates primarily recognize changes to the physical structure of the church, it should be noted that the Lay Witness Mission began in the early 1970s – a catalyst for revitalizing church membership.
As all good Baptists do, we celebrate at any chance at FBC Lawrence – pastoral ordinations and anniversary dates, Thanksgiving, special holidays, and our annual birthday which is celebrated on the Sunday closest to June 25.