FBC Lawrence Secondary Menu



Read a Letter from our Senior Pastor

Planning a visit? Read this welcome letter from our Pastor.

What to Expect

COVID-19 Update: Until further notice, our worship services will be held virtually on YouTube at 10:45 a.m. each Sunday. Click HERE to go directly to the livestream. Sunday school classes are on Zoom—contact the FBC office for more information on adult classes, and contact Pastor Cristina Adams for information on youth group and children’s classes.


What to Expect (in non-pandemic times)

Need help getting around? Ask at the Welcome table in the narthex (the room at the front double door entry) for directions around the building, or any other questions you might have.

What to wear: Wear what you like! You’ll find people dressed in jeans, in “casual Friday” attire, and also those who prefer to come “Sunday best” style.

First things first—Coffee! Look for the “Holy Grounds” banner above a pass-through window in the narthex (the room at the front double door entry). We serve PT’s and Folgers/Maxwell House—it’s your choice as to which is the “good stuff.”

Worship: We come into the sanctuary on Sunday mornings with mindfulness that in doing so, we’re  entering the holy presence of the majestic God, 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.  Summer schedule: 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. Holidays: On the Sundays that follow Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, or are on Memorial Day weekend or Labor Day weekend, we have Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. followed by one service at 10:45 a.m.

A typical Sunday morning worship service at FBC Lawrence includes a musical prelude and postlude, lighting of the Christ candle, Call to Worship, Passing of the Peace (a brief time when the congregation greets one another), scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, Unison Confession of Sin, Discipline of Silence, Assurance of Pardon, Morning Prayer and Lord’s Prayer, Moment for Mission, Sentences of Stewardship (an invitation to stewardship giving), Giving of our Offerings, Doxology and Prayer of Thanksgiving, a sermon, and Life of the Church (announcements of coming church events). Lay leaders play a vital role in our weekly worship experience. People from the congregation, adults and youth alike, serve as liturgists, offer music, read scripture, and serve communion.

We value music, and it’s an integral part of our worship services that’s expressed through the use of hymns, choral anthems, bell choir pieces, solos, and ensembles. We think it’s vital for giving praise, glory, and honor to God, and for sharing the Good News of God’s love for all of God’s creation. Our chancel choir leads in worship most Sundays, and we also welcome leadership from other musicians and ensembles from the congregation.

When we return to in-person worship, we hope you’ll join us for a worship service!



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interj; used to express greeting to a guest
adj; receive gladly into one’s presence or companionship’ received with gladness or delight.

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.

Rev. Dr. Matthew Sturtevant, Senior Pastor

MattPastor Matt has recently celebrated a decade of ministry at First Baptist. He grew up in both the cornfields of Central Illinois and the foothills of Central Kentucky, and has done ministry in Kentucky, South Carolina, and nearly twenty years in Kansas. He has degrees from Georgetown College, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Chicago Theological Seminary (he likes school). Pastor Matt’s wife Kimberly teaches second grade in Lawrence, and they have two teenagers, Addison and Ethan. He loves to spend time climbing mountains, running on the dirt, and has cheered for his beloved Cubs since before they were good.   matt@firstbaptistlawrence.com


Pastor Cristina Adams, Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, & Families

Cristina grew up in American Baptist Churches, a preacher’s kid like many in our congregation, worked in children’s ministry since she was a young person, and youth ministry as she got older. She has worked at a variety of types of churches, including different denominations, and graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PCUSA) in December 2020. Cristina has been specifically trained in Godly Play, an approach to children’s ministry that begins with the belief that children have an innate sense of the presence of God, and helps them to explore their faith through story, to gain religious language, and to enhance their spiritual experience though wonder and play. Cristina has a heart for young people and families, a love for the American Baptist Churches, and is happy to be able to return to the Midwest.   cristina@firstbaptistlawrence.com


Spiritual Leadership Team

Hannes Combest, Deacons Ministry, Steward
Matthew Johnston, Evangelism Ministry, Steward
Jim Lord, Facilities Ministry, Steward
Craig Weinaug, Finance Ministry, Steward
Nathan Huguley, Missions Ministry, Steward
Tara West, Spiritual Formation Ministry, Steward
Angie Jackson, Worship Ministry, Steward
Dava Cooper, Treasurer
Marylee Southard, Financial Secretary
Joanna Gillette, Moderator
Rev. Matthew Sturtevant, Senior Pastor

Ministry Chairs

Pat Transue, Deacons Ministry
Margaret Lambie, Evangelism Ministry
Travis Cooper, Facilities Ministry
Joe Karnes, Finance Ministry
Tim Bonner, Missions Ministry
Melisa Lord, Spiritual Formation Ministry
Anne Munsterman, Worship Ministry

Jenny Purvis, Administrative Support Manager

PURVIS-JENNYJenny Purvis comes to Kansas from, well, Kansas, with a short layover in Texas. She is married to Neal, a retired high school band director, and they have a beautiful daughter, Courtney. Over the past 34 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, she & her family love cooking together, hiking, traveling, gardening, music, and thoroughly enjoy their current menagerie of pets; a dog and 5 chickens.  office@firstbaptistlawrence.com

Mark Robinson, Director of Worship Music

Mark is a recently retired music educator whose 30 year teaching career includes stops at Wichita County High School, Arizona State University, Ottawa High School, Central Junior High School, Lawrence High School, Pinckney Elementary School and South Junior High/South Middle School. Mark currently serves as Chancel Choir Director of First Baptist Church, Lawrence. He has been serving as Choir Director, off and on, since 1991. Mark is married to Stephanie Renee (Janzen) Robinson, music teacher at Langston Hughes Elementary. They have two beautiful adult children, Corbin and Claire. mark@firstbaptistlawrence.com 

Evelyn Falen, Organist

EvelynEvelyn 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. evelyn@firstbaptistlawrence.com 

Dr. Christy Miller, Pianist & Accompanist for Virtual Worship

Christy Miller’s bio is under construction, but she’s been an important part of First Baptist since her grade school years!  christy@firstbaptistlawrence.com 




Holly Grassy, Bookkeeper

HollyHolly 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.  holly@firstbaptistlawrence.com

Susan Pauls, Digital Media 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, and enjoys making jewelry. Susan and John have two grown kids, Lauren and Daniel. They also have a cat named Schrödinger (Ding for short). susan@firstbaptistlawrence.com 

Neal Purvis, Building Manager

Neal is a recently retired high school band director of 30 years. One of his favorite hobbies is cooking, and currently he works morning hours as a prep chef at On The Hill restaurant in the Oread Hotel. He enjoys playing in the Topeka Symphony Orchestra as a trombonist and you’ll occasionally hear him play in worship here at First Baptist! Neal has had a long history of service to FBC and the Facilities Ministry. He serves as both the primary custodian and the manager of facilities. He’s married to Jenny, the FBC office manager, and they have a daughter, Courtney. neal@firstbaptistlawrence.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

american-baptist-churches-usa_fThough many of us come from diverse backgrounds, both religious and non-religious, we identify ourselves as American Baptists. And 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. We believe that to live out the gospel requires social justice and service to the poor alongside our worship and preaching.

Also, as American Baptists, 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:

Local Partners
Family Promise
Habitat for Humanity
Harvesters Mobile Food Pantry
Heartland Community Health Center
Crop Walk
Downtown Churches Association
Theologian-in-Residence Program in partnership with Lawrence area congregations.
Lawrence Ministerial Emergency Fund
Boy Scout Troop 60 of Lawrence

Regional/National Partners
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.