Church Profile





Our Mission: First Baptist is body of believers individually and collectively seeking to glorify and honor God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission as given in Matthew 28:16-20. We are committed to sharing the Good News of the Gospel through Christ-centered evangelism, Biblically-based theology and teaching, and the promotion of Christian culture through the fellowship of loving and Godly relationships. 



Our Pastor Profile 

The First Baptist Church of West Plains, Missouri is a body of believers with 130-year history. We are an established church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. We are seeking pastoral leadership that loves, equips, enables, and leads the church body with a compelling vision.

Our style of worship is blended between traditional and contemporary praise and worship, traditional hymns, an adult choir, and an occasional orchestra. Our pastor will be one who reflects worship in spirit and in truth. Our church body prefers Biblically-based expository preaching. 

We are working our way through some issues of different viewpoints, but the vast majority of our congregation is unified around our mission. Regardless of church family life cycles, we remain committed to ministering God’s love in our surrounding community, state, nation, and world. As such, we are strong supporters of mission work through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program. In addition we have recently committed to a partnership that supports church planting in Zambia, explored a partnership with the Saami people of Norway, as well as encouraging membership participation in other local and foreign mission projects. Our heart is to be an Acts 1:8 church.

Our Senior Pastor must be one whose life models prayer, evangelism, and discipleship. He is student of scripture, a problem solver, encourager, and motivator to our body. Presently our Sunday morning worship attendance averages about 440 people. Our current ministerial staff includes four full time positions in addition to the Senior Pastor. The other full time staff positions include three administrative assistants, one bookkeeper, three custodians, and 10 daycare workers.

We are a strong and stable congregation that is free from debt so we can be free to minister. Our three previous pastor’s tenures were six, 10, and five years, respectively. With the leadership of our present ministry staff, we are preparing ourselves for where God will take us for our good and His glory through our next Senior Pastor.


Our History

The church began with 24 charter members and started a work for the Lord that has truly been a labor of love. On August 4, 1884, First Baptist Church WP, was constituted. The Rev. WL Brown was called as the first Pastor. In the early days the church met in various buildings around town. It was announced February 3, 1888 that the Baptist had laid a new foundation and would be building the church building the following spring. That original structure was a 32x52 and was built on the spirit of service and sacrifice. The prime example is the lumber used for the church building was donated by two members of the church instead of using it to build their new home. By 1890 the church had grown from 24 to 102.

The church faced its fair share of up and downs for the next 30 years until revival came to the church in 1933. Fifty people were saved and added to the flock during two revivals that year. That set off large church growth for the next few years. During the 1940's and 50's the church was blessed with a tremendous increase in membership. The auditorium would not seat the whole congregation at one time, so the pastor preached an extra worship service before Sunday school. In 1961 again revival came to FBC, 50 more people made the decision for Christ during the fall revival. In 1966 126 persons made decisions for Christ during the Fall Revival. In the 90’s and early 2000’s average attendance nearly doubled, going from 400 to more than 800 at its peak.  

Written between the lines of this history, you see the love of Christ working through His people. You can see how He has blessed His children, and how they became a witness for Him. From the 24 charter members, our church has grown to a membership of approximately 1,747 while hundreds of others have gone on to be with the Lord and still others have moved away. May the Lord continue to bless us in the future and may we be worthy of His blessing!    

— Dorotha Reavis, church historian 2009. 




FBC-WP Annual Church Profile (2013-14)

Total Members 1800
Resident Members 1697 1710
Baptisms 11 23
Other Additions 9 18
Sunday School Enrollment 1118 1161
Average Attendance 431 453
Vacation Bible School 349 292 
Mission Participation 288 286
Total Receipts (includes designated and undesignated
                         gifts and other receipts)
 $1,654,987 $1,688,766
Missions Expenditures $369,698 $351,583
Church Debt $0 $0



Our Membership Records

 West Plains FBC Resident Members Average Worship Attendance Avg. SS Attendance
 2015 1710 453 421
 2014 1697 505 431
 2013 1722 559 485
2012 1746 603 509
2011 1742 665 554
2010 1747 712 585
2009 1741 706 592




Our Membership Profile

 Sunday School Attendance Snap Shot (Attendance from October 4, 2015)
Age Ranges Total % of Total
 Pre K – K (age 5 & under) 44 11%
Children 6-11 (Elementary School) 46 11%
Children 12-17 (Jr. High / High School) 42 10%
 Adults 18-24 (College) 6 1%
Adults 25-34 57 14%
Adults 35-54 45 11%
Adults 55-64 51 13%
Adults 65+ 117 29%
Total 408 100%
Demographic Male 45% Female 55%






Our Professional Staff

Minister of Music: David Ball

Education: Bachelor of Music in Education, SBU; Active in Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology, Liberty University; Active in Master of Theology in Missiology and Intercultural Studies at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

Native to: Koshkonong, Missouri

Years in the ministry: 36 years in ministry, 26 years at FBC-WP

Ministry Experience: Music/Youth Pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Hernando, MS (1979-1980); Music / Youth Pastor at Como Baptist, Como, MS (1980-1981); Music/Youth Pastor at Lincolnwood Baptist Rockford, IL (1982-1985); Music Pastor at McHenry Baptist Church, McHenry, IL (1985-1990); Experience at FBC-WP: Interim/Part-time Youth Pastor (1990-1991), Staff Assistant (1991-1992), Worship Pastor (1992-Present)   


Minister of Discipleship: Dan Cargill

Education: Master of Divinity in Christian Education, May 2005, Southern Seminary; Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Human Learning, August 2002, University of Texas.

Native to:  Walla Walla, Washington. Lived in 12 states and calls Texas home because the majority of formative years were spent there.

Years in the Ministry: 14 years in the ministry, four years at FBC-WP

Ministry Experience: Youth Intern/Youth Associate at Great Hills Baptist, Austin, TX (1996-2000); Minister to Students at FBC Henryville, IN (2000-2002); Discipleship Teacher at Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Fern Creek, KY (2004-2007); Associate Pastor of Youth and Families at New Salem Baptist Louisville, KY (2007-2011); Discipleship Pastor at FBC-WP (2011-Present)


Minister of Children's Programs: Brandon Harris

Education: 30 hours of basic college courses at MSU-WP and 30 hours of Master Level courses with the Diploma Program at Southern Seminary in Louisville.

Native to: West Plains, MO

Years in the Ministry: Four years in the ministry, four years at FBC-WP

Ministry experience: Served in all aspects of children's ministries, served in youth ministry. Currently the Children’s minister (2011-Present)


Interim Youth Pastor: Brandon Woodard

Education: BA in History from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin; Working towards an Mdiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 

Native to: Corpus Christi, Texas

Years in the Ministry: Four years of ministry experience; almost one year at FBC-WP

Ministry Experience: Youth Pastor at New Light Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC (2-½ years); Interim Youth Pastor at FBC-WP (June 2015 to present)






Our Organizational Life








Our Financial Picture:

 Year Budget Budget Receipts Budget Expenses Designated Gifts Associational Giving Cooperative Program giving
2015 $1,448,300 $1,558,193 $1,376,632 $122,104 $45,276 $194,041
2014 $1,564,040  $1,557,648 $1,493,436 $143,613 $47,270 $202,433
2013 $1,593,700 $1,535,219 $1,555,814 $168,380 $46,902 $200,518
2012 $1,557,000 $1,609,544 $1,695,443 $148,592 $48,751 $208,931
 2011 $1,639,202 $1,514,090 $1,645,252 $167,550 $46,952 $201,223
2010 $1,527,340 $1,628,016 $1,526,650 $147.995 $50,034 $216,034
2009 $1,610,905 $1,541,624 $1,475,375 $156,890 $47,999 $205,711





Our Community

West Plains – a great place to live, learn, work and play. More than just a simple slogan, that heart-felt belief reverberates among the nearly 12,000 residents of the City of West Plains. As the largest city within 100 miles of south central Missouri, West Plains considers itself the Heart of the Ozarks – a community that prides itself on its philanthropy, its ingenuity, and its progressiveness.

2015 – A Tremendous Year

The City of West Plains celebrated a banner year in 2015, achieving local, regional and national acclaim. West Plains was voted as the 9th best small town in America by, a website that ranks communities based on economic development, quality of schools, events and activities, and overall livability. Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) and the West Plains R-7 School District also received recognition for academic excellence, with MSU-WP being selected as the 6th best value among community colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly, and the district achieving top 10 status in Missouri for overall academic performance. In addition, the city’s signature event – the Old Time Music Ozark Heritage Festival – was selected as one of North America’s top 100 Events for 2014 by the American Bus Association.

A Look Ahead

With 2015 in the books and 2016 in full swing, many projects are underway within the City of West Plains. Chief among those is construction of new sidewalks throughout West Plains as part of a multi-phase sidewalk improvement plan, the addition of Gardner Road off Highway K, and two new fire stations in the City.

Economic development continues to be at the forefront for the City of West Plains. Construction is currently underway on a new facility for Air Evac Lifeteam in West Plains, and a new hotel along Highway 160. The top employers in the city and region are Ozarks Medical Center, West Plains R-7 School District, Air Evac Lifeteam, DRS Technologies, Regal Beloit, MSU-West Plains, Caterpillar, Inc., Armstrong/Bruce Hardwood and Arlee Home Fashions.

Currently trade, transportation and utility workers compose the highest percentage of workers in West Plains, accounting for 23.6 percent of the workforce. Next are education and health services workers at 23.2 percent, followed by manufacturing with 22.8 percent, leisure and hospitality workers at 11 percent, and professional and business services at 9 percent.

Humble Beginnings

West Plains has a rich and fascinating history, with Josiah Howell establishing the area’s first homestead in 1839. Named for its location on the “plains west” of Thomasville, West Plains was created in 1857, becoming the seat of Howell County that same year, and was incorporated in 1861. The county grew to approximately 3,000 residents by the beginning of the Civil War, with 150 of those residents living in West Plains.

Sympathizers of both the Union and Confederacy had been forced by fighting and sabotage to leave their homes in West Plains during the Civil War, leaving the city a virtual ghost town. In fact, renegades burned the entire town to the ground in 1864. Gradually people returned after the war’s conclusion, and by 1870 the population was 300. The railroad arrived in 1883, spurring growth and the creation of a regional trade center. By 1890, the city’s population had swelled to 2,100.

As the largest city within a 100-mile radius, West Plains established itself over the next century as the trade and tourist center of south central Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. The city was not without its heartbreak, however. In 1928, an explosion at a downtown dance hall killed 37 and injured 22 more, rocking the fabric of the town and many of the neighboring communities. The explosion made national news, and 86 years later the cause of the disaster still remains a mystery.


Public schools

Public schools are provided by the West Plains R-7 School District providing education to more than 2,300 students.

  • West Plains Elementary School (PK-4)
  • West Plains Middle School (5–8)
  • West Plains High School (9–12)
  • South Fork Elementary School (K-6)

In addition, some parts of the immediate area surrounding West Plains are covered by rural schools. After eighth grade, students from the rural schools merge into West Plains High School:

  • Fair View Elementary School (K-8)
  • Glenwood Elementary School (K-8)
  • Howell Valley Elementary School (K-8)
  • Junction Hill Elementary School (K-8)
  • Richards Elementary School (K-8)

Private education:

Private education is also provided in the West Plains area, primarily by religious institutions.  Private schools in the West Plains area include the following:

  • Faith Christian Academy (PK-12)
  • Crossroads Christian Academy
  • Ozarks Christian Academy

 Higher education:

There is one higher education institution located in West Plains. Missouri State University–West Plains is a community college spread across the center of town. The school has multiple degree programs but is primarily focused on its Associate of Arts degree program. The college had 2,102 students as of the fall 2012 semester.


As of the census of 2010, there were 11,986 people, 5,001 households, and 3,012 families residing in the city. The population density was 900.5 inhabitants per square mile (347.7 /km2). There were 5,509 housing units at an average density of 413.9 per square mile (159.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.04% White, 0.85% Black or African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.05% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.76% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.21% of the population.

There were 5,001 households of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.8% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93.

The median age in the city was 36.7 years. 24.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.1% were from 25 to 44; 22.1% were from 45 to 64; and 18.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.8% male and 54.2% female.

 Age of  Population 
 <18 24.6%
18-24 10.4%
25-44 24.1%
45-64 22.1%
65 & older 18.7%
 Median Age 36.7
Population Gender
Male Female
45.8% 54.2%


Housing Resource:



Ozark Country Realty

Tri-Country Realty

Century 21 Ozark Hills Realty, Inc.

CRJ Westgate Realtors

For more information about the city of West Plains and the surrounding area, check out these links:

West Plains Schools

Missouri State University West Plains

Ozarks Christian Academy

City of West Plains, Mo.