First Baptist Joplin hosts final downtown service
The big brick church at 7th and Pearl has been a fixture in Joplin for the past 127 years. The congregation sang their last hymn and the pastor delivered his final message in the brick and mortar building this Sunday as the church has been purchased by Jasper County for $750,000 for its juvenile detention offices.
The church sits adjacent to the Jasper County courts building and even shares a parking lot. The congregation will be temporarily moving to Victory Ministry Sports Complex before their new church is built at I-44 and Connecticut.
“It’s going to be an exciting time, it’s definitely a new chapter for us. Our people have always handled new chapters well. It will be a new building, we say new location new look, but the same Lord,” pastor Jamie Tickel said.
With an emotionally-charged service about running the race with endurance that God set before them, the congregation reveled in memories like weddings and baptisms.
“I’m one to say this church is really the people, more than the building. So I’m going to be okay with it, I’m going to have lots and lots of memories to take with me. They’re better than tears,” Sallye Miller said.
Miller played the organ at First Baptist for just short of 54 years.
The final services were held at 10:30am and 2:00pm with a meal in-between.
The church and the county have been in talks for almost a year. The county hopes to move offices in by Aug 1 after making several security upgrades.
“It’s nice to know that this building that means so much to me will be used and the purposes for it can only bring glory to God,” congregation member Melinda Campbell said.
Hymns like “It is well (with my soul)” were sang as the congregation looked back with memories but forward with hope.
“It was a very special service, I feel like a tip of the hat to the past. But there was a sense of excitement as well as we know we are really at a threshold between a really rich past and a really bright future for the church,” Tickel said.