Faith Baptist Church started as the burden of the Minnesota Baptist Convention’s Planting and Watering Committee (this state group later becoming the Minnesota Baptist Association). The planting of the church started in the homes of three women in the McDonough Homes Project. Reverend Larry Johnson started prayer meetings and Bible studies in the homes of these ladies, and it was from these meetings the church began to form, holding its first meeting as Faith Baptist Church in the Spring of 1961.
Dr. Robert Myrant pastored Faith from 1962-1966. He was a former church planter who was teaching at Central Seminary while pastoring at Faith. Under his leadership, the church constructed a combination church and parsonage. When the congregation reached approximately seventy in membership, the church went ahead and constructed a new building at 1360 Mississippi Street.
Dr. Myrant left Faith in November of 1966, and the church called Reverend Joel Kettenering as pastor. Pastor Kettenering, a former teacher at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, was well respected throughout Minnesota in Fundamental Baptist circles. Pastor Kettenering led the church to purchase more property and encouraged the building of the garage on the parsonage as well as the clearing of the present playground area. The property was bought in order to provide for “the future expansion of the church.”
Pastor Kettenering left Faith in June of 1970 to teach Bible college in Jamaica, West Indies. The church then called Reverend Gerald Carlson, a graduate of Central Seminary, to be pastor. Pastor Carlson was a youth pastor when he was called to Faith Baptist Church. The church was being prepared for a new and exciting time of change.
The first major accomplishment of Pastor Carlson’s ministry came shortly after his arrival at Faith. He quickly became aware of the need for the ministry to grow and began to investigate the possibility of expanding the facilities. The church came to the conclusion that the best way to expand the church would be to add wings to both sides of the building. An ambitious bond program was established to finance the new facility. Faith promise was also used to help cover the weekly expenses of paying off the bonds. The church proceeded with the expansion, and the new facility was dedicated on November 16, 1974.
It was during Pastor Carlson’s time that the bus ministry grew to its largest point. Door-to-door calling and training in personal evangelism were emphasized. Faith was developing into a vibrant witnessing church.
In the early seventies, Faith was a growing congregation full of young families. Pastor Carlson was familiar with the burgeoning Christian school movement. Sensing the need of a local Christian school, FBC voted to begin a school offering early elementary grades. The deacons joined in the burden and became the first School Board. From these humble, yet exciting beginnings sprang Faith Baptist Christian School.
Pastor Carlson left Faith to become the National Field Director of the AACS. In the same year, 1978, Faith called Reverend Charles Johnston to be the next head pastor.
Faith Baptist Christian School continued to grow during the years of Pastor Johnston’s ministry. He greatly aided the school by providing a more formalized internal structure for the institution, and by the early 1980s, the school was considering adding an eighth grade. Further expansion to include a high school was deemed unnecessary at that time because three Fundamental Baptist high schools were available for students to attend. Dr. Johnston also worked diligently to further the cause of evangelism in Saint Paul as well as in Foreign Missions. An active children’s ministry also continues as a testament to Dr. Johnston’s ministry.
Pastor Johnston resigned the pastorate of Faith in October of 1998, and in the summer of 1999 the church called Dr. Julian L. Suarez to be the new Senior Pastor. In the fall of 2000, Faith Baptist Christian School began its long anticipated High School ministry and is yearly producing graduates who model Christ as they enter the wider world in which they minister. Unfortunately, in the wake of the economic slump of 2008, FBCS experienced an admissions downturn resulting in cessation of operations in 2012.
The history of Faith Baptist Church is the heritage of all its members and demonstrates that a commitment to our founding principles can and will result in the blessing of God.
The above accounting is, in great part, a reflection of an academic paper by Pastor Tim Barr, former staff member of FBC – St. Paul and has been used by permission.