Church History

In 1859, here in Wyandotte County , prior to Kansas becoming a state, First Baptist Church along with First AME Church came into existence. In the beginning, several families and two ministers–a Baptist, Rev. Joe Strater, and a Methodist, Rev. Buchanan–began worshiping together in the homes of these families. The ministers took turns conducting the worship services. When the “door of the Church” was opened for new members, both ministers extended the invitation, giving each person full opportunity to join the group of his or her choice. When the group became too large to worship in homes, the Wyandotte Indians, who founded Wyandotte Town , allowed the group to worship in the Indian Council House at Fourth Street and State Avenue. By 1864, after the Emancipation Proclamation and the exodus from the South, the two denominations had increased in number and were ready for separate existences.

The Baptists moved to a storefront at Fifth Street and Washington Boulevard; it was the first Baptist church of any kind in the community. They erected a small frame building in the 600 block of Nebraska where they worshipped for fifteen years. Around 1879, the present site was purchased, and one of the first brick buildings in the city was erected. The Methodist constructed a church building and eventually became known as the First African Methodist Episcopal church–First AME–now located at Ninth Street and Nebraska Avenue . First Baptist Church built the current building in 1921, and the Education and Activities building was erected in 1963.

Over these one hundred, fifty–plus years, seventeen ministers have served in the pastorate position. The succession of pastors led the church in building its ministries, and in its impact in the local community and among the national Baptist bodies. Two pastors, Rev. W. A. Bowren, and Dr. Edward A. Freeman served a total of 77 years–twenty–seven, and fifty, respectively. Through their leadership efforts, First Baptist Church became a significant human and civil rights institution in the local community, and a center for nurturing growth in Christian leadership in the national Baptist community. Under the leadership of our current pastor since 2009, Rev. Cedric Rowan, the church is energized by his efforts to create a variety of ministries to serve the diverse needs of those who live in the center city. He believes that men should serve as a Christian role model within their own families and has started a men”s fellowship to support the men on their journey to becoming a “Kingdom Man”.

About Us

First Baptist Church has a friendly, family atmosphere with lots of smiling faces. We try to make everyone feel like they are at home during our church service. Our Sunday service starts with a devotional period. We also have a “getting to know you period” where we play music and we encourage everyone to walk around and greet each other. This is a great way to get to know people and ask questions. In order to know who our guests are, we will ask you stand and state your name and you have the option of filling out a registration card if you would like for us to contact you or pray for you.

Above all, we want our guests to relax and find us to be a loving, caring people who at some time in the past, was also a first-timer! Come and see us. We’re expecting you!!

Mission Statement

First Baptist Church exists in the Greater Kansas City community:

Carry out the mission of the Church, from the Baptist perspective, as given in the Great Commission

(Matt. 28: 19-20);

and to:

Play a vital role in the lives of people in this community through religious teachings and Practices, leadership and continuous challenges to the social, political and economic systems in order to make our community a wholesome place to live.

Our Vision

First Baptist Church strives to be:

•An extraordinary example in this community of carrying out the Great Commission (Matt.28: 19-20)

•An inspiration for Christian living and development

•A nurturing family through life”s stages and situations

•A church that attracts cultural, intellectual, and economic diversity

•A prayer and worship center

•A church with an edifice that is fully utilized

•A beacon for the lost, and a source of energy for the weak in spirit

•A highly regarded partner in the faith community; and,

•A catalyst for social justice.


Here are the members of our church whom have dedicated their life to doing the lords work....

Rev. Cedric Rowan


Cedric L. Rowan is a native of Kansas City, Mo and the son of Robert L. Rowan (deceased) and Ella Mae (Ross) Rowan. Rev. Rowan was educated in the Kansas City School system graduating from Southeast High School in 1976. Rev Rowan continued is his education receiving a bachelor degree in political science from the University of Kansas in 1981, 1986 graduate of Webster University, Kansas City, MO Master of Arts in Business Administration and a 2005 graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City, Kansas with a Master of Divinity degree. Rev. Rowan has served as a guest instructor for a class in church administration at Central Seminary and a guest lecturer in the African American Studies Department for the University of Kansas teaching a class in the Black Church. Rev. Rowan was licensed by the Friendship Baptist in December of 1996 and ordained in August of 2005.

Rev. Rowan has preached for congregations in our local community, district and state convention functions, and churches across the country.

Rev. Rowan was elected Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kansas in September of 2009 and assumed those pastoral duties the first Sunday of October of 2009. Rev. Rowan currently is serving as the Third Vice President for the Congress of Christian Education and Ethics Chairman for the Kansas State Baptist Convention.

God has blessed him to have a beautiful Christian wife (Dorri) of twenty-eight years and two sons. The eldest son (Ryan) is an attorney in Valparaiso, Indiana and the youngest son (Austin) a supply chain commodity manager for American Airlines in Dallas, Texas.

Rev. Willie R. Baker Jr.

Willie R. Baker Jr. is a native Kansas City, Missouri. He received his early education in the Kansas City Unified School District graduating from Central High School Class of 1968. He later continued his education at Northwest Missouri State University 1968-1971, University of Missouri, Kansas City 1971-1972, Lincoln University Continuing Education Addictions Academy 2005, and Advance Addictions Academy 2007.

Reverend Baker preached his initial sermon on June 5, 1983 at the St. Stephen Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Mac Charles Jones, Pastor and Dr. John W. Williams,Pastor Emeritus. He was licensed and ordained to preach the Gospel on March 27, 1988.

He is married to Linda Baker and the proud father of seven (7) children, the youngest, Joshua remains at home, and twelve (12) grandchildren, and eight (8) great-grandchildren.

Reverend Baker’s passion is for those outside the margins of life and is best described scripturally. The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He’s chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor. Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” (Luke 4:18-19)

Rev. Lewis Carswell

Lewis W. Carswell–whose greatest desire and ambition in life is to become a better student and disciple of Christ, and to serve His cause. Serve as an instructor, New Testament professor at Western Baptist Bible College, Kansas City, MO., Dr R. L. Baynham is the Dean. My membership is with the First Baptist Church, Kansas City, KS. Associate Minister, Sunday school teacher, taught Wednesday Night Bible Class and Wednesday Sunday school Teachers Class.

From 1976–2004 He Served at Second Baptist Church Kansas City, KS as Associate Minister and in several other areas: Sunday Church School Teacher, Taught Wednesday Night Bible Class, Sick and Shut–in visitation, Assisted in Church Services (Preaching, Teaching, Weddings, & Funerals) Worked with School of Christian Education and was Director of the BTU. Ordained as a Gospel Minister May 21, 1995 under Pastor Rev. Dr Roy A. Reed.

Rev. Carswell holds several degrees. He is a graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, KCKS, MARS; Avila College, KC MO. M. B. A; St Mary’s College B.S. Business Administration, and Donnelly College KCKS, AA

Military: 1955–1976 United States Marine Corps – Retired Personal Data Hobbies: I enjoy reading, computers, photography, music and playing chess. Married: Theodoshia L. Carswell (41 years) Secondary Education for over 35 years Children: Two sons– Kenith and Karl

Rev. Tracy M. Jarrett

Tracy M. Jarrett, was born in Leavenworth Kansas, to Edna and the late Oza Maxey. She was raised by her parents Edna and Richard Brantley. Tracy is the youngest daughter of six children, three girls and three boys.

She was baptized, May 1974 at Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church, Leavenworth, Kansas by the late Rev. Dr. Hyman L. Jarrett, Sr. Tracy accepted her call to the ministry in 2001 and on May 15, 2003, Rev. Tracy M. Jarrett was licensed to preach the Gospel, by the late Rev. Dr. Hyman L. Jarrett, Sr., and the Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church, Leavenworth, Kansas. Rev. Jarrett worked as a Youth Minister and spent many years actively involved with the Youth Department of Sunflower. In 2005, she organized and sponsored the first Back to School Extravaganza at Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church, which supplied over one hundred children in the Leavenworth area with necessary school supplies for the coming school year.

Rev. Jarrett is a 1987 graduate of Leavenworth Senior High School. She also graduated in 1998 from Concorde Career College, Kansas City, Missouri, as a Certified Respiratory Therapist. Rev. Jarrett is also a board member for the Hill Crest Manor Retirement Housing, in Leavenworth, Kansas. Rev. Tracy M. Jarret is the proud mother of two daughters, Taleesha D. Netherland, and Ashley N. Netherland, both of Leavenworth Kansas.

Rev. Mark Collier

Mark Collier was born on August 16, 1959 in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the fourth of five children. Mark attended and graduated from Southeast High School in 1977. In 1984, Mark joined the U.S. Navy and served in several port locations throughout the world. He earned numerous awards and medals, received an Honorable Discharge in 1995, and went into the private industry and government contracting. Mark earned his undergraduate degree in Management (Organizational Behavior) from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1999 and went on to earn his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Suffolk University in Boston.

Minister Collier is a true advocate for Christ, and is glad to share the Good News of the Gospel whenever possible. He seeks to educate, encourage and empower others to walk with Christ, in furtherance of God’s kingdom. Minister Collier currently works for the federal Government in Kansas City, Mo. Prior to that he worked in the Kansas City Kansas School District, as a Special Education Paraprofessional and Assistant to the Principal. Minister Collier also currently serves as the Minister of Christian Education for First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kansas (5th & Nebraska), where he enjoys leading the Sunday School Department. He enjoys teaching the Men’s Sunday School Class, workshops, seminars and Bible Study, as assigned by the Pastor. Minister Collier is also a certified “Stephen’s Leader”, and leads a training course to instruct and develop Stephen’s Ministers at First Baptist Church. He believes strongly in the command to “…bear one another’s burdens..,” (Gal. 6:2).

Minister Collier accepted his calling to the Ministry in 2007 and studied under Pastor Cedric L. Rowan. He preached his first sermon and was licensed under Pastor James A. Terrance of Friendship Baptist Church in April 2009, and plans to one day pursue advanced theological degrees in seminary.

An Ordination Service was held on January 31, 2016 where Minister Collier was ordained by Pastor Cedric L. Rowan, First Baptist Church and an ordination council made up of  Pastor David Lee, Guiding Star Missionary Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas, Rev. Dr. Luke Bobo, Kansas City, Missouri, Rev. Willie Baker, First Baptist Church, Pastor Robert Milan Jr., Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas, Pastor James Drew, Peace and Fellowship Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas and Pastor Michael Patton, United Missionary Baptist Church, Kansas City, Missouri

Rev. Collier and his lovely wife Renee, together have four children; Marc Anthony who is an attorney in Los Angeles, CA, Richard who is on active duty with the US Air Force, Roxanne, a para-legal in Oklahoma City, and Reginald, who attends Drury University in Springfield, Missouri working on obtaining his Masters.