In September 1949, a group of seven people organized First Missionary Baptist
Church of Banning, CA. through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the help of
California State Baptist Convention Missionary, Minister J.W. Cullors.
Originally church services were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Claiborne
Stewart on North Evans Street. Yet, on October of 1949 the Lord saw fit for
First Missionary to move to the new location of 1380 E. Nicolet Street, under our
new under shepherd, Pastor A.J. Johnson.
In October of 1951, Pastor J.P. Prior was called by God to lead the First Missionary Baptist Church of Banning. The church, at the time, was being held in an old army barrack which needed much repair. Many days it rained in the sanctuary during service and the children would have to move buckets around to catch the rain. No matter weather conditions, church would go on because we were determined to praise the Lord.
Under the guidance of the Lord and Pastor Prior's leadership a new sanctuary
was built in the late 1950's which would be later called the Fellowship Hall. This
building also served as a Head Start program for the local community. Many
other local congregations sent their children/grandchildren and other relatives
as well. The Head Start program also became a place of employment for members of our church and the other congregations.
The membership grew to over 150 members. So, our original building became too small to meet the needs of its congregation. Construction began in 1973 for the current sanctuary, (where we sit today) and the old church became the Fellowship Hall under the leadership of Pastor Prior who served as under shepherd for over 35 years.
In January of 1987, with prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, Pastor T. L.
Thomas was appointed as the under shepherd over this flock. Under the sanction
of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Thomas had the vision of a larger Fellowship Hall.
In October of 2003, our new Fellowship Hall was completed. The building has
numerous classrooms, a pastoral office, a trustee office, the J. P. Prior
Library and a dining area, with the capacity to hold 300 people, with a large
As the membership and congregation continued to grow under the leadership of Pastor Thomas the sanctuary was also remodeled. The food pantry and clothes closet was established to meet the needs of the community and is still in operation. Pastor T. L. Thomas served as under shepherd over First Missionary Baptist Church for 25 years, retiring in January of 2012.
August of 2012, the Lord chose Pastor Herbert Lee to lead His flock. Although his tenure was short, Pastor Lee was instrumental in procuring our multi-media system to enhance our worship services.
April 10, 2016, with much prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, Pastor Damon M. Allen was selected to serve as under shepherd and was installed as Pastor on
July 24, 2016. Under the divine leadership of God and Pastor Allen, who has a
heart of a shepherd, First Missionary Baptist Church will continue to be an
instrument in the hand of God.