American Baptist Church
First Baptist Church, Sterling, Colorado - affiliation with American Baptist Churches
First Baptist Church, Sterling, Colorado was founded in August 1883 as an affiliate church of the American Baptist Church. Throughout its history, the church has maintained this affiliation, sometimes closely, at other times more loosely. In its doctrine, First Baptist affirms the 1853 version of The New Hampshire Confession, and thus is more theologically conservative than most American Baptist churches.
Article III of the First Baptist Church Constitution states, “This Church shall be an autonomous body of believers in Jesus Christ with a democratic form of government. We shall endeavor to maintain a voluntary affiliation with the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains (ABC/RM) and the American Baptist Churches of the U.S.A. (ABC/USA).”
For several decades, First Baptist participated profitably in the camping ministry of ABC/RM through its former facility, Black Forest Camp and Conference Center, providing ample leadership and many campers, giving financial support, and sending a couple of members to serve on the BFCCC board of directors. When ABC/RM sold BFCCC in the early 2000s, First Baptist continued to support ABC/RM camping through 2013 when this support became doctrinally and fiscally untenable. First Baptist’s functional connections with ABC/RM were substantially altered through this process.
The church remains committed to maintain its historic connection with ABC/RM.
The pastor of First Baptist and a few of its members attend the annual meeting of ABC/RM. The pastor has attended the ABC/USA Biennial Gathering occasionally. First Baptist gives a small amount to ABC/USA United Missions, and several thousand dollars to the denomination’s four annual mission-support offerings: America For Christ Offering (which supports home missionaries); One Great Hour of Sharing (which goes to emergency relief and disaster mitigation); World Fellowship Offering (for foreign missionaries); and the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (to support and assist retired ABC ministers and missionaries and their widowed spouses).