The First Baptist Church of Rochelle was organized in 1888 with the Rev. T. B. Fuller and the Rev. J. C. Andrews constituting the Presbytery. There were 14 charter members.
The first place of meeting was in a wooden store house located on the southeastern corner of First Avenue and Gordon Street. Services were later held in a school building on the corner of Lee Street and Sixth Avenue and for some months in the Methodist Church. In 1892, the membership began worshiping in their partially completed building which was located on the corner of Gordon Street and Third Avenue. The same wooden building was being used twenty years later when the membership had increased to 158 and classrooms were needed. Plans were formulated for a new building to be built on the same site where the old building stood. That necessitated moving the old building and making arrangements with Masons for the use of their building as a place for worship. Finally, in April 1917, the new brick building was begun and was completed May, 1918 The total cost of the church without furnishings was $23,047.00 On April 27, 1919, Dr. Walter M. Lee preached the dedication sermon. The building was designed by J. J. Baldwin, Architect of Anderson, South Carolina, who made a specialty of designing church buildings.
Through the years, many improvements and additions have been made as the LORD led this body of believers to expand His light through His church’s ministries and outreach for our community. Each and every time the LORD has led us to expand and make improvements, He has guided the process, directing us to each property, and providing all the needed resources through donated manpower and skills, funds to purchase property, and even working through others to gift property to First Baptist Church of Rochelle. The church purchased the adjacent property known as the Reviere property in December 1964. In 1967, an annex was added providing additional Sunday School classrooms, a large fellowship hall, kitchen, and restrooms. In September, 2001, land was purchased from Rochelle State Bank that now serves as a parking lot on the west side of the premises. The year 2003 brought another major addition to the building with an even larger and nicer kitchen, fellowship hall and more classrooms and restrooms. In March 2007, the lot across the alley from the church and behind Rochelle State Bank was purchased from Anne Brooks. The next purchase in August 2009, was the Masonic Building property located adjacent to the sanctuary. That building is now utilized for our Youth Ministry, Food Distribution, and Puppet Ministry. In September 2013, the LORD provided through a gift from James H. Owens (known to us as Jamie Owens) 1.263 acres directly across from the church on Ashley Street. The last purchase was made from Thomas Milton Whittle, Jr. In May 2016, which, when combined with the adjoining Owens property addition, titled the church to one half a city block. The LORD then transformed that property to a liquid resource in 2017 to be used at His direction. As for further renovations, the balcony of the sanctuary underwent a major overhaul and improvement in 2011 that opened it up and added greatly needed seating to increase the number of seats in the whole sanctuary. The most recent improvement was the renovation of the lower level sanctuary in 2017.
Since the beginning, First Baptist Church of Rochelle has rendered Christian service through its organizations and participation in the total church program. In 1888, the year of organization, it was received into the Little River Association of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Through the co-operative program, it helps support all Baptist work.
We of the present generation are indebted to countless benefactors, many of which are known and some who are unknown to us. They left us a rich heritage of faith along with a sanctuary of lasting beauty as a place of worship. We are indebted to the present membership for their willingness to serve the LORD. With Christian love and concern for all humanity, we want to pass the torch of faith to those who follow. We eagerly await to see the plans our LORD GOD has for First Baptist Church Rochelle in the future.