The Bible teaches us that Jesus established His Church during His Ministry.
The Baptist in the year of 1638 were coming to the colonies from England, Wales and other places and by the Grace of God, help from the Holy Spirit and the desire to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the new word. They preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and planted Baptist Churches.
In the year of 1707, six Baptist Churches organized the first Association in America and named it the Philadelphia Baptist Association.
Because of adverse laws and persecutions Baptist remained few in number, yet by the year of 1740 their churches numbered 40. In the years of 1737, 1738, 1739 and 1740 the colonies were visited by Minister, George Whitfield from England who conducted revival meetings with great success.
In 1740 the Baptist Church at Boston, Massachusetts found fault with the methods used in the above said revival. This friction ended in a division of the church in the year 1742.
The parties adopted Regular and Separate Baptist for their names.
Both parties were mission minded and churches of both names were planted. In all the colonies both groups could trace their footsteps to the Philadelphia Association, the English, and Wales Churches, and to the church that Jesus organized.
After three years of prayer and consultation six Associations met in August 10, 1787 at Dover Church in Goochland County, Virginia and agreed to bury the names of Regular and Separate in oblivion (a forgetting) and to be known as the United Baptist Churches of Jesus Christ.
United Baptist began coming to Missouri in the year of 1790 and by God’s help and their mission efforts churches have been planted over the entire state.
On Saturday before the second Lord’s Day in June 1816, a convention was held at Bethel meeting house to begin the organization of an Association of Churches. This meeting was held at Bethel Church near Jackson, Missouri that was organized July 19, 1806. This was the first permanent Baptist Church in the Missouri Territory.
The three churches that were constituted were to send messengers and letters to the Little River Association and request a letter of dismissing from that Association to form one in Missouri, to be called Bethel Association.
Time was given to constitute and ordain the officers of the churches, and to meet again on Saturday before the last Lord’s Day in September. Seven churches formed the first Association. Bethel Church near Jackson, Tywaeppity Church south of Cape Girardeau, Providence Church at
Fredericktown, Barren Church in Perry County, Belleview Church at Caledonia, St. François Church twenty five miles below the village of St. Michaels now called Fredericktown near St. Francois River, Dry Creek Church in Cape County.
The constitution of the Bethel Association drafted the same as the Virginia Union of Baptist.
The Bethel Association was organized on the principles of the United Baptist.
Bethel Association dismissed nine churches September 1859 for the purpose or organizing a new Association. These churches were Bethlehem, Mt. Pleasant, Big Creek, Sugar Tree Grove, Pleasant Grove, Mt. Zion, Mt. Gilead, Locust Grove, and White Oak Grove. These nine churches organized the Central Missouri Association of United Baptist in October 1859.
The Central Missouri Association took the same Constitution and Articles of Faith of the Bethel Association; our heritage from the Philadelphia Association of 1707; the Virginia Union of Baptist. This Association adopted the Red River Association Constitution so there is the Bethel Association. Central Missouri Association came from Bethel Association; Bethel Association came from Little River Association in Kentucky in 1813; Little River Association came from the Red River Association in Kentucky in 1813; Red River Association came from Cumberland River Association of Tennessee in 1806; Cumber land River Association came from the Mero District in 1802; Mero District from labors of ministers of the Elkhorn Association of Kentucky 1796; Elkhorn Association was gathered and formed by such men as Elder John Taylor, John Gano and A. Dudley who was connected with the Philadelphia Association. The Philadelphia Association the first Association in America.
We, are proud of our heritage. We, today are proud indeed of the spirit of brotherhood and good will that prevails among us and we believe that the power of God which enabled our forefathers to found this Baptist faith will lead us to meet the many problems of a changing world, and that this power will guide us in all things as we work out the fulfillment of God’s divine will in this world.
By: Elder Kenneth R. Parker,
Moderator 1971 – 2013