First Melissa has shared the joy and hope of Jesus Christ through numerous seasons of change - western expansion, world wars, the Great Depression, movements for women's suffrage and civil rights. We've seen the evolution of travel from horse and buggy to the space shuttle; the evolution of communication from news taking weeks to travel to watching history unfold on a cell phone as it's happening. And we've seen our own community develop from a population of around 100 in 1884, into a booming suburb of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Through all of this, our objective has remained the same: taking the good news of Jesus to a world in constant struggle and change. The message of Jesus never changes... God loves us and has a plan for our lives. All have sinned, but God sent His son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sin. It is up to each of us to accept this gift and follow Him. As culture and technology change, those changes bring new windows for us to share this gospel message with the world around us.
Known as "The Great Commission," Matthew 28:19-20 says,
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
At First Melissa, this is our calling.
On October 18, 1884, The Baptist Church of Christ at Melissa was organized, receiving 22 charter members into membership. Elder Levi Dunn accepted the call as the church's first pastor, with a salary of $100 per year. Sharing a meeting house with churches from other denominations, the church originally met monthly for worship and teaching, with business meetings following afterward. After 14 years, a second regular monthly service was added in 1898. It was not until 1948 that weekly services began at First Melissa.
In 1891, the name was revised to Melissa Baptist Church, and in 1952 the current (official) name of First Baptist Church of Melissa was adopted. "First Melissa," as we call it, is a simplified abbreviation of the name.
In the late 19th century, Melissa was a bustling community with a school, flour mill, cotton gin, a number of businesses, and a train stop. Originally located in "downtown" Melissa, our first building was dedicated debt-free in 1890 and stood until a tornado struck Melissa in April of 1921. In the wake of this devastation, the church began rebuilding almost immediately. The reconstruction was completed in 1924, and still stands today at our former location at 1707 West Harrison Street, though the architecture has been altered by expansion and remodeling over the years.
In light of projected area-wide growth, First Melissa purchased property in 1998 and relocated to our current home at 2101 East Melissa Road in November of 2004. As our area continued to grow, a second building was constructed in 2010, doubling our capacity for onsite ministry.
We are disciples making disciples - a family of Christ-followers who believe that God can fundamentally change your life and that His word, the Bible, is where we discover how His presence in our lives matters both now and for eternity. We want everyone to experience the breakthrough of knowing and following Jesus Christ.
As we strive to fulfill that mission, we focus on four vision expressions - practical ways to live out our calling as a church. Learn more below about how we: