Dr. Ray Roberts, Executive Director of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio met with Leonard Smith in a restaurant in Zanesville , Ohio . Dr. Roberts learned that Leonard was a Baptist and that there were no Baptist churches in Barnesville. He asked Leonard if he would be willing to start a work in the community.
The Barnesville Baptist Chapel held its first worship service on November 1, 1960 , meeting above Bohandy's Restaurant at 129 West Main Street . This initial worship service was conducted by Rev. Robert Hall, Director of Missions of the Upper Ohio Baptist Association. Five persons were present at this meeting.
A revival was conducted during the second week of November and the evangelist was Rev. Hall. A survey had been taken the last of October to find prospective members. First Baptist Church of Woodsfield (the mother church of Barnesville Baptist Chapel ) helped with the survey and the evangelistic services. Rev. Hall came from Athens , Ohio to preach on Sundays during the months of November and December. John Ashcraft, formerly of Woodsfield, supplied the pulpit on a part-time basis during the early months of 1961. Eldon Fox served the chapel as preacher during the summer of 1961.
Rev. Clay Frazier, pastor at First Baptist Church , Woodsfield, conducted a Vacation Bible School and revival services during June 1961. He was helped in these endeavors by college students working at the Ohio Baptist Assembly at Seneca Lake .
Rev. B. Leon Wilson from Jacksboro , Tennessee was called for a trial sermon on July 12, 1961 . Thirty persons were present for this service. A call was extended to him to become the Bi-vocational pastor. He and his wife, Aleda and two small daughters moved from Tennessee , and he began his duties at Barnesville on August 28, 1961 . Between July 12th and August 28th many that were attending the chapel decided to start a chapel in St. Clairsville because most of them lived in that area. The result of this move left only the families of Leonard Smith and Paul Gregg attending the Barnesville Chapel.
In November 1962 the Chapel moved from above Bohandy's Restaurant to the Roe "storefront" building on West Main Street . Services were held in this building until 1972. In January of that year, the Barnesville Baptist Chapel began worship services in the AME Church building at 240 West South Street .
On April 18, 1978 , the Barnesville Baptist Chapel was constituted into the First Baptist Church of Barnesville with 58 charter members.
On September 1, 1981 , the first Baptist Church made an application for a loan to the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to purchase a tract of land from Mr. Kenneth McGhee. (Cost of this land was $25,000.) The application was approved and 18 months later the lot was debt free.
Through faithful giving of members and friends the building fund continued to grow and preparation of detailed construction plans began in March 1992.
Rev. Wilson went to be with his Lord on April 20, 1992 . His record of over 31 years of faithful service as the first pastor of the Church will long be remembered. The Church was served by various ministers and lay speakers until the fall of 1993.
The members continued with the existing plans to build a new building. Ground breaking services were held on June 7, 1992 . Construction had begun by the end of the month. David Reynolds of White Oak Texas was the volunteer superintendent of the building crews. Much of the work on the new building was done by the members of First Baptist Church along with volunteer labor from Texas , North Carolina , Alabama , Minnesota , Tennessee and Ohio . Some of the materials and the steeple were made possible by gifts from outside the local church family.
On February 10, 1993 the church called Murray Allen of Marietta, Ohio to serve as interim pastor. He accepted the call and preached his first sermon as interim pastor on February 14, 1993 .
The first service (a praise/thanksgiving service) held in the completed building was April 18, 1993 . A formal dedication service was held May 23, 1993 .
The Church voted on October 6, 1993 to extend a call to Murray Allen to serve as their Bi-vocational pastor. He accepted the call and preached his first sermon as pastor on October 17, 1993 . He and his wife, Geneva , commuted from Marietta each weekend until they built a home on Shady Lane in order to become a part of the Barnesville community and to serve the church more fully.
Rev. Allen served as pastor until his retirement, December 28, 1997 .
The Pastor Search committee recommended at a special called business meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 1998 that the church call Barnesville native, Rodney D. West to serve as Bi-vocational pastor. He and his wife, Patty began their service as pastor and wife on Sunday, September 13, 1998 .Church attendance grew and the Sunday morning service became crowded. On September 6th, 2009 the church added a second Sunday morning service at 8:30.
On September 24, 2014 the church voted to add Bethesda native Joe Thornton as Associate Pastor. Joe was ordained on March 21st, 2015.
At the May 13, 2015 Business Meeting, Pastor Rodney announced that he would be retiring on August 31st, 2015.
On July 8, 2015 at the recommendation of the Pastor Search Committee the church voted to hire Joe Thornton as Senior Pastor effective September 1st, 2016. Pastor Joe preached his first sermon as Senior Pastor on September 6, 2015. On the same day, the church returned to one service, moving the time to 9:00 a.m.
On July 6, 2016 the church voted to extend the church building. Construction began October 10, 2016 for a 41’ x 50’ 2-story construction adding to the Sanctuary and creating a large Fellowship Hall underneath. Attendance remained steady throughout the construction process even though services were held elsewhere for 4 consecutive Sundays in February/March. The first service in the completed sanctuary was March 19th. Sunday School was able to resume April 9th. A Dedication Service was held Sunday, April 2nd at 4 p.m. and was highly attended by the community and companies involved in the construction process.
The Lord continues to bless the congregation through His leadership as programs are added to meet the needs of the community and new members are welcomed into fellowship.