Pensacola church putting missions first with Mission First

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PENSACOLA—For First Baptist Church of Pensacola, putting missions first is more than a slogan. It’s a commitment.

Set to break ground this fall, Mission First is a 22,000-square-foot facility that will enable the church to focus on mission projects, sharing the gospel near and far.

“We believe God has given us the resources to share His love in a city, community and world in need of hope,” said Pastor Dave Snyder.

“We believe the answer to that search for hope is in Jesus Christ.”

The new two-story multipurpose building is slated to be used as an equipping center for several of the church’s mission partners, including Operation Christmas Child, with space for preparing and sending out Christmas gift boxes to impoverished children throughout the world.

Also, the Church2Church food ministry, in which the church partners with more than 40 local churches to provide food for about 1,200 families every other month, will have dedicated space in the new facility.

Dock-height loading bays will easily enable large trucks to be filled weekly for the Church2Church food ministry. Additionally, the loading bays will be used for sending out Christmas boxes and for other ministries as needed.

Local foster care families also will be served with a storehouse of clothing, backpacks and other items that families can borrow when taking in foster children.

“It is really surprising how many things you need when a new placement comes into your family,” said Jamie Thorn, a foster parent and member of First Baptist Church of Pensacola.

“Having a closet that we can borrow from is really a blessing. It’s amazing to be able to go, have that, wash it and take it back for the next foster kid to be able to use. That’s a valuable ministry that a lot of families will be able to benefit from.”

The church partners with C.A. Weis Elementary School with its “backpack buddies” program, providing food for more than 300 children each weekend during the school year. The new facility will have space dedicated to storing food and preparing bags each week to be sent home with students in need.

First Baptist Church Pensacola“First Baptist always comes through for us,” said Latonya Jones-Connors, wellness support coordinator at the elementary school.

“It’s a blessing to have them in the school with us as a team. They are committed, and we appreciate them,” she said.

“This excites me,” said Pastor Snyder, “as we are letting our city know we are here to serve them.”

Mission First will be located on the church campus in downtown Pensacola.

The church, a part of Pensacola Bay Baptist Association, is currently running a capital campaign to raise funds for the Mission First building, which has an expected completion date of late 2023. The church’s goal is to complete the facility debt-free.

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