Our History

First Baptist Church was born in the hearts of a few women and men in July 1978, soon after the development of Sun City West.

North Phoenix Baptist Church was the initial sponsor of the church. On Easter, 1980, the church conducted its first worship service. During its early years, the church met in three temporary locations: the Alco Theater, Sun City; Home Federal Savings and Loan, Sun City West; and Western Savings, Sun City West. On February 10, 1985, the church held its organizational meeting as the Sun City West Baptist Church.

Members purchased land on North Conquistador Drive for the church’s permanent home. Groundbreaking ceremonies were in February 1983, and the first service was held on Christmas Day that year. The current name, First Baptist Church, Sun City West, became its official name in 1988.

Dr. C. Melvin Ratheal served as the church’s first pastor. To date, the church has had a total of six (6) pastors which are as follows:

DR. MELVIN RATHEAL (Feb 1980-Aug 1986) 6 years
REV. JOHN MURPHY (May 1987-Jun 1989) 2 years
DR. OWEN DAHLOR (Dec 1989-Oct 1996) 7 years
DR. LARRY BAKER (Nov 1997-May 2009) 12 years
DR. GLENN SAUL (Oct 2010-Dec 2016) 6 years
DR. KIRBY KENNEDY (Jun 2018-present)

The church built its first addition, The Christian Life Center, in 1992. In 2015, the church built its second addition which added two Bible study classrooms, a main entrance and welcome center, and two handicapped restrooms. This addition also enlarged the Christian Life Center for special events.

First Baptist Church, Sun City West has a richly diverse membership. Its men and women come from at least 30 states and 3 nations.