First Southern, K.C., Kan., celebrates 60 years

A small church with a far-reaching influence describes First Southern Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kan.

Former church members and friends gathered for the church’s 60th anniversary celebration on Sunday, April 7.

First Southern’s building occupies a prominent spot on the north side of Interstate 70 west of the 78th Street interchange. Although the congregation is small in number, it has been a part of spreading the gospel around the world.

The celebration had a special meaning for Othoniel and Noeida Castro, former Cuban refugees. First Southern sponsored them when they came to the United States in the early 1960s.

Ron Malott, who grew up in the church, was the guest speaker for the celebration service. He and his wife, Vickie, were missionaries in Nigeria from 1990 to 2003. They now live in Lathrop, Mo., where he is pastor of First Baptist Church.

Malott preached from Philippians 3. He urged First Southern to celebrate the past but look at what God wants to do in the next 60 years.

“What needs to be the mission of the next 60 years? Jesus - the crucified and resurrected Lord,” Malott said.

The 60th anniversary celebration began with the congregation singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” The church’s first service on March 29, 1953, included singing that hymn.

In 60 years First Southern has had seven pastors with an average tenure of 8.5 years.

Pastor Rick Rooks urged the church members to continue their faithful service. “You don’t know what you’re doing that will bless someone tomorrow. Our faithfulness makes a difference.”

Visit the church’s Web site and look for it on Facebook.