In 1988, Dorsey Wayne Franklin, a member of First Baptist Church of Rogersville, set out to record the history of the Church. He, along with the Church, privately published two volumes of the church’s history in two books titled, First Baptist Church Rogersville, Missouri, 1908-1993 Volume I and subsequently adding Volume II for additional information.
In his dedication, Franklin writes, “These volumes are gratefully dedicated to the countless workers of Rogersville’s grand old First Baptist Church of the past. In an environment where struggling was the norm, they reached beyond their means again and again to nurture and bring to life a church that for lack of love, would have perished. It is dedicated to the workers of my generation who picked up the tools of those who fell under that load, and with their youth and strength, and the Grace of Almighty God, brought the church in full bloom to the threshold of the Twenty-First Century. It is dedicated to the workers of all the tomorrows who will pick up the lamp with renewed strength, and labor with unyielding faith and love for the Lord until He returns…”
Franklin goes on to write, “No man is born with the knowledge of history of his environment. It comes from books, and libraries, and cemeteries, and magazines, and newspapers, and from the hearts and minds and keepsake boxes of those who lived it. Information from outside sources is two dimensional, and can only breath and attain its glow and semblance of life when some human bends your ear and says---‘Let me tell you how we paid for those pews’, or ‘I heard Mrs. J.R. Johnson shout ‘GLORY TO GOD’ when her daughter was baptized back in 1908.” (Volume I, page i)
Franklin discusses how the church struggled in the early days financially stating, “The little struggling church in the heart of Rogersville tried rummage sales, café style dinners and a host of other schemes in the early days to keep the church solvent. Quite frankly those efforts failed. Later they acquired some property that looked good for rental income. They soon learned it needed a bathroom, hot water heater, painting and some roofing and flooring, and a cellar/basement full of water at times. Not to mention the problems they had keeping it rented, and then rented collecting the rent. And someone had to take care of the rental property lawn.” In addition, the church owned a parsonage as it also needed constant attention. Franklin discusses in his writings, how it was remodeled each time a new pastor moved in. (Volume I, page ii)
Franklin made note that many records were lost, or as he heard, destroyed by fire. There are no records from the years 1908 to 1920 and the years 1929 and 1930 were missing as well. According to Franklin from his interview with Pearl Galloway (who was there when the building caught fire), "Smoke began coming in to the building where the stove pipe entered the flue at the ceiling. The preacher kept preaching; the congregation listened patiently and watched the smoke as it came into the church. Finally Mr. Hamilton got up, went home, changed clothes, and brought some buckets for a brigade. Before long the preaching was over and the fire was out." (Volume I, page XV)
The Pastor Timeline and Church History Timeline on this website page were created from Dorsey Wayne Franklin’s discoveries from past church records that he recorded in his books.
Dorsey Wayne Franklin, Author
March 1, 1927 - October 20, 2014
Dorsey Wayne Franklin went home to be with the Lord on Monday, Oct 20th, 2014. His work on the history of the First Baptist Church of Rogersville will benefit future generations for years to come. Dorsey spent over four years working on these collections.
Photo: Church Bible presented to the First Baptist Church of Rogersville from Rev. Hubert Galloway, and his wife, Opal in 1967.
Past Ministers of the First Baptist Church of Rogersville
Recognizing Pastor Winston Burton
Winston accepted the pastorate of First Baptist Church of Rogersville in May of 1976. He felt God's calling to become pastor for this church was so definite, that there was no way it could be ignored. To date, Winston Burton has been the longest serving pastor of FBC of Rogersville, overseeing significant growth in membership and facilities.
Winston grew up in central Illinois and then moved to Bolivar, Missouri to attend Southwest Baptist University in the fall of 1958 to the spring of 1960. Southwest Baptist was at that time only a junior college. However, while attending school in Bolivar, in 1959, Winston answered the call to preach. He later received a BS in Education from Southwest Missouri State College, which is now Missouri State University.
Winston had always known his calling was to be in bi-vocational ministry. Winston said, “The Apostle Paul was a tent making preacher, and I felt called to follow his example, not in tent making, mind you, but in the idea of having an outside source of income, so as not to burden the Church financially.”
Winston is now a retired public-school administrator and pleased that his secular vocation opened a tremendous mission field in which he could also serve.
Along with his wife, Phyllis, Winston served as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Rogersville for over 45 years. We are very thankful to Winston and Phyllis and their family for their many years of service to FBC Rogersville. They are our church family and are known for their loving smiles and passion for spreading the Gospel of Christ. Thank you, Winston and Phyllis! May God continue to bless you both.