Forest Park Baptist Church

Joplin, Missouri


In 1846, God moved in the hearts of 23 frontier farmers to start a church. We built a small log cabin for worship on Shoal Creek and elected William Farmer to be the first pastor. During the Civil War era, the church building burned down–twice! In 1884, God led us to move to Joplin where we purchased land on Range Line across from what is today the North Park Mall. We changed our name from the Shoal Creek Baptist Church to Forest Park.

In 1948, we relocated to 7th and Range Line. The church experienced great growth under the leadership of Thurman Kelly, who was our pastor for more than 30 years. After a church split in the late 1970s, our members voted to abolish committees and be a staff-led church. Free from politics and bureaucracy, Forest Park flourished and had a much greater impact on our community and world.

John Swadley has been our Lead Pastor since 1996. Forest Park Carthage launched in August 2007 as a way for our members living in that area to better reach out to their neighbors. Forest Park North launched in September of 2009 as an outreach to the Carl Junction, Webb City and north Joplin areas.

Joplin, Missouri
Baptist: SBC
Church Size