New era for Platte City First Baptist starts Easter Sunday

Platte City’s First Baptist Church will enter a long-awaited new era on Easter Sunday, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled during its Easter worship service.

The public is invited to the service and groundbreaking at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 21 at the site of the new church on Highway 371 across from Platte Ridge Park, north of Platte City. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and donuts, followed by the worship service and groundbreaking.

The church purchased the property north of Platte City in 2007.

The church purchased the property north of Platte City in 2007.

According to senior pastor Rusty Savage, the worship team will lead the service in a tent set up on site, complete with 600 chairs. Safe parking and a restroom facility will be available.

The church is currently located in downtown Platte City at 214 Ferrel Street, but the church purchased the property at 17385 Hwy 371 in 2007 at a cost of $560,000. Savage said the downtown church location — which was built in 1973 on the site of the original church dating to 1834 ­— and Main Street-facing properties also owned by the church are up for sale.

With 6-700 members and 450 or so active members, the church was outgrowing its downtown location and was forced to have three services on Sundays to accommodate the crowds. The process to look for a new location and acquire property kicked off in 2002, Savage said.

The property church members found was a Missouri Century Farm owned by Jack Benner, who was born and died on the property. Savage said members of the Benner family plan to attend the groundbreaking.

The Citizen covered the purchase of the property in its Jan. 3, 2007 issue, and Savage said looking back on that article more than a decade later was heartening.

“A lot of the hopes and dreams we expressed from then are what we’re now seeing come to pass,” Savage said.

The road to this point has been long, but Savage said it’s because the church wanted to do things right. Funds needed to be raised without spreading resources too thin or endangering funding for the church’s other ongoing programs.

“We were trying to make sure we keep everybody in the loop,” Savage said, citing engagement with the church membership was key to ensure a smooth transition to the new location. “We wanted to ensure we could bring the whole family along for the whole journey.”

There is still much ahead in this journey as well. After the Sunday groundbreaking, Savage said the construction process is expected to take nine to 12 months.

“By doing it at Easter, our hope is that by next Easter we will be celebrating in our new home,” Savage said.

Representatives from Copeland Construction of Chillicothe, Mo., who will be building the new campus, and designers Strata Architecture of Kansas City will be on hand for the groundbreaking event.

For more information, call the church office at 858-2018; email  info@fbcplattecity.com; or check the website at fbcplattecity.com.