First Missionary Baptist Church of Dothan, Alabama was established as New Hope Baptist Church one hundred and twenty two (122) years ago. It was a vision of a very few dedicated persons whose religious zeal led them to form a body of like-minded people and to select a place to worship.
Research supports the belief that Rev. W. M. Cater was responsible for organizing the first church in the village of Poplar Head, Alabama in the year of 1889. Reverend Robert Nelson was called to serve as the first pastor. Reverend Fivcash served as second pastor followed by Reverend Clayton as third. The ministers were all from Georgia.
After eighteen years of organization and under the leadership of Reverend P.S.L. Hutchins. The name of then church was changed to First Colored Baptist Church of Dothan. An application for incorporation was filed in 1907. On December 8, 1909, First Colored Baptist Church was incorporated.
In 1910, Dr. Thomas Bellinger of Pensacola, Florida was called to serve as pastor. he initiated a building fund drive to erect a new church. On November 29, 1912, the land on which the church now stands was purchased. After five years the name was changed to First Missionary Baptist Church. Saturday night before the church was to be opened for worship, it was bombed.
In succeeding years, many dedicated ministers served and finally rebuilt the Church. The building remained the same until 1955 when Reverend Howard W. Creecy instituted a renovation program. An educational building was constructed and new windows replaced the old ones in the sanctuary. The new addition made it possible to enlarge the Sunday School area and accommodate a great number of classrooms and members.
Reverend H. B. Vincent assumed the pastorate in 1964. Additional renovations were completed in the sanctuary.
In 1972 Reverend Rochester Johnson, Sr. was called to serve the church as the twenty first(21st) pastor. Under his leadership the church experienced tremendous growth. A new fellowship hall was constructed, the membership double, the deaconship doubled, additional auxiliaries and ministries were formed and the choir loft was enlarged to accommodate one hundred members. Under Reverend Johnson's spiritual guidance, twenty (20) members were called into ministry.
In November of 1993, a new era was marked with a new minister. God sent a new leader to serve the church. The Reverend Brandon k. Marshall became the twenty-second (22nd) pastor. Under his leadership, the church has grown extensively in membership, finance, and organizational structure. The church received a designation as an Alabama historical site in 2001. His spiritual theme is "Kingdom Building."
More than twenty three ministers have emerged from the ranks of our membership. The humble beginning of First Missionary Baptist Church, founded on faith, has served as a constant reminder of the commitment we have to continue the work began by our founding fathers.