This weekend Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

This weekend Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

“It's an amazing accomplishment and to be the leader of an organization when you're celebrating a milestone is an honor,” Pastor Todd Fisher said. “We are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us and made this all possible.”

It all started on September 16, 1917, when a group of Baptists wanted to form their own church. From this idea came the Draper Street Baptist Church. The church was located in the building formerly known as Grace Methodist Church on the corner of 9th and Draper Streets. The property was purchased for $1,500.

There were 62 original members that were part of the church in 1917, and an additional 15 members joined shortly after.

The church was temporary closed by the mayor of Shawnee in 1918 due to an influenza outbreak.

Dr. T.B. Holcomb, a former professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, was the first pastor and was able to help grow the church to a size where it needed to expand. Holcomb was pastor from Sept. 16, 1917 until 1922. He would return for a second tenure in 1924 and served until 1926. The church expanded to 160 members while Holcomb was pastor.

William Smith served as pastor in 1922.

In March of 1926, Dan S. Brinkley became the second pastor of the church. He was well-known for his success as a church builder.

According to the history of the church on file at the Pottawatomie County Museum, “Brinkley was a man of vision and faith. He visualized a large Baptist church on East Main and led the congregation into a massive building program.”

On Jan. 23, 1927, the board of trustees purchased property on the corner of Main and Eden. This became the future home of Immanuel Baptist Church.

Records at the Pottawatomie County Museum indicate church member, Mildred Burger, donated a gift of $5 that gave the cause momentum.

“A few hours before she died, Mrs. Burger placed in the hands of pastor Brinkley, a gift of pennies, nickles and dimes. She desired the gift to be used for the building fund. Brinkley called it the most far reaching, sacred gift of all.”

During Brinkley's years as pastor, the congregation grew to an estimated 600 people.

On Feb. 6, 1929, the Draper Street Baptist Church rebranded as Immanuel Baptist Church. Other names in consideration were Pilgrims' Rest and Temple Baptist Church.

During the construction of the church, 12 train carloads of Western Arkansas rock were used to veneer the outside the building. A dedication ceremony for the new building was held on Sept. 1, 1929.

“The church was finished in the midst of a depression,” Fisher said. “A lot of church members put a second mortgage on their homes in order to complete the project.”

In the years of the depression, the next pastor H.H. Burton and the church faced financial hardships. In 1932, Burton cut his salary from $200 per month to $150. Burton resigned in August of 1933.

Thomas J. Doss became pastor in 1934 and the church's financial situation was looking better.

Records at the Pottawatomie County Museum indicate, “Doss was described as a financial wizard.” During his tenure the debt was reduced and several repairs were done on the church.

On Feb. 2, 1938 H. Tom Wells became pastor. Under the guidance of Wells, the church erased its debt completely. When it rained the church basement would often flood and the church waterproofed the basement. Immanuel also added an organ during Wells' tenure.

The church survived the depression and soon after came World War II. During the war, Clayborn Deering was the next pastor. His four years as pastor were spent helping families cope with their loved ones fighting for their country.

During Deering's tenure, two missions were established. In October of 1947, Immanuel started Sharon Baptist Church and in March of 1948, Temple Baptist Church was created.

Frank O. Baugh became pastor in 1950 and under his leadership there was a significant growth in Sunday School and worship attendance. Baugh served until August 11, 1959. While Baugh was the pastor, Immanuel's membership grew to approximately 1,600.

Pastor Joe L. Ingram took over on Jan. 1, 1960 and served until May 21, 1961 when he became the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention. Ingram is credited with refining the administrative and financial operations of the church.

Alfred V. Woodard became pastor Sept. 5, 1961. Under the direction of Woodard, Immanuel started a kindergarten program. The church underwent several upgrades during the three years Woodward was pastor, including significant repairs to the organ. Woodard served until Aug. 10, 1964 and resigned too attend Southwestern Theological Seminary.

The architecture of the old church was influenced by the Gothic period in France. The west tower is taller than the one to the east. Originally the towers had angles at the top. In 1962, lightning struck the east tower damaging the statues.

Lawrence Stewart stepped in after Woodard's resignation and guided the church through purchasing new property, including the old Shawnee Hospital located where the Family Life Center is located. Stewart served until July 8, 1973. The church also remodeled the auditorium and added a parking lot.

A short time later, Larry Adams took over as pastor in 1974 and served until his resignation in 1982. One of the highlights of Adams' leadership was the completion of the Family Life Center renovation along with a church renovation. Dedication services were held in 1979. Church service was held at Oklahoma Baptist's Raley Chapel while the church construction was completed.

Steve Boehning served from 1982 to 1986. A $100,000 pipe organ was installed while Boehning was pastor. The church also expanded to two church services while Boehning was there.

Dr. Mike Taylor served from 1986-1992. Joe Dan Fowler was the pastor from 1993 until 1995. Jeff Moore took over shortly after Fowler and served until around 2002.

Under the leadership of Moore, the church purchased land where the current Immanuel Baptist Church is located.

Currently, Immanuel Baptist church is led by Todd Fisher. Fisher has been with the church since 2003. Fisher and his staff came up with a design for the new Immanuel Baptist Church, allowing it to be constructed in phases.

Construction of the new church on 45th Street started in 2006 and was completed in 2008.

The first Sunday in the new location was March 30, 2008. With the new church came rapid growth in terms of attendance. Prior to the new facility, there was about 400 regular patrons.

In 2009, Immanuel faithful pushed for the addition of a contemporary service.

Fisher was hesitant at first but when he finally decided to go through with it, he was amazed at the turnout.

“It will be one of the greatest memories I have,” Fisher said. “That first Sunday I prayed for 150 people to show up. Once the band started playing the first song there was nobody in site. After the third or fourth song, our associate pastor opened the overflow wall. I was watching the band so my back was turned. Then I turned around and we had a room full. There had to be at least 300 people. It was amazing.”

Since the addition of the contemporary service, the church has grown so much Fisher leads four worship services every Sunday.

Immanuel Baptist Church is hosting three services in honor of its 100th anniversary. The first was Saturday, while the second will be 10 a.m. today at Raley Chapel on the Oklahoma Baptist University Campus. The third service will be back at the church on 45th Street at 6 p.m. today.

For more information visit the Immanuel Baptist Church website at