Church History
In the early days of the oil boom in Taft, a group of 19 people gathered together to pray for a Baptist witness in the community.  On October 20, 1920, a petition was made to the Los Angeles Baptist Association requesting membership in the Northern Baptist Convention.  The membership of 26 pledged $600 toward the support of the first minister, Rev, N. M Bledsoe.  First Baptist Church of Taft became a reality.  The church met in Smith’s Hall.
 
Four years later the membership had grown to 162 and they purchased their own building at Third & Kern.  This building was sold to the Salvation Army and a new brick building was constructed.
 
During the depression period (1929-1937) the pastor, Jessie L. Smith often served without pay as many of the members were without work.  The church continued to grow during this time as a youth ministry was added for girls.  The membership had increased to 672 by 1937.  Since there were no air conditioners, many of the churches would meet together at the Ford City Park.  They even held a community Vacation Bible School. 
 
During WWII, the church reached out to the servicemen who were stationed at Gardner Field.  Through youth activities, many of them became active members of the youth group.  When the war ended and servicemen started coming back to their homes in Taft, the church ministered to these young adults who were establishing their homes and helped them strengthen their Christian lives.
 
During the 50’s the pastor, Paul Ray, recognized the importance of training the laity for ministry, while moving the church into a strong mission emphasis.  The property where the church is now located was purchased and a building committee was formed, led by Gerald Robertson (one of the servicemen who had been stationed at Gardner Field). 
 
Rev. Joseph Bruner, the 9th pastor, led the church through an exciting time as the members worked together to build Phase I of the building program, which included the sanctuary.  His challenge from Neh. 2:18 “Let us arise and build” was the call during this time.  The first service in the new sanctuary was held on 12/21/58 with 624 in attendance.
 
Phase II of the building program started in 1974 which included the fellowship hall, offices and classrooms.  Construction of this building was also by volunteer labor with one paid superintendent.
During the 70’s Chevron (then Standard Oil), the key employer, moved their main offices from Taft to Bakersfield.  Many of the top level management and engineers also moved making an impact on membership and finances. 
 
In the early 80’s Michael Adam became the first full-time Minister of Music.  He established a city-wide outreach through the Christmas programs.  In addition to the church choir, there were three hand bell choirs, the Golden Agers Chorale, which ministered throughout the city and state, and a children’s choir.
 
During Easter vacation for several years, youth and adults journeyed to Mexico to work with churches there.  They helped with teaching children and a variety of building projects. By the end of the 80’s attendance was in the mid 200’s.
 
FBC continues to provide a place of worship and growth through the preaching of God’s word, music, Sunday School, small group bible studies, VBS, Awanas and Youth programs.