In 1989, First Baptist Church of Plattsmouth, Nebraska was on the brink of closing its doors. The church had been without a pastor for eighteen months. An elderly couple and one widow were the only church members remaining. But they decided to launch out by faith to call a new pastor. They believed God wanted their church to go forward, though many obstacles stood in the way.
At the time, Plattsmouth was little more than a small mid-western town swallowed up by vast corn fields. First Baptist Church was a small body of believers struggling financially. They couldn’t pay their pastor, their building was in debt, and they lacked money for unpaid bills. There was little hope for continuing as a church.
God blessed the faith of those early members and touched the heart of a young preacher and his wife. Raymond and Jean Wicks answered God’s call and obediently came to a church that could offer them nothing in return.
During his first week in Nebraska, Pastor Wicks began laboring diligently to get the church back on its feet. He knocked on doors, repaired the church building, and preached God’s Word with conviction. In time, it was clear to see that God was beginning to bless the Wicks’ faith and patience.
The church began to outgrow their downtown facility. To accommodate, they purchased properties nearby and created space for parking and classrooms.
In 1999, Pastor Wicks started a Christian school and rented a former public school building. The building was later purchased and paid off completely. It continues to serve as the location of First Baptist School.
In 2005, the church purchased twenty acres of land on the edge of town along Highway 75. It was an ideal location. For five years the church family prayed and sacrificed to see God provide. God honored their faith, and construction on their new facility was finished in 2010.
Until then the church had Sunday school classrooms on four different properties. They now have a church building that is able to handle the church needs all at one location. God provided an attractive, first-class facility. The total property value is currently over six million dollars. Every week guests are attending and seeing God’s hand at work.
The Lord has blessed Pastor Wicks and his wife with six children. They have all graduated from Bible college, and three of them are currently serving on the church staff at First Baptist.
“Our children were a big emphasis of our personal ministry as they were growing up,” Pastor Wicks explains. “I feel balance is a key component to sustain a ministry, business, home, or church.”
While the church has become one of the largest independent Baptist churches in Nebraska, the spirit of the church family is the same as it was nearly three decades ago. When you visit a service you can sense the members love God and each other, and they genuinely want God to continue blessing.
Little did anyone know the harvest that God would yield from those early seeds of faith. Looking back over twenty-seven years, to God be the glory for the marvelous work He has done at First Baptist Church.
Serving the Lord has brought many blessings and challenges for the Wicks family. “We have seen victories and disappointments over the years,” says Pastor Wicks. “I suppose that will be the case for the rest of our time on this side of eternity. I believe that trying to stay close to the Lord daily is one of the keys to a blessed life and ministry.”
After nearly three decades of ministry, Pastor Wicks remains hopeful about the future. “I still believe that God wants to do a great work,” he says. “I want to be prepared to be a part of any working of God that He desires to do through my life personally or through our church.”
Today, the First Baptist Church of Plattsmouth is a thriving testimony that God is still in the business of changing lives! Words could not describe God’s goodness in this place, and all of the glory belongs to God! The lives changed, the families rescued, and the victories won have all been by God’s amazing grace. To Him be all the glory for His wonderful works!