In early 1953, several families (who were members of Kingwood Bible Church here in West Salem) felt a greater outreach and impact on the community could be made by organizing a new church. As they sought God’s direction, they discussed with Lloyd T. Anderson (the pastor of First Baptist Church in Salem) the hope of this venture. Rev. Anderson referred them to the office of the Conservative Baptist Association of Oregon (now known as Church Venture NW). Simultaneously, Rev. Elvin A. Fast indicated to the CBA office his interest in such a work. The CBA office eagerly accepted his request and helped unite both parties, and God’s work at West Salem Baptist Church began. Arrangements were made to rent a portion of the old West Salem City Hall on Edgewater Street NW for Sunday and Wednesday services. Our first services were held on April 26, 1953.
The property at 8th and Rosemont was purchased for $2,000 in 1954. Construction on the building began in September 1954, and it was ready for our Christmas services that year. In 1966, our Christian Education building was completed. Twenty-six years later: in the summer of 1980, we launched an extensive expansion and remodeling program upon our sanctuary. The sanctuary was re-dedicated Sunday, January 25th, 1981. In August 1990, we purchased the 924 Arthur Way NW property to serve as the Church parsonage. The youth pastor used it, and later the Hispanic congregation used it as their worship and fellowship center for many years. The property north of the church was purchased in January 1996 for future expansion and has been used as a rental. The flag lot across 8th street from the church was purchased for additional parking.
The Lord has blessed us with church pastors who have been faithful to the Word and good “Shepherds of the Flock.” Pastor Elvin A. Fast was our first pastor and served from April 1953 to October 1960. Pastor Keith P. Fields served from April 1961 through July 1971. Pastor Fred Clark ministered to us from August 1972 until March 1976. Pastor Douglas R. Hepting was called in October 1976 and served until September 1983. Pastor Dale James began ministering in March of 1984 and faithfully served until July 1991. Pastor Herman Boes was called by the church in February 1992 and served until February 2006. Pastor Rick Smith served as pastor from March 2006 until May 2012.
We praise God for His faithfulness and the faithfulness of His people over the past 69 years in providing the facilities in which we worship, work, fellowship, and are equipped to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In April 2012, the church fell on hard times. A vote was taken to close the church and give its assets to NWCBA. The vote failed to pass, not having a 2/3 majority required by the church constitution. With the threat of closing the church, the preschool, which ran throughout the entire history of the church, was closed. The Awana program continued to reach children of the neighborhood. The church has continued to support local and foreign mission groups because it believes in partnering with others to reach our community and the world to Christ.
Pastor Paul Null was called in April 2013, served as a part-time pastor, and faithfully carried the leadership mantle until February 2021. He brought new encouragement to the church and signs of new life. He was a loving pastor whose dynamic teaching and leader drew people to Christ.
In the spring of 2020, Pastor Sergio Aguirre served as a teaching elder at Way of Life Fellowship. He was approached by Pastor Paul Null, who presided over his ordination and was a friend, mentor, and encourager to consider serving at WSBC through a letter of intent that was presented to the elder team of WOL. In the fall of 2020, Pastor Sergio Aguirre was invited to serve as the interim associate pastor during one of the most disruptive global events, the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the senior pastor’s health concerns, he was presented to the church as their next senior pastor. The Spanish and English congregations voted unanimously, and he was installed as senior pastor in February 2021. He is committed to lovingly spurring West Salem Baptist Church toward Christlikeness in a world of chaos for the glory of God.