August 15, 1965, a unanimous vote united the two congregations. West End
Baptist Church (then 73 years old) and First Institutional Baptist Church (then
41 years old) merged their resources and their resolve, creating United Metropolitan
Baptist Church. Reverend Ballard was
retained as pastor of the newly formed church.
name United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church is symbolic and historic.
The word United was chosen because it recognized the merger of West End Baptist
Church and First Institutional Baptist Church. The name Metropolitan denoted
the church’s location near the heart of downtown Winston-Salem. The term
Missionary was later added to reflect the character and spirit of the church.
the second Sunday in June 1966, the congregation broke ground for a new church
edifice and on June 9, 1968, the first service was held in the new building. An
evangelistic campaign began immediately and over the next 30 years, the congregation
grew significantly. In addition, many friends shared in fellowship, communion and
support of the church.
Metropolitan continues to be a work in progress, growing through enhanced
facilities, programs, activities and, most importantly, in its ministries
beyond the sanctuary and outreach for the Lord.
the 1980s, a chapel and educational assembly space were added, providing much needed
room to accommodate the church’s worship and educational needs until close to
the end of the century. At that time, it was obvious that the church’s
educational and outreach ministries had exceeded the existing structure. On the
fourth Sunday in September 1999, Pastor Ballard and members broke ground for a
multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion project, which they chose to
refer to as Restoration. The term was selected not only to denote the positive
change the project would bring to the church’s physical structure, but also to
convey how the undertaking would affect the congregation spiritually. The
faith, dedication and commitment of the church would be both challenged and
restored. This project included new facilities for education, recreation,
fellowship and parking. During the twenty-two-month construction period,
services were held at the Sarah Y. Austin Head Start Center.
services such as weddings, funerals and baptisms were hosted by First Baptist
Church of East Winston. This generous offering laid the foundation for a close
connection between the two congregations that remains strong today. Also during
construction, the congregation of First Baptist Church at Fifth and Spruce
Streets showed its support and commitment to continuing the collaborative and
cross-racial worship services that had begun five years prior to the
Sunday, July 22, 2001, the congregation joyfully participated in the Ribbon
Cutting and the Initial Re-Entry Service for the expanded and enhanced church
facility. A week of services was conducted to launch a yearlong celebration of
the completion of the Restoration project.
the physical structure of United Metropolitan has undergone numerous
modifications over the years, the church has enjoyed the stability of having
knowledgeable, progressive and visionary pastors at its helm. For more than 41
years, Dr. J. Donald Ballard provided exemplary spiritual guidance, pastoral
leadership and exceptional preaching. His 2004 retirement and designation as
Pastor Emeritus ushered in an era of new beginnings for United
Missionary Baptist Church.
search committee was assigned the formidable task of identifying a new pastor
and on Sunday, May 15, 2005, the committee presented Reverend Prince Raney
Rivers to the congregation. Following his sermon, the congregation elected Reverend
Rivers as the second Pastor in the history of United Metropolitan Missionary
Rivers, his wife Monica, and the entire congregation continued to expand United
Metropolitan’s outreach, service and missions to the glory of God. The church
retired $2.8 million in mortgage debt after completing a three-year Lifestyle
Capital Stewardship Campaign (“Beyond the Sanctuary”), reflecting its
commitment to making
difference for Christ in the world beyond the walls of the church. A strategic
plan was developed and
It included a focus on Inspiring Excellence in Education and Discipleship,
Promoting Thriving Communities of Hope and Health, and Cultivating a
Well-Informed Congregation. The church developed vision and mission statements and
established a 501-C3 corporation.
Spring 2017, Rev. Rivers was called to serve as the Senior Pastor of Union
Baptist Church in Durham, NC. He left behind a notable legacy of engaging the
congregation in service beyond the sanctuary and promoting the development of
the community surrounding the church.
July, 2017, the church selected Rev. Dr. Gregory Headen, retired pastor of
Genesis Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC, to serve as Interim Pastor of United
Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Headen was deeply committed to
preaching the word of God and instrumental in helping the church remain focused
on and committed to its mission and vision. Rev. Headen served until October
2018, at which time our new Senior Pastor was elected.
nine-member search committee was formed in spring 2017 with the charge of
helping identify the next pastor whom God had called to serve United Metropolitan.
For over 12 months, the committee examined hundreds of applications and
resumes, visited churches, and interviewed candidates. On Sunday, August 26,
2018, the congregations voted by overwhelming majority to elect Rev. Dr. Alvin
T. Armstead, Jr. as the third senior pastor of United Metropolitan Missionary
heritage of faith and hard work that embodies the essence of United
Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church is continuing to unfold. UMMBC is a body
of believers that inspires dedicated Christians to gather together, worship
together, and go forth to serve together. We are ever mindful of what God has
done – and have no reservations about what God can and will do!
continue to write the story, “Bearing witness of God’s love for the world.”