Keltys First Baptist Church began in 1900 as faithful believers of an East Texas logging community gathered to form a baptist congregation. The logging community, then known as the Keltys community (after the logging boss; Mr. Keltys – pronounced Kel-tiss) was an outlying area on the boarders of the East Texas city of Lufkin. Today Keltys is nothing more than the name of a street located within the city limits of Lufkin, Texas. During the Great Depression the logging community ceased. The church has retained the historical name. Therefore, there is both a First Baptist Lufkin, and a Keltys First Baptist; both in Lufkin. Hence, we are often simply referred to as Keltys.
Keltys is a Missionary Baptist Church that holds to such traditional and historic baptist confessions as the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession of faith. Historic baptist roots trace their lineage to particular baptist movements (verses the general baptist movements of the 18th and 19th centuries).
In her lifespan the church has had many faithful pastors. The average pastorate was 5 years (Shorter pastorates during the great depression and two world wars), the shortest being 4 months and the longest pastorate 15 years (Lynn Stephens in the 1980’s). Chris Taylor is the current Lead Teaching Pastor and is placed as the 34th pastor of Keltys First Baptist Church. He has served since May of 2021.
In 2000 Keltys celebrated 100 years, and relocated their facilities to the loop of Lufkin. The new property consists of 8 acres of land, three buildings and ample parking. The church rejoices to be debt free in all its endeavors. Average attendance is approximately 300 (based on 2022 figures) and the current membership is around 500 (shut-ins, children, and military deployed included).
Currently the church rejoices to support both international missionaries (Thailand and Japan) and national church plants (Memphis and Phoenix).
Five other excellent pastors serve the pastoral team, and each has a specific area of shepherding. Paul Olszewski, Dave Vandergriff and Aaron Wilson join the team of pastors who direct the affairs of ministry.
You might also be interested to read this recent article included in our local community church directory where we discuss our church’s history and ministry philosophy.