On Sunday, March 3, 1912, thirty people came together to charter Mount Washington Baptist Church, electing D. W. Riggs to serve as pastor, meeting above the Mount Washington State Bank on Wilson Road, in Independence. Mount Washington quickly grew to one of the largest congregations in the Independence community, at one time registering nearly one thousand members.
Over the past thirty years or so, the landscape has changed in the northwestern part of Independence. Many changes and challenges have threatened the existence of MWBC, who has faced closure on more than one occasion. But, with each new challenge comes brand new opportunity to revive one of the most historic churches in the greater Kansas City metro area.
Brandon Marler currently serves as Pastor of MWBC. In 2010, Pastor Brandon planted a church in nearby Sugar Creek, MO called Compel Church. Through a series of events, Compel ended up leasing a portion of the struggling MWBC, who had just gone through a tumultuous time in October of 2014. In June of 2017, members of MWBC asked Pastor Brandon to serve as Interim Pastor of their small but faithful congregation. On April 1, 2018, members of MWBC voted Brandon in as Senior Pastor, whereby the two congregations became one, operating under the legendary Mount Washington charter.
While church membership is nowhere near the 1,000 mark, Mount Washington is experiencing new life with new purpose. Twenty faithful and dedicated families were added to the membership during the 2018 merge. New converts are being discipled and baptized into the family of God. New leaders are being trained and developed for ministry. A new generation of young people is being reached through their NextGen Ministry. Upwards of 50 kids are bussed in and fed, mentored, and discipled during their Wednesday evening Family Night each week. Adult discipleship is seeing growth as well. The Mount Washington Service Center, the outreach ministry of MWBC founded in 1986, continues to minister to the physical needs of those within the community, feeding and clothing, on average, 70 families per month through their food pantry and clothes closet.
Launching in the summer of 2020 is the Gilmore House, a ministry collaboration between MWBC and Project 58, a ministry founded by Pastor Brandon in 2011 in an effort to combat poverty and homelessness. The Gilmore House, located in the church’s former parsonage, will provide shelter and other resources to homeless and at-risk high school students within the Independence School District. The Gilmore House will have 12 beds for temporary housing, provide dinner each night, have laundry facilities available, provide computers for homework, transportation, job training, strength training, and most of all, spiritual and emotional support.