LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - What started in the latter part of the 19th Century with just nine members has multiplied to several hundred every week.
"We had a very small beginning, a very humble beginning," said Lufkin First Baptist Church Pastor Andy Pittman. "There were nine people when they first met."
And when church goers walk into the sanctuary this Sunday, they will be taking part in a celebration.
"One hundred-thirty years," Pittman said. "That's an old church, but we're not a church with a bunch of old people. We have people of all ages."
The church was started in 1883 and the church has been on the same piece of land ever since the first building was constructed in 1893 after a railroad company donated the land. Missions have always been preached and for the last 130 years they have been practiced.
"One of the things that has really impressed me in the history of the church is the way we have been committed to missions," Pittman said.
The congregation has helped start churches all over the world, including one in Ethiopia and Saddleback, the home church of televangelist Rick Warren. Locally, they have helped 15 churches, including La Casa del Alfarero, who just moved from the church to a new building.
"It says a lot, because back in the early 80s they were even involved with a Spanish church that I was a member of," said Pastor Juan Moreano.
The church has gone through several remodels and 24 pastors. But Pittman says the most important key to the church's longevity is the community.
"The church is not a building, and the church is not the pastor or staff the church is the people," Pittman said.
And the people will continue the tradition for another 130 years.