West Center Baptist Church




Decades of God's Faithfulness

West Center Baptist Church began as First German Baptist Church, founded in May of 1885 by roughly 20 Christians.  Our mission to make disciples for the glory of God, through the word, by the power of the Spirit, stands in direct connection with the covenant those members first adopted.  Every chapter in West Center’s story is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to his people and his plan.

West Center Baptist Timeline

1885-1886 – The first building is erected for a total cost of $1750. The first baptism is held at Lake Madison.

1919 – The first church building is destroyed by a fire and a new one is constructed on the corner of West Center St. and Josephine Ave.

1960 – West Center member Lucile Wipf is sent as a long-term missionary to Japan.

1978 – A fire severely damages the building.  Two years later the newly refurbished building is dedicated.

2000 – West Center helps plant Central Valley Community Church in Hartford, SD.  WCB sends Chris Gorman to lead the plant.

2001 – West Center member Shan Reed is sent as a long-term missionary to Japan.

2006 – Central Valley Community Church helps plant River Community Church in Dell Rapids, SD.  Andy Wright leads the plant.

2009 – Komyo Christian Church is planted in Osaka, Japan.  Shan Reed and Paul and Melissa Ewing lead the plant.

2015 – West Center calls Justin DeBerry as Senior Pastor.

2017 – West Center calls Trevor Schubert as Associate Pastor.  Trevor previously served as Apprentice Pastor for four years.

2023 – West Center calls Matthew Stone as Associate Pastor. Matt previously was a pastoral intern at West Center.

Original Church Covenant

Click here to view our original church covenant.

100th Year of the Church Building

A House of Prayer

On the morning of February 23rd, 1919, the congregation of the First German Baptist church stood outside their magnificent structure on the corner of Liberty and 1st street watching it go up in flames. The church was organized in 1885 and by the end of the first 30 years, the church had grown from sixteen charter members to over 300. Now, as the church members began to arrive for Sunday service, their house of worship was reduced to rubble. Janitor Harry Dierkson discovered the fire, which was caused by an overheated furnace pipe, but was unable to extinguish it. The minuets of the members meeting following the fire record that it was “with heavy hearts, not fully understanding why God permitted this fire” that the members “in a spirit of humble submission accepted the loss.”

In the aftermath of the disastrous day, the members prepared to build a new home purchasing a lot on the corner of Josephine and Center Street for $5,000. They hired local contractor Jas Robertson to construct the brick structure at a cost of $42,197 with many features including several stained-glass windows costing $937.

After gathering in the high school auditorium for two years, the members met for the dedication of their new church on January 23rd, 1923. The building could hold up to 750 persons and saw well over 400 visitors for the inaugural Sunday. Future pastor, Reverend J. F. Olthoff of Avon spoke at the afternoon service from Isaiah 56:7, “…my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” As quoted from the January 24th edition of the Daily Leader, “He [Olthoff] emphasized the importance of prayer. If the Christian people of this country would follow the initiation of Paul and ‘pray for all that are in high place that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life’ we would undoubtedly have better laws. How many pray for our legislators, state officers, and national government?” A timely word both then and now, 100 years later. 

“No minister,” the article goes on to say, “can be successful unless he has a praying people supporting him and his work. The early Christians prayed and as a result of prayer spoke with boldness and many believed. This church will become a place where many souls will enter into the kingdom if it can truly be called, ‘a house of prayer.’” Throughout the last 100 years, West Center Baptist has seen many pastors shepherd the flock. In January of 2016, current pastor Justin DeBerry began his ministry.

It is with great optimism and humility that the congregation of West Center continue to teach and preach the word of God faithfully every Sunday. They have been filled with joy over many baptisms and new members the last several years and continue to look to the future and advancing the Lord’s kingdom.

The church has never been about a building but rather about the people that make up its body, “for just as the body is one and had many members…so it is with Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12) As the congregation of the First German Baptist Church stood around the ashes of their house of worship, they came to understand this passage deeply. They had just seen the conclusion of World War 1 and the end of the Spanish Flu pandemic. As the new church was dedicated, these strong members looked forward to how God would work in their splendid new church as young and old gathered week after week for what has now been 100 years. As we, the current members of West Center look ahead and through the uncertainty that is our nation and world, we look upward to our Savior on bended knee thankful for this house of prayer.

History Read More »



Committing to One Another

Membership Matters

We believe church membership is both biblical and significant. In an increasingly individualistic and disconnected culture, commitment to a local body of believers is essential for Christians. It is in the context of mutual commitment, being “all-in” for each other, that disciples are formed and witness is expanded. In short, church membership is both a weighty and wonderful commitment.

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:41-42


Baptism is a New Testament command for all those making a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ. It is a visible sign pointing to an invisible grace—union with Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, through faith. If you have not been baptized as a professing believer, we believe this is a necessary step before the Lord prior to becoming a member at WCB. We conduct a baptism service once in the fall and once in the spring.

New Members Class

We offer a new members class once in the fall and once in the spring (leading up to Baptism Sunday). This class is required for membership at West Center. In it we teach what membership means, what we believe, how we do ministry, and what faithful membership looks like. Member candidates are required to read Thabiti Anyabwile’s “What is a Healthy Church Member?”

We also conduct a membership interview with two WCB elders before a membership request is approved. This is a chance for us to get to know you, your story, and your experience of God’s grace.

New Members Sunday

Once approved by the elders, the final step in the membership process is agreeing to the Church Covenant before the Lord and the congregation. Then we get to welcome you to the family. 

Membership Resources

Membership Read More »



Doctrine Matters

Statement of Faith

We believe that our only comfort in life and in death is that we are not our own, but belong body and soul to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.


We believe the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  They are true, clear, sufficient, necessary and without error in the original writings; the only authority for faith and life.

Psalm 19:7-11; John 17:17; 2 Tim 3:14-16; 2 Pet 1:19-21


We believe there is one true and living God, creator of heaven and earth.  United in the godhead are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They are of the same substance, equal in power and glory, distinct in their persons. God created all things good and now sustains them in his providence by the word of his power; such that all things come not by chance, but by his fatherly hand. 

Gen 1:2-3; Deut 6:4; Matt 3:16-17; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:3


We believe God created human beings in his image, male and female.  Through the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all mankind became guilty and corrupt before God.  The penalty for sin is physical and spiritual death.  Man’s supreme need is to be reconciled to God.  That reconciliation is wholly dependent on God’s gracious intervention. 

Gen 1:26-27, 3:1-8, 9:2; Psa 51:5; Matt 13:41-42; Rom 3:10-18; 5:12-19; Eph 2:1-3; 2 Thess 1:8

Jesus Christ

We believe Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, two distinct natures united in one person.  According to the promise of the Old Testament, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  He suffered and died on the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will return to judge the living and the dead.

Matt 1:20; John 1:14; 5:39; Acts 10:41-42; Phil 2:6-10; Heb 1:1-3


We believe God is the author and finisher of salvation. It has been accomplished through Jesus Christ, who offered himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of his people, atoning for guilt, achieving perfect righteousness, appeasing the wrath of God, and reconciling God and man. 

The salvation secured by Jesus Christ is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit, such that they are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The hearts of believers are regenerated by the Spirit, who indwells, sanctifies, and empowers them unto Christ-like living and service. He assures them of final glorification on the last day. 

Jonah 2:9; John 3:5, 10:11, 28; Acts 4:12; Rom 3:21-26, 8:30; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 2:15-21; Phil 2:12-13; Heb 9:14

The Gospel

We believe the gospel of God is the good news that Jesus Christ died and was raised so that sinners can be saved.  The gospel of God’s grace is to be proclaimed freely to all people, commanding and inviting them to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, thereby receiving eternal life.

Matt 11:28; Mark 1:15; John 3:16; Rom 1:16-17; 1 Cor 15:1-8

The Church

We believe there is one, holy, universal, apostolic church, created by the word of God through the power of the Spirit, under the headship of Christ alone, a communion of saints.  The universal church is made visible in local churches.  The house and family of God being made up of all those credibly professing faith in Christ.

Acts 2:41-47; Rom 10:14-17; Eph 4:4-5; 5:23-27; 1 Tim 3:15; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:9

The Ordinances

We believe there are two new covenant ordinances instituted by Christ: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  They are visible signs pointing to invisible graces, to be received by believers with faith as sanctifying means of grace—a remembrance, an assurance, a testimony to their faith, and an anticipation of Christ’s return.

Luke 22:14-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 11:17-34; Col 2:11-12

The Christian Hope

We believe God has appointed a day when Jesus will return to raise bodily the living and the dead—the unjust to eternal conscious punishment in hell, the just to eternal blessedness in God’s presence.  He will judge each person according to what he has done, and consummate the new creation, a kingdom of righteousness and peace. God will dwell with his people forever.

Matt 25:31-46; Acts 17:31; 24:15; Rom 2:6-11; Rev 21:1-5

Elder Confession of Faith

Church leaders not only agree with West Center’s Statement of Faith, but also the beliefs outlined in the Elder Confession of Faith. To view the Elder Confession of Faith, click the button below.

Beliefs Read More »

Staff & Leadership

Staff & Leadership



Senior Pastor


Associate Pastor


Associate Pastor



Administrative Assistant


Children's Ministry Coordinator


Financial Assistant


Media Assistant


Pastoral Intern

Terry Logan


Noah Salmen






Staff & Leadership Read More »



Dear Friend,

Welcome to West Center Baptist Church. We are a historically Christian church seeking to renew the body of Christ in the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ. We are sincerely grateful you came across our site and would love to welcome you into the fellowship of West Center.

Our life together centers on Sunday morning worship.  We believe the preaching of God’s word is central to the creating and sustaining of the church.  We have Sunday School during the fall, winter and spring, in order to build up the body with sound biblical teaching.  We meet in small Life Groups in order to live out the “one-another’s” of Scripture—caring and praying for each other.  We strive to impart the life-changing gospel of Jesus to the children of our church and community.  We are also seeking to empower and equip the church for worldwide evangelism and missions.

Welcome.  We hope you meet Jesus in our fellowship.  The bread of life and friend of sinners.

Justin DeBerry – Senior Pastor

We would love to see you soon!

Welcome Read More »

Scroll to Top