Mission Statement

Pilgrim Baptist Church is a Bible Believing, Bible Teaching Church with one goal, and that is to make Christ known to the world. Our mission is to lift the Savior up so that all who will may come to have personal knowledge of Him, and accept Him as Lord and Savior, and to go forth to be living witnesses for Him.


A Brief Church History

The Pilgrim Baptist Church was established in 1917 by a group of baptized believers in Jesus Christ. The group moved to Omaha from Brewton, Alabama in search of employment and a better life. Many of them sought to establish a new church home, but they encountered difficulties in establishing a place of worship. They rented a storefront church in the 1700 block of North 24th Street which they used for Wednesday night prayer meetings and Sunday school classes on Sunday mornings. They would then go to other churches for Sunday morning worship.

This arrangement continued for approximately four weeks. Although renting the storefront allowed these charter members to hold prayer meetings and Sunday school classes, they strongly desired to have a church home. Mr. Elijah Smith and Mr. William Washington, two members of the group, contacted Reverend William M. Franklin. Rev. Franklin lived in Detroit, Michigan and was pastor of a church there. Rev. Franklin was enroute to California and promised to stop in Omaha on his return and spend a few days here. Rev. F. W. Botts, pastor of Zion Baptist Church, and Moderator of the New Era Baptist State Convention, extended an invitation for Rev. Franklin to speak at Zion Baptist Church. Rev. Franklin spoke to a capacity crowd. His message, “Life,” came from John 10:10. Rev. Franklin held several meetings with the group. The congregation subsequently asked him to become their pastor.

The congregation rented a vacant building, which stood at 26th and Franklin Street, for $25.00 a month. On the second Sunday in May 1918, the church nicknamed “The Brewton Church,” was officially organized under the direction of the New Era Baptist State Convention.

Later that year, the church underwent two name changes. The congregation changed the name to “Pilgrim Rest”. A short time later, they adopted the name “Pilgrim Baptist Church.” Pilgrim Baptist Church outgrew its place of worship in two years.

The membership decided to purchase the building at the present location. On Sunday, September 5, 1920, Pilgrim Baptist Church’s congregation marched from the 26th and Franklin Street site with great pride and rejoicing in the Lord. Rev. Franklin resigned in 1923.

Rev. A. F. Martin, the second pastor served from 1923 - 1925.

Rev. Walker, the third pastor served from 1926 - 1928.

Rev. James H. Dotson became the fourth Pastor and served from 1928-1935. Under the leadership of Rev. James H. Dotson, a parsonage was purchased at 2807 Caldwell Street, outstanding debts were paid, and a communion set was purchased. The church grew in membership and in spirit.

Rev. Grady E. Stevenson became the fifth Pastor in 1935 and served for three years before resigning to accept a larger pastorate in Washington, DC.

Rev. Foster S. Goodlett accepted the position of Pastor in May of 1940. Under his leadership, the congregation redecorated the sanctuary, and burned the mortgage on Sunday, December 23, 1943. Rev. Goodlett resigned January 31, 1945.

Rev. Charles Favors became the seventh Pastor in 1945. Under his leadership a church lounge was added, and a boys’ recreation room and men’s lounge were planned. A concrete walk was laid around the church, a public address system was installed, and the institution of “blessing of babies” was started.

In 1947 nationally known Mahalia Jackson and her entourage sang at Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Men’s Day, November 15, 1948, brought the era of the old Pilgrim Baptist Church to a close. During the midnight hour the news spread, “Pilgrim is burning, Pilgrim is burning down!” Burn down it did! The four walls and the lofty bell tower were left standing. By the grace of God the opened Bible on the pulpit stand, charred around the edges, did not burn, it only sustained minimal damage. This miracle helped strengthen the members during the rebuilding process. As Rev. Favors watched the flames consume the church and his troubled flock, he said, “Under God, we will build it back again.”

Zion Baptist Church opened her doors to Pilgrim members and the two churches held joint services for a brief period of time. The parsonage on Caldwell Street was remodeled and Pilgrim held services there until the spring of 1951. At that time the congregation marched back to the 25th and Hamilton location.

Rebuilding was a long and difficult struggle. Some members grew discouraged and joined other churches. A majority of the membership never gave up, and the building was finally finished.

Rev. Favors was instrumental in bringing the June 1958 Session of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress to Omaha. After fifteen years of faithful service, a tired Pastor Favors retired and returned to his home in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rev. Dr. Albert M. Lampkin was called in March, 1960. In June of 1960, Rev. Dr. Albert M. Lampkin assumed the duties of pastor. Rev. Dr. Lampkin restored Christian fellowship, and stressed the importance of “How to Worship.” He opened a church office and hired the first office secretary, Sis. Paulyne Y. Campbell. Rev. Dr. Lampkin’s leadership shaped the future Pilgrim. He helped to create the Education Committee and assisted in the reorganization of the youth group. The second Sunday of each month was set aside as Youth Sunday. The Annual Recognition of Pilgrim’s Graduates was established to recognize young men and women for their academic achievements.

Seven Sunday school classrooms were added in the first unit. The members built a stage with a dressing room, installed a public address system, and added a cry-room (for mothers with babies).

Open House and Dedication Sunday were held on June 18, 1961. The mortgage was burned Sunday, July 28, 1963. Under the leadership of Dr. Lampkin, the membership grew both numerically and spiritually. Pilgrim Baptist Church became one of the most beautiful churches in the Midwest. Rev. Dr. Lampkin resigned February 23, 1964.

In 1964, Rev. Dr. William L. Blake, Sr. succeeded Rev. Dr. Lampkin as the ninth Pastor. Under his leadership, Pilgrim purchased a parsonage, a church van and had central air conditioning installed in the church. He reorganized the youth group into the Baptist Youth Fellowship and formed the Inspirational Choir. The Board of Christian Education was developed to assist high school graduates. A tithe box was purchased to encourage the members to tithe. A vacant lot near the church was purchased to provide off-street parking. Rev. Dr. Blake ordained Brothers Horace G. McMillon in July of 1967 and Robert T. Hooks, Jr. on October 28, 1979 to the work of the Gospel Ministry. Rev. Dr. Blake resigned in November of 1979. Rev. Robert T. Hooks, Jr., succeeded him as interim pastor.

Rev. Dr. Negil L. McPherson, Sr., began his ministry in September of 1980. The word “ACTION” sums up the focus of his ministry. Rev. Dr. McPherson, Sr. desired that every member strive for spiritual maturity, and seek involvement in the different church ministries. Rev. Dr. McPherson, Sr. also emphasized the need for Christian Education.

As a man of wisdom, Rev. Dr. McPherson, Sr. reorganized the need for reaching all segments of the congregation, including the youth. He established the Youth Department. He also incorporated Children’s Church and Children’s Period in the morning worship service.

Rev. Dr. McPherson’s vision included continuing financial support of our National, State, and Foreign and Home Mission Boards, as well as our denominational institution of higher learning, the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. The American Theological Seminary Extension School was established and headquartered at Pilgrim.

In 1988 school supplies and food were sent to Jamaica after the destruction of hurricane Gilbert. New members’ and candidates for baptism classes were implemented.

On April 1, 1990, Brother Spencer E. Campbell was ordained by Rev. Dr. McPherson, Sr. to work with the Gospel Ministry. Brother C. Miller Woods was licensed to preach. The Brotherhood and Golden Links Ministries were reorganized.

In August 1991 Christian Education evangelistic classes were established. Pilgrim purchased three vacant lots for parking and a computer, a three car garage was built, a security system was installed, and Pilgrim leased a copy machine. Restrooms, flooring, and pews were renovated. A food pantry was activated. Boys and Cub Scout Troops and a Girl Scout Troop were organized.

In 1998, Pilgrim held its “Grand Opening and Dedication” of 7,339 square ft. addition to the west side of the church. This addition was dedicated as the “Leola Jones Fellowship Hall.”

In 1999 after the passing of First Lady Mrs. Nancy L. McPherson a scholarship in her honor was established.

In 2003, as Pilgrim continued its current involvement in The Building Expansion Program, and recognized the ever-growing housing needs for the elderly and other low-income persons, two new housing facilities were constructed. These two facilities were made possible by a joint effort between Pilgrim Baptist Church, the Omaha Economic Development Corporation and a HUD grant. Pilgrim established the PBC/OEDC Development Corporation to direct these units.

Rev. Dr. McPherson, Sr. retired November 9, 2003.

Rev. Cedric L. Perkins from Huntsville, Alabama was elected as the eleventh pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in October 2003. On November 23, 2003, Rev. Perkins came and officially accepted the pastoral vacancy and preached the Loyalty Day services. Rev. Perkins preached his first sermon as the pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church on January 4, 2004.

Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, Vice-President at Large of the National Baptist Convention, USA. Inc. preached the Introduction and Welcome Service for Rev. Cedric L. Perkins on February 26, 2004 at 7:00 PM. The theme was “God’s Chosen Servant Leading God’s People in a New Beginning” - Joshua 1:1-9.

Rev. Cedric L. Perkins stresses that each member continue to develop an atmosphere of love for God, His Word, and for one another. With God’s help and the support of the membership, Rev. Perkins continues to build upon the foundation that was laid before him.

In May 2005 the first Nancy L. McPherson Scholarship was awarded to Alyssa Lauren Williams. Pastor Perkins finalized the contract on the senior housing project, restructured the church mortgage, finance procedures, youth and children’s ministries, children’s period, and prayer service.

Pastor Perkins organized the married couples’ ministry, Making Money Work (MMW) Ministry, enhanced the Sunday school curriculum and classes and the church website, developed a church logo, evangelism materials, radio ministry, a strategic planning committee, and an outreach ministry with the concept “Each One, Reach One,” as the catchword to motivate the membership to invest in a person who is unsaved, without a church home, slothful in service, or wherever one needs to be reached.

Under his leadership Pilgrim has grown spiritually, numerically, financially and accomplished many building improvements. These improvements consist of roof replacement, renovated sanctuary, purchased sound and recording equipment, a new marquee, new phone system, office equipment / furniture, demolished the Littlejohn house which was donated to the church, and improved sidewalks around the premises.

Additional ministry enhancements include evangelism packets, choir robes, banqueting equipment, music equipment, and portable sound system purchases to name a few.

In 2007 after the passing of Debra D. Carey-Anderson, the daughter of Associate Minister Joseph M. Carey and Sis. Betty N. Carey, a scholarship was instituted in her honor by her husband Brian K. Anderson and son Torre M. Anderson. The first Debra D. Anderson Scholarship was awarded to Keisha S. Mabry in May 2009.

Rev. Dr. Cedric L. Perkins has a strong vision for Pilgrim Baptist Church which will be achieved with much prayer and the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Pilgrim family gives much support to Rev. Dr. Cedric L. Perkins as he serves our National Baptist Congress of Christian Education Vice President West Region.  

Pilgrim has experienced many challenges during a strenuous economical recession in our nation. Our faith has been tested and tried. Through 100 years of service we have learned to trust in Jesus. We have come this far by faith.