Leadership Profile

Reverend Matthew Augustus Zimmerman

Reverend Matthew Augustus Zimmerman, Jr. began his journey here at FBC in April 1998. Sermon after sermon and lesson after lesson focused on forgiveness. Under his leadership, First Baptist was awakened to the power of prayer. The congregants began to bring their Bibles to church and waited with anticipation for the instructions, “Show Me the Word!” Reverend Z also would share with the congregation his mother’s words of reassurance that "The Spirit of the Lord goes before us to make our ways easier and more successful,” Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed,” and reminded all to count their blessings because truly “God is Good All the Time!”

First Baptist welcomed faith communities and joined together with them in ecumenical services and community projects such as In As Much, a “help” ministry with Warrenton Baptist Church. In April of 2018 in a round table discussion with members of the Saint James Episcopal Church, Common Threads was born, honoring our different traditions while building on our commonalities to become friends in Christ and to address racism and to promote unity and positive change within our communities.

This pastor had a heart for helping others and placed his stamp of approval on Community Thanksgiving dinners, Communion Sunday meals to the Sick and Shut-In, the continuation of Community Interdenominational Prayer Breakfasts, Prayer Walks, Shoe and Clothing drives, Community Choir Concerts, and under the guidance of Associate Pastor Reverend Vinicent Holland, the church began the 2016 restoration project, which not only restored glazed-over stained glass windows, but also completed much needed repairs and brought the 150 year-old building up to code, making it accessible for all.

The sincerity of his message—one that stuck with us for weeks-on-end, his BIG personality, and his fun-loving nature “freed up” a congregation to became more fun-loving, too! In fact, when the search for a new pastor began, Reverend Zimmerman’s qualities were the basis for our qualifications' checklist!

Man of Many Firsts—One of the First Black Graduates from Duke University’s School of Theology, First Black Major General, and First Black Chief of Chaplains in the United States Army—this Beloved Pastor retired in November 2019 after twenty-one years of shepherding the FBC Flock, and upon the recommendation of Pastor-Elect Dr. Dwayne E. Brown, the church bestowed upon "Reverend Z," the title of Pastor Emeritus--a double honor coming from the one who would fill his shoes!

AND...so it was! on October 23rd, 2022, accompanied by his wonderful and musically-gifted wife, Barbara Boulware Zimmerman, the longest-reigning pastor of the First Baptist Church, Warrenton, was honored by the church and the community as the FIRST Pastor Emeritus in the history of the church.



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