Our corporate name is: First Baptist Church of Mill Valley, dba Miller Avenue Baptist Church.
We are dually aligned with American and Southern Baptists.
The church was founded by Pastor Bert Jones in 1947. Following Pastor Jones was John McDonald, then John Nielson, then John Streater. After Pastor Streater retired, the church was closed. In September of 1984 the American Baptists asked Kent Philpott, the current pastor, to make a new church start. The first service of Miller Avenue was the first Sunday of July 1985.
Pastor Kent Philpott is a graduate BA of Sacramento State, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, MDiv, and from San Francisco Theological Seminary, DMin. Wife Katie Philpott is a graduate of GGBTS with a MDiv. Son Vernon is both treasurer and Associate Pastor, leading Sunday evening worship and Tuesday evening Bible Study.
We are a small congregation, always have been, and always will be.
Our focus is on bold proclamation of the word of grace, the Gospel, and the disciplining of followers of Jesus. Pastor Philpott thinks of himself as an old time Gospel preacher and Bible teacher.
Our sermons are mostly verse by verse preaching from the Scripture.
We are not political at all. No one knows the pastor’s voting record.
We have a simple form of church government with no committees. We have four congregational meetings each year.
There is no formal membership; whoever is present, including at the congregation meetings, is the church. We vote only on items that are mandated by our bylaws but work toward consensus on all items, which is a higher standard. We do not operate with a “corporate” model. The goal of the pastors is not to be paid at all. A pre-school, The Little School, has leased space from us since 1982.
In terms of church government, we have a blend of episcopal, presbyterian, and congregational models.
We are fairly liturgical in our worship, including the reciting of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Collect of the Day (a prayer said by Christians around the world every Sunday), with one or two sermons and receiving “Jesus in the Bread and the Cup” each Sunday morning. We like the old hymns and have no concern to be contemporary, but we do have guitars, singing, and piano playing of two Jesus People type choruses at each morning service, as well as a choir piece, usually in the Black Gospel genre.
There is an evening service and a Tuesday night Bible Study. There are a few small groups of varying natures.
We have hosted a Divorce Recovery Workshop since January of 1986. Each workshop is eight weeks long and is presented four times each year.
Our outreach focuses on our television programing: “The Bible Study,” “Why We Are Christians,” and (currently) “The Imam and the Pastor.” When that series is completed, it will morph into the Rabbi and the Pastor, then the Zen Master, etc. The programs are designed to present the Gospel. These programs are broadcast locally then distributed more globally.
We have a Reformed theology—not rigid or legalistic—but grace oriented.
The present pastor, Kent Philpott, and his wife Katie operate a publishing house, Earthen Vessel Media, LLC. By extension, it is a ministry of Miller Avenue Baptist Church. You may see something of this by going to Amazon and typing in the pastor’s name, or by going to the online book store, evpbooks.com.
Here are links to our television programing:
Why We Are Christians: click here
The Imam and the Pastor: click here
The Bible Study (part of Kent Philpott’s personal channel): click here