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Rev. Jessica Henks
Senior Pastor

As a native Kansan, coming to Ottawa, KS is like coming home.  I grew up in Hiawatha, KS and often frequented Ottawa University for camping, gatherings, and training in Junior High and High School.  It was at summer camp at OU where those first inklings of ministry call came to me.  So, for God to call me and my family to First Baptist in Ottawa is an amazing privilege and blessing.

After my calling to ministry at 16, I pursued further education at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO and then a Masters in Divinity at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.  Throughout my college and seminary years, I served as youth pastor in several settings and volunteered in numerous homeless and transitional housing settings.  My heart has always been filled with compassion for those in need and those who are struggling.
As I graduated seminary, I was called to Solo Pastor a small congregation an hour south of Chicago, in Kankakee, IL.  My husband and I spent 8 years there ministering in the community.  During that time, my husband finished his Masters in Architecture, which led us in 2016 to move back to the Kansas City area as he began his new career and as we felt led to be closer to family.  After much prayer and discernment, God led us to Ottawa, and we are so pleased to be here. 
Brian and I met in college at William Jewell.  We married in 2006.  We have two boys, who were both born in Kankakee, Alex, who is 7, and Caleb, who is 4.  In my free time, I enjoy jogging, reading, playing piano and guitar, and watercolor painting.  I have a heart for pastoral counseling those dealing with depression and anxiety, as well as other struggles of life.  I enjoy getting to know people, and I hope that you will come and worship and do life with us at First Baptist.

Pastor Jessica can be reached at