Pastor Jose A. Santos was selected to be the forty-second pastor of the First Baptist Church in a unanimous vote by the membership after the Sunday evening service on Resurrection Sunday, April 4, 2021. His pastorate began on May 2, 2021.
Pastor Santos is no stranger to First Baptist Church. Having served as FBC’s Assistant Pastor for five years, the church congregation was familiar with his dedication and love for the congregation and the Perth Amboy community. Pastor Santos is a longtime native of Perth Amboy. He came to Perth Amboy from Puerto Rico when he was just 15 years old. Lacking spiritual direction in his life, he began hanging out with the wrong type of friends and eventually dropped out of high school. It was at this time that he began to experiment with drugs. As a user of illicit drugs, it did not take long before he began to deal drugs on the streets of Perth Amboy where he continually encountered law enforcement and arrested for his substance abuse. Disgusted with how his life was turning out, Pastor Santos turned to “religion” by visiting all kinds of Christian and non-Christian denominations hoping that “religion” would change his life around. What he found was a continued emptiness that did not change his situation; and he found himself going right back into drug dealing.
In 1994, after hearing a sermon on television regarding Jesus Christ able to bring forgiveness and salvation, Pastor Santos looked up in the phone book the name of the church that resembled the message he had heard on television. That search led him to the First Baptist Church in Perth Amboy, NJ under the direction of Pastor William A. Gerak, Sr. Soon after attending the services at First Baptist Church, he saw his lost condition and asked Christ to save him. Shortly thereafter, he felt God’s call to preach while attending a Pastor’s Conference in Hammond, Indiana.
He attended Hyles-Anderson College in 1998 enrolling in their “Five Year Program” which allowed students without a high school diploma to obtain their diploma and college degree through the fulfillment of 160 semester hours. With three children, a wife, and a full-time job, Pastor Santos graduated from Hyles-Anderson College in 2004 with an earned Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Pastoral Theology.
After graduation, he served in his home church, First Baptist Church in Perth Amboy, NJ, as an Assistant Pastor in charge of the bus ministry. He served faithfully in that ministry from 2004 to 2009 until God called him to a new ministry. In 2009, Pastor Santos joined the pastoral staff at Somerset Bible Baptist Church as Spanish Pastor. During this time, God continued to keep the burden of church planting on his heart, and in January 2015, he started Christ Centered Baptist Church in Plainfield, NJ.
Upon the news that his spiritual mentor, Pastor William A. Gerak, Sr., had passed away, Pastor Santos filled the pulpit on Sunday mornings while also maintaining the church planting ministry in Plainfield. On March 21, 2021, Pastor Santos was officially nominated as the next candidate for Pastor in which he would present himself formally as a candidate on Easter Sunday. After the evening service, the church membership was afforded the opportunity to question Pastor Santos about his vision and passion for the ministry. Afterward, the church voted unanimously to instill him as the next Pastor of the First Baptist Church.
Pastor Santos resides in Perth Amboy, NJ with his wife, Marisol. They have three children and three grandchildren. Their oldest child, Cynthia, along with her husband Angel, is currently serving the Lord at Stedfast Baptist Church in Groton, Connecticut. Their oldest son, Anthony, along with his wife Taylor, reside in NJ with their young daughter. Their youngest son, Jose, along with his wife Abigail, is currently serving the Lord as an Assistant Pastor at Somerset Bible Baptist Church. Pastor Santos’ life verse is 2 Timothy 4:6-7, which says, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”