Denominational Affiliation and Doctrinal Statement
First Baptist Church, Manchester, Tennessee is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (www.sbc.net), the Tennessee Baptist Convention (www.tnbaptist.org), and the Duck River Baptist Association (www.duckrivermissions.org).
Our church subscribes to the doctrinal statement The Baptist Faith and Message (www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp).
The mission of First Baptist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We understand that the church makes disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit by:
- Evangelizing the lost in our area and sending missionaries to evangelize the unreached peoples of the world,
- Teaching sound doctrine to equip believers for growth and service,
- Cultivating a fellowship of loving encouragement and joyful worship, and
- Ministering to the needs of the church and the world in the name of Jesus.
Commitment to Missions
First Baptist Church supports missions through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention, giving 12% of undesignated offerings each week through the Cooperative Program.
We engage in long-term partnerships with new church plants. Currently, we have a partnership with Journey Pointe Church in Denver and with a church in Guatemala. We support them financially and take mission trips to assist them in outreach and ministry.
We sponsor Oakley Ministry Center in the Oakley community near Hillsboro. Mondays on C Street is a weekly ministry providing children’s activities, a worship service, a meal, and grocery distribution. It is staffed by volunteers from our church.
We are the lead sponsor for the Jesus Tent at Bonnaroo. Volunteers staff a tent in the camping area of the festival that offers free snacks, fruit, water, tea, coffee, toiletries, Bibles, and other Christian resources to Bonnaroovians. A charging station with 150 outlets provides free phone charging. Large fans provide a place to cool off. The tent is open 24 hours a day for the four days of the festival. A worship service is conducted Sunday at 10:00 AM.
Our church has sponsored several missions over the years: Welcome Home Mission (1945) which later became Westwood Baptist Church, the group which became Trinity Baptist Church in 1963, Beech Grove Baptist (1975), and Boynton Valley Baptist (1991, in partnership with Highland Baptist Church).
When the Acts of Tennessee formed Coffee County and Manchester in 1835-1836, Lot 56 was designated for the regular Baptist Church. The 1853 report of the Baptist Association notes that a church was constituted with nine members in that year, but the 1856 report says the Manchester church was not represented and was eventually dropped from the roll of churches.
In 1868, Rev. William Huff and T. G. Mosely organized a Baptist Church in the Presbyterian house of worship in Manchester. The little church had meetings at times, but no consecutively until 1882. From 1882 to 1886, Rev. Huff preached for the church one Sunday each month, usually in the courthouse.
On May 11, 1883, a lot was traded for the lot at the corner of Main and Woodland. Construction began on a building that same year. It was dedicated May 29, 1887. The church met at this location until 1953.
In 1951, the church purchased a lot at the present location on Hillsboro Boulevard. Groundbreaking for a new building took place on January 11, 1953. The church set a building fund goal of $13,001.
The new building was dedicated on September 12, 1954. In 1967, an educational building was added at a cost of $150,000.
In the early morning hours of September 29, 1981, someone broke into the church and set a fire that completely destroyed the building that was erected in 1953. From 1981 to 1984, the congregation met at Coffee County High School for Sunday morning worship and at First Presbyterian Church for Sunday evening worship and Wednesday prayer meeting. The 1967 education building (now called Building B) continued to provide office space and Sunday School classes for younger children during this time.
On September 19, 1982, groundbreaking was held for the current worship center. The cost of the new building was $1,167,000. Insurance settlements left a balance needed of $529,000. This was raised through a Together We Build campaign. This building was dedicated April 8, 1984.
In August, 1994, Brenton Cox was called to be pastor of First Baptist Church. In the fall of 1994, the congregation elected a long range planning committee to develop a five year plan for the growth of the church. Our Christian Development Program was formed as a result of this committee’s recommendations.
From 1999 to 2015, our church was engaged in an extensive effort to double the size of our campus and facilities. We bought and moved nine houses adjacent to our worship center and across Summer Street. This provided space for our new buildings and parking lots. Church members gave through seven capital campaigns for 1999 to 2021. We began construction in 2007, adding buildings C and D. Interior sections of the buildings were completed in seven phases of construction using a great deal of volunteer labor from church members. Construction of buildings was completed in 2015. The original building loan of $2.4 million was paid off in 2021. Parking lots were also completed in 2021.