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 Association of Missionary Baptists (www.duckriverbaptistassociation.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 15% of undesignated offerings each week through the Cooperative Program.
Our church is also engaged directly in missions. We have led international mission teams on short-term trips to Brazil, Thailand, and Canada. We have been involved in North American partnerships in Michigan and Montana. Locally, our church sponsors Oakley Ministry Center, where Bible study, children’s activities, homework help, and food distribution are provided. Our church is a leader in the More Than Music Ministry at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester each June.
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), Boynton Valley Baptist (1991, in partnership with Highland Baptist Church), and assisted Trinity Baptist and Duck River Association in sponsoring what became Nuevo Horizonte in 2001.
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.
The church began to see the need for more property to enable future growth. In 1999, the church purchased two adjoining pieces of property on Hillsboro Boulevard at a cost of $251,600. A campaign called Growing Together enabled the church to pay for this property. Three houses on these lots were sold and moved. In January 2002, two additional lots on Summer Street were purchased. A house was sold and moved from these lots. In July 2002, the church adopted a master plan for our property. In October 2002, our church began a three-year capital stewardship campaign called Building the Family. This was followed in 2005 by a second campaign called Building for Tomorrow, and a third campaign in 2009 called Building People. In 2007, groundbreaking was held for a new family life center and education building. Phase 1 (children’s and adult classrooms, bookstore, elevator, welcome center, drive through and new parking) was completed in 2008. Phase 2 (gymnasium) was completed in 2009. Phase 3 (parlor, café, locker-rooms) was completed in 2010. Phase 4 (preschool area) was completed in 2011. Phase 5 (adult classrooms, walking track, game room, weight room) was completed in 2012.