First Baptist Church of Millington, Tennessee was organized in 1888 as Millington Baptist Church. It was organized as a result of a revival held by the Reverends Fullbright and Young through Big Creek Baptist Church. Services were conducted in a school building for approximately two years.
A church building was erected on Wilkinsville Road in 1890 due to the untiring efforts of members W. E. Polk and Joe and Will McCaughn. Mr. Polk contributed the logs, which were sawn in the mill of Joe McCaughn. Members of the church did all of the construction work.
The first minister of the newly organized church was Bro. Jeffrey Anderson, who served for a short period of time and was followed by Bro. Sproules. Around 1902, Bro. Sproules was succeeded by Bro. T. J. Davenport, who served until 1905. He was followed by Bro. B. W. Brown, who served as pastor for thirty years, from 1905 to 1935. Because of ill health, Bro. Brown retired. His son, Charles Spurgeon Brown, was ordained by the church and served as pastor for the next several years until he accepted a position as Professor of History at Memphis State University.
In 1941, the church called Bro. Barney Flowers. Bro. Flowers served the church until February 1944. Under his leadership a Training Union was organized in 1942 with Mrs. L. C. Jackson serving as director. “Full-time services” were also started. Previous to this, services were held only twice a month on Sunday mornings. Bro. Flowers resigned as pastor to return to public education as Superintendent of Schools in Trezevant, Tennessee.
Bro. A. B. Harrison was called by the church and assumed the pastorate in November 1944, and served until May 1946. Bro. L.C. Bowers succeeded him in August 1946.
Under the leadership of Bro. Bowers the church began to show signs of growth, and the membership increased at a rapid rate due to the construction of Millington Homes, Inc., and other housing developments in the community. The first expansion of the church was made under the leadership of Bro. Bowers. The annex to the old church building was built to provide additional Sunday School rooms and the church auditorium was remodeled. After serving as pastor for four years, Bro. Bowers submitted his resignation on August 13, 1950. At this time the resident church membership was 271 with an average Sunday School attendance 150. The total offerings for 1950 were $10,145.00.
Bro. D. Kenneth Duncan assumed the pastorate of the church in December 1950. Under the leadership of Bro. Duncan a building program was started to provide additional space for church services and an education building for the Sunday School and other organizations of the church. However, Bro. Duncan entered military service in May 1952 as a Chaplain in the Air Force before the new church building was constructed.
Dr. William T. Flynt accepted the pastorate on May 25, 1952. Under his leadership the auditorium and Sunday School rooms were built. We moved into this building on Easter Sunday 1953. Dr. Flynt served as pastor until May 1958 when he accepted a call to Ashland, Kentucky.
By 1958 the membership had grown to 795 with 52 baptisms that year and an average Sunday School attendance of 421. Training Union had grown to an enrollment of 341 with an average attendance of 190.
Following the resignation of Dr. Flynt, the church extended a call to Dr. D. D. Scrivner in October 1958. Because of the continued growth of the church and Sunday School, it soon became apparent that the new church building was inadequate and plans were started to construct an additional education building. The new building was occupied in 1960.
Dr. Scrivner served the church as pastor until April 1962, when he accepted a call to Florida.
Bro. H. A. Hunderup, Jr., assumed the pastorate of the church on July 1, 1962. Several new features were added to our church program under his leadership, including the “Family Night” approach to the Wednesday night program. The weekly newsletter mail out, “The Evangel,” was also started. A second morning worship service was begun due to the overcrowed condition in the auditorium.
In 1963 the church observed its 75th anniversary. A significant achievement of that year was the passing of the 1000 mark in total church membership.
The Baptist Sunday School Board was asked to help us develop plans for a new auditorium. The new auditorium was used for worship for the first time on January 9, 1966, with a seating capacity of 1,068, including 76 seats in the choir loft. The overall cost of the building was $209,520. This indebtedness was completely paid off in February 1978.
The name of the church was changed to First Baptist Church.
Bro. Hunderup served as pastor until 1973, when he accepted a pastorate in Portsmouth, Virginia.
By 1973 the church membership was 1,669 with an average Sunday School attendance of 498. The offerings for that year were $165,800 and we had 73 baptisms. Rev. James Robert Kendig served as pastor for 1973-1975. He resigned to enter full-time evangelism.
Dr. A. Ray Newcomb, came to serve on January 1, 1976. The church experienced significant growth in every area under his leadership. Because of the over crowdedness in Sunday School, even with the use of the auditorium and a house next door, there was a need for more space.
In 1987 we baptized 227 and church offerings were $700,000. First Baptist Church was ranked in the top ten churches in Tennessee in the number of baptisms, baptizing over 100 each year.
At the 100th year celebration in 1988 our church membership had grown to 3305 with an average Sunday School attendance of 888. We celebrated with “A Century of Service to the Savior.”
In 1990 the church voted through a “Together We Build” program to build a new nursery/preschool wing, parking lots and renovate the adult and children’s wings.
Due to an ice storm in 1995 and some much needed repair, the auditorium was renovated.
The dawning of a new century, 2000, brought together some serious thinking about our church property and what direction the Lord was leading as a growing, spiritual force in the Millington area.
With a membership of 2500 and an average attendance of 1000 most Sundays, three worship services, and two Sunday School hours, we were still looking for more room. We went to the Lord and claimed the prayer of Jabez, (I Chronicles 4:9-10) and asked the Lord to “bless us indeed.” A search committee was formed to look for land in the Millington area that would have enough acreage to support a large church facility. 89 acres of land was purchased at the corner of West Union and Wilkinsville for the price of $989,000. Work was started immediately by church volunteers to clear part of the land in the first of a two-phase plan. Ball fields were built and a large picnic/meeting area was cleared for present and future use. We had indeed welcomed a new century.
In 2001 the church body voted through a “Building on Faith” program to start the second part of our two-phase plan to build a new $13,000,000 church facility with accommodations for 1650 worshipping together. Our campus included a 144,000 square foot main building surrounded by ball fields and picnic area.
On Saturday, March 6, 2004 the church had a celebration march to the new church facilities. For our first Sunday service, March 7, we had 2,300 in the worship services and 1,485 in Sunday School.
One year from the date of our move, we saw 417 additions which prompted the need to finish two unfinished areas of the building providing 12 Sunday School classes and the Boardwalk worship area that seated 400. In October 2005, we continued to grow and therefore had to add another morning worship service, four years ahead of our original projections.
In the spring of 2006, a 350-car lighted parking lot was constructed. In 2007-2008, ball field lights were completed, a fence installed along the recreation road, a pavilion was built and two 15-passenger vehicles were purchased.
On January 11, 2009, Dr. Ray Newcomb announced his retirement after 33 years of serving as Pastor of the church. His retirement date was May 17, 2009. By the fifth anniversary of the new church, over 1500 people had joined our fellowship. June 7, 2009, Dr. Timothy Seal, Professor of Preaching at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, was called as our interim pastor. October 2009, Dr. David E. Leavell was called as Senior Pastor of the church.
In May 2010 Millington was hit by a flood, which damaged our worship center. Our church served the community by helping with mud-out, rebuilding, housing victims, providing meals, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. for those in need.
The Harvest offering of 2010-11 went to replace the worship center carpet, add interior decoration and landscaping the grounds.
August 2, 2011, the electrical panel located in the Family Life Center caught fire and by the grace of God and properly-working sprinkler systems, the fire was contained. As a result of the fire, the gym floor had to be replaced.
November 2011 the Harvest offering took on a new direction in reducing the indebtedness of the church. We will be debt free by 2020, a true testament that God is good, ALL the time!