Nashville First Loving God. Loving People Fri, 31 Jul 2020 14:09:57 +0000 en hourly 1 Nashville First 32 32 Live Stream Town Hall Meetings & Business Vote Planned Fri, 31 Jul 2020 14:09:57 +0000 Nashville First will host a series of Town Hall Meetings on Wednesday, August 5, 12, and 19 at 6:00 p.m.

On August 5 and 12, our congregation will hear reports and recommendations from various committees throughout the church. You will be able to submit questions as well. These will be live streamed much like our Worship Services on a Sunday morning. However, they will not be posted on Facebook. Instead, church members will be sent an email with a link to view the meeting directly on YouTube. A link will also be posted on our website. The intention is to limit access to only church members as much as possible. Videos will remain active for only 2 days after airing.

After the first two Town Halls, a voting packet will be sent out to all members on Thursday, August 13. This will be an email with a link to an online web form. You will have until Monday, August 17 to submit your votes. If you do not have access to email, please contact Amanda Poff at 615.664.6010. She will assist you with voting over the phone or arrange another way to register your vote. Church leadership has decided that quorum will be established by the number of votes cast, and a majority would be established from that quorum. Members will need to submit their names along with their ballots, so that the church can verify their membership. Please take this time to ensure your email address is correct in Realm, because those are the email addresses the church will use.

The final Town Hall Meeting will be live streamed on Wednesday, August 19 at 6:00 p.m. Presenters will give updates and announce the results of the congregational vote.

July 2020 Progress Photos Wed, 22 Jul 2020 17:46:09 +0000 Work continues on both the exterior and interior of the building. The exterior is being bricked in and insulated. Duct work, ceilings and sheet rock are being placed inside. Windows are being installed with hopes of entirely sealing in the building soon. Progress is going well.

Click through slideshow below.

Side view of building
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Overview of Our History 1820-2020 Wed, 22 Jul 2020 15:46:37 +0000 downtown nashvilleIn honor of our 200th Anniversary, here are some milestones from the life our of church. These are broken into 50 year increments and some other events have been included to give you context.


  • 1820 – Thirty-five persons organized church in the county courthouse.
  • 1821 – 1st building built on Church Street at the cost of $6,000.
  • 1822 – Richard Dabbs called as first pastor.
  • 1826 – Philip Fall called as a pastor.
  • 1827 – Sam Houston inaugurated as governor in First Baptist Nashville Church Building.
  • 1828 – “Campbellism” reduced membership from 123 to five.
  • 1828 – Jackson is elected President of the United States; He would serve two terms, 1829-1837.
  • 1830 – First Baptist Church pulled itself together and began again, meeting for worship in the Masonic Hall (Church Street).
  • 1831 – Peter S. Gayle called as pastor.
  • 1833 – FBCN Members helped start Baptist State Convention of Tennessee
  • 1834 – R.B.C. Howell called as pastor.
  • 1835 – The Baptist (later called Baptist and Reflector) first issue. First successful Sunday School established.
  • 1841- Second building dedicated (Fifth Avenue, North)
  • 1842 – First mention of a church choir in church records.
  • 1843 – Nashville established as permanent state capital.
  • 1846 – Mission to African Americans begins, which later leads to establishment of FBC, Capitol Hill
  • 1848 – First mention of church ushers.
  • 1850 – Samuel Baker called as pastor.
  • 1853 – Church organist is recorded as being paid.
  • 1854 – William Bayless called as sixth pastor.
  • 1857 – R.B.C. Howell returns for second pastorate.
  • 1858 – State charter of incorporation secured. “Landmarkism” and J.R. Graves brought to trial.
  • 1861 – Civil War begins
  • 1862 – Nashville surrenders to Federal troops. Pastor R.B.C. Howell jailed for refusing to take public oath of allegiance to the United States government.
  • 1863 – FBCN confiscated by the Union and used as a military hospital.
  • 1864 – Battle of Nashville shattered the Confederate Army of Tennessee and marked the end of major Confederate offensives in the Western theater during the Civil War.
  • 1865 – Civil War ended and building returned to FBCN members from the federal government.
  • 1867 – Thomas Skinner became pastor.


  • 1871 – Tiberius Gracchus Jones becomes pastor. Adopted an envelope system to encourage regular giving.
  • 1880 – Nashville celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding. The city’s population is 43,350.
  • 1883 – Charlton Hines Strickland called as pastor.
  • 1886 – FBCN entered building at new location on 7th and Broad.
  • 1888 – Women’s Missionary Union established at FBCN
  • 1889 – William Robert Lee Smith became pastor.
  • 1891 – Baptist Sunday School Board (now called LifeWay) established in our building. Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes founded in our church.
  • 1893 – James Marion Frost called as pastor.
  • 1895 – Position of “church collector” discontinued. Baptist Young People’s Union formed.
  • 1896 – James Boardman Hawthorne called as pastor.
  • 1899 – Lansing Burrows called as pastor.
  • 1901 – Contributions (amounts and names) began to be printed annually.
  • 1904 – The Baptist Hymn and Praise Book purchased.
  • 1905 – McKendree Methodist Church burned, so they met in our building.
  • 1906 – First training school for Sunday School workers.
  • 1909 – Richard Inlow called as pastor.
  • 1914 – Allen Fort called as pastor.
  • 1915 – “Common Cup” replaced by individual communion service cups.
  • 1917 – Electric lights replaced gas lights in sanctuary.
  • 1918 – Services cancelled for four weeks due to epidemic of influenza.
  • 1919 – Passage of 19th Amendment giving women right to vote.
  • 1920 – Church celebrated centennial.


  • 1921 – William Francis Powell called as pastor.
  • 1923 – Budget system adopted for better financial planning.
  • 1924 – Balcony added to sanctuary; increased seating capacity to 1200. FBCN began city’s first licensed radio station (WCBQ)
  • 1925 – First Vacation Bible School conducted.
  • 1928 – Education building completed.
  • 1929 – First Adult Training Union formed. First educational and financial director hired.
  • 1933 – Grape juice replaced wine served in Lord’s Supper services.
  • 1934 – Fire damaged sanctuary, church displaced for six months.
  • 1937 – B.B. McKinney employed to direct training union.
  • 1939 – World War II begins
  • 1944 – “Future Program” adopted calling for complete church staff.
  • 1945 – Cora Tibbs Mission established in northeast Nashville. Hines Sims launched first graded-choir program
  • 1946 – Church building was air-conditioned.
  • 1949 – Recreation program began.
  • 1952 – Neil Darnell became first full-time minister of music.
  • 1954 – Billy Graham Crusade brings many converts to FBCN.
  • 1956 – H. Franklin Paschall began pastorate.
  • 1960 – “Starting in Sixty Campaign” began. Robert Hall building renovated into gymnasium.
  • 1963 – John F. Kennedy assassination
  • 1967 – Last service in 1886 building. Services held at Hume-Fogg High School during construction of new building.
  • 1970 – First service in present sanctuary at corner of 7th and Broadway.


  • 1981 – Recreation Center renovated and dedicated.
  • 1985 – Charles Page called as pastor.
  • 1986 –  Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
  • 1987 – Three women elected as deacons. “Room at the Inn” program begins at FBCN. Thompson Station Mission began (later became First Baptist Church Thompson Station)
  • 1988 – East Building purchased and renovated. Missions House purchased.
  • 1991– Dan Francis became pastor.
  • 1997– Frank R. Lewis called as pastor.
  • 1998 – Three tornadoes sweep across Nashville, along a 42-mile path, causing one fatality and over $100 million in property damage.
  • 2000 – Billy Graham Crusade comes to Nashville.
  • 2001 – Steeple tower renovated. Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York and Washington D.C., prayer service held.
  • 2003 – The Next Door formed from a group of “Wild Praying Women” at FBCN.
  • 2003– “Door to the Future” Campaign developed to fund community ministry efforts and build new back entrance.
  • 2005 – SBC Annual Meeting held in Nashville; FBCN participates in Crossover Nashville activities.
  • 2006 – Building Bridges Campaign started to reach community.
  • 2012 – Recreation center destroyed in fire; surface area parking lot created.
  • 2013 – Music City Center complex opens.
  • 2016 – FBCN sells 1.3 acres of property at 7th and Demonbreun for $20 million, which equates to roughly $353 a square foot. Missions Partnership with Tusculum Hills started.
  • 2017 – Fellowship on Broadway Service begins.
  • 2019 – FBCN begins construction on new 80,000-square-foot facility that includes a coffee shop and entrance that will open to Broadway.
  • 2020 – 200th Anniversary Year. COVID-19 pandemic begins, requiring church to meet via-live stream.
Nashville First’s 200th Birthday Mon, 20 Jul 2020 22:16:03 +0000 In 1820, James Monroe was re-elected President of the United States, Mt. Rainer erupted near what is now Seattle, and the Missouri Compromise was signed into law. That same year, The Baptist Church of Nashville (later called First Baptist Nashville) was organized. Thirty-five members of Mill Creek Baptist Church presented letters of dismission to form the new church in the Davidson County Courthouse on July 22, 1820.

To commemorate our 200th Birthday Nashville First held a brief prayer ceremony at the Nashville City Cemetery on July 22, 2020 at 7 a.m. The service was led by Pastor Frank and Bill McKee from our history committee. You can watch the event below.

Later tonight, members are encouraged to come join us along Broadway for a brief prayer service under our Bell Tower at 6 p.m. Parking will be available in Lot C, then people can walk around the building to the front gates to the patio under the Bell Tower. This will be an outside event and entrance to the building will be limited. It will also be broadcast online for those who cannot attend in person.

A much larger celebration to mark our 200th Birthday will be held in the Spring of 2021 where the entire church can participate. Nashville First Baptist Church has been a caring community of faith with a heart for the people who live, work, and enjoy downtown for 200 years, here’s to 200 more years of ministry!

The Overcoming Church: Rebuilt and Preserved, Lost and Found Fri, 10 Jul 2020 15:06:22 +0000

Construction site in 1969 when old sanctuary was removed and only the tower remained.

The third building of the First Baptist Church of Nashville, dedicated in 1886 at Seventh and Broad, had become inadequate to hold the congregation that had grown so much under the 34-year leadership of Pastor W. F. Powell. The sanctuary had undergone repeated renovations, including the addition of a balcony and still could not contain the congregation. When H. Franklin Paschall arrived to be pastor in 1956, he was told by the leadership that the church should erect a new and enlarged sanctuary. As the church approached such a bold change, the dilemma was faced: shall we expand the old or replace it? Paschall presented the compromise of replacing the sanctuary while preserving the tower. In 1967, the congregation voted, with only five dissents, to replace the beautiful old sanctuary, while preserving the original tower on its northwest corner. From 1967 -1970, the congregation walked across the street to Hume-Fogg High School for worship while the new (present) sanctuary and adjoining building was constructed. In May 1970, the church spent a week of various gatherings to celebrate its sesquicentennial as well as its dedication of the new sanctuary. On Sesquicentennial Night of that week, evangelist Billy Graham preached from the new (present) pulpit. This service was televised on WSM-TV.

R. B. C. Howell (1857-1867)

After the old sanctuary had been completely removed, leaving only the 1886 tower, the congregation was horrified to discover the 1884 cornerstone, with its sealed box of memento documents, had disappeared. Its documents would be crucial to the celebration of our church’s sesquicentennial in 1970. Interestingly, in 1969, Walter K. Hoover, a Smyrna funeral director, who was a known collector of antique documents and a lay church historian, was approached by a man wanting to sell him some old documents he had found in a dump. Hoover noticed these items referenced the First Baptist Church and all predated 1884. He bought them and called the religious columnist at the Nashville Banner newspaper, who then called First Baptist. Most of these marvelous materials now reside in our church archives. Among them are carte de visité photographic portraits (2½”x4″) of
pastors Samuel F. Baker (1850-1853), Thomas E. Skinner (1867-1870), Tiberius G. Jones (1871-1883), C. H. Strickland (1883-1889), and one inventoried as R. B. C. Howell (1857-1867), shown here. These papers came to light just as Lynn E. May, Jr. was finishing his epic The First Baptist Church of Nashville, 1820-1970. Was this coincidence or providential?  The whereabouts of the 1884 cornerstone itself remains a mystery.

Old pulpit from First Baptist Nashville

Here is another lost-and-found story. When the Baptist Church of Nashville became the Spring Street Christian Church in 1828 and the five dissenters who left it and started over as the First Baptist Church of Nashville, the pulpit, along with the building was lost to the majority they left behind. When the Spring Street Christian Church relocated and became the Vine Street Christian Church, there is no record of the old pulpit surviving the move. In fact, for decades its whereabouts still remains a mystery. In 1925, the Central Church of Christ on Fifth Avenue North, was founded. Some years later, according to its church historian McGarvey Ice, the old pulpit was discovered in the shed of a woman who had become a member. The church cleaned and refinished it, and now the old Baptist pulpit is the sanctuary pulpit of Central Church of Christ, just over two blocks from our own sanctuary.


Submitted by Dick Waggener

Tom Crow Receives the 2020 TCN’s Church Management Hall of Fame Award Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:24:32 +0000

The Church Network (TCN) is an inter-denominational professional association of churches and individuals which exists to connect, develop, and strengthen church leaders in administration. Individuals who have contributed significantly to the profession of church business administration may be chosen for induction into the Church Management Hall of Fame at the annual TCN national conference. The Church Business Administrator Hall of Fame category is awarded to a former or retired church business administrator who has had an illustrious church management career and exhibited outstanding leadership within TCN.

Tom Crow retired in late 2019 following a forty-year ministry in church leadership pastoral roles in four churches: Sandia Baptist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas; First Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and; Nashville First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Crow also served three years in the U.S. Army in the Chaplains Office, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Nashville First Baptist Church Nashville was Tom’s church post as Executive Pastor, 2006–2019. FBC is recognized for having two members of the Church Network‘s Church Management Hall of Fame, Tom Crow (2020) and Bill Temple (2003).

Tom and Jackie are moving to Colorado, where he will continue assisting churches and pastors through Crow Consulting & Coaching, and enjoy being near their children and grandchildren.

To view all this year’s Church Network Award recipients click here.  


Hymn Sing Fri, 03 Jul 2020 15:09:22 +0000
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
7:00 p.m.

​​Join Joe Fitzpatrick and Ken Varner for an evening of fun and inspiration as we sing together your favorite hymns. We will be coming to you live from the Sanctuary platform with Ken at the piano and Joe leading our gathering.

The Hymn Sing will be made available via a Zoom link. You will be asked to share which hymns you would like for us to sing, why it is your favorite hymn, and a scriptural basis from which the hymn was perhaps derived. Invite your friends and family to join along. We trust this will be an encouraging and enriching experience as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in fellowship together, all to the glory of God.


Meeting ID: 920 3807 8582

Password: 528886

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Hymn Festival Videos Sat, 30 May 2020 15:53:54 +0000

In April we asked church members to share their favorite hymns and spiritual songs to include in our Hymn Festival. We want to celebrate God’s grace through the singing of timeless hymns and expressions of the Christian faith all to the glory of God.

Our Hymn Festival will come out three different installments meant to refresh your soul and rekindle your spirit as we worship together online.

May 29, 2020

June 16, 2020

June 26, 2020

We hope or Hymn Festival has been a blessing to you. We’d like to give a special word of thanks to all the talented singers, musicians, and tech crew who helped to make this event possible.






Classof2020-College Fri, 29 May 2020 15:35:24 +0000

Nashville First celebrates the accomplishments of these outstanding graduates. 


Samuel Bowker
Doctor of Pharmacy
University of Tennessee | May 2020

Alex Bryson
Bachelor of Science in Audio/Video Production
Belmont University | December 2019

Emmaline Dean
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management
University of Central Florida | May 2020

Kaylee Dixon
Bachelor of Science-in Digital Media Studies/Studio Production
Lee University | May 2020

Mitchell Dunn
Master of Accountancy
Auburn University | May 2020

Kelly Moreland-Jones
Master of Divinity
Central Baptist Theological Seminary | May 2020

Valerie Michel
Master of Library and Informational Science
Middle Tennessee State University | May 2020

Lilly Roberson
Bachelor of Science in Political Science
with Focus in Public Policy and Non-Profit Management
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga | May 2020

Caroline Scudder
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
Furman University | May 2020

Carter Tune
Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
Northeastern University | May 2020

Valerie Williams
Master of Music in Music Therapy
Florida State University | May 2020

Are You at a Higher Risk? Fri, 01 May 2020 15:51:28 +0000 by Dr. Doug Johnson, member of our Re-Opening Task Force

As you may know, Mayor Cooper has extended Nashville’s “safer-at-home” order until May 8. However, many surrounding areas are beginning to open up, leaving some to wonder is it safe for me to venture out more? In order to protect yourself and your family, it is good to know who may be at a higher risk.

You may be at high risk for complications from coronavirus infection if you are:

  • Over 65 years of age
  • Live in a long-term care facility or nursing home
  • Have any of the following medical problems, particularly if they are not well controlled:
    • Serious heart conditions, including high blood pressure
    • Lung problems, including asthma, emphysema, or COPD
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney problems (chronic kidney disease)
    • Liver disease
    • Compromised immune system (for example, people getting cancer treatment, people with organ transplant, people with HIV/AIDS, people with long-term use of steroids or other medicine that suppresses the immune system)

It is also important to note that more than one of these risk factors add up. For example, someone who is 85 years old with severe heart and lung disease is at much higher risk than someone who is 65 and has high blood pressure that is well-controlled with medication.

For more information visit.