Church of the Messiah began as a mission of First Baptist Church of Nashville, TN on October 7, 1959. First Baptist church purchased the building of Seventh Baptist Church on 23 Carroll Street and in December began services under the name of Carroll Street Chapel. The Chapel began with about 100 white members. Carroll Street Chapel gained its first African American member in 1968. Dr. Albert Wardin, Jr. was instrumental in starting an integrated ministry by recruiting Lester D. Stone to serve as Co-Pastor with himself on an interim basis from 1971 to 1972. It was during this period of time the white membership started slowly decreasing and the African American membership began increasing.
The Chapel remained under the leadership of First Baptist and in 1972; Dr. William Blackwell was appointed Minister. Dr, Blackwell relinquished his position in 1974, causing the chapel to be without full-time leadership for the first time. First Baptist no longer saw the necessity to budget the chapel on a full-time allocation for programming. Ira Peak severed for a brief time as interim Pastor in 1974. In 1975, Dr. Paul Moore was appointed to serve as a part-time Pastor on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 am only. Dr. Moore served in this capacity from 1975 to 1984. During this time Carroll Street Chapel’s physical structure had to be torn down due to interstate construction. On January 19, 1977, the congregation relocated to a rented house at 53 Lindsey Street. The house was without central heat or air, fans and space heaters were used in the four-room house, Nevertheless, the membership grew to standing room only. In 1983, First Baptist and the Nashville Baptist Association raised money to purchase a former post office building at 88 Lafayette Street for the Chapel to worship in. On November 20, 1983, the congregation moved into its present building, one block from the original site known as Seventh Baptist Church, 1883 Wharf Avenue(Charles Davis Blvd.) and Murrell Street.
The Chapel had a desperate need to change its image and separate from the old. By this time the congregation was about 85% African American. The Chapel decided to change its name to “Messiah Baptist Church.” Dr. Moore resigned his position and for the first time the membership participated in the election of the first African American Pastor, Eric Knowles from Nassau, Bahamas. Pastor Knowles was appointed in 1984 and served until 1991. Under his leadership, a constitution was developed, a church council was established and officers were elected. Pews were purchased solely from the efforts of the membership and the establishment of a full-time position, the leadership managed to develop an outreach ministry which consisted of services to: two nursing homes, feeding the homeless, services at the Men’s mission, a prison ministry, and a radio ministry. Marvin Olige followed Knowles as Pastor from 1991 to 1992. During Olige’s leadership, First Baptist Church purchased the land next door to extend the parking lot. In 1992 Avery Blakeney was appointed Pastor and served until May, 1997. From 1992 to 1996 the church membership averaged 50 to 60 members in attendance. In early 1997, the church faced some problems…membership dwindled to about five and services were suspended. While others walked away and had given up on the church, two or three began to meet in their homes to pray that God would keep the doors of the church open. God answered their prayers.
The resurrection began with a meeting called by First Baptist Church to invite disenchanted members back and to announce that preaching services would resume in the middle of June, 1997. Two Ministers from Priest Lake Community Baptist Church were sent to reestablish services. The ministers were Joshua Lee and Bryan Williams, Sr. Priest Lake also sent Deacons to Messiah Baptist Church to help support services. In November, 1997, the congregation met to vote and unanimously agreed to offer the Pastorate to Bryan Williams, Sr. Pastor Williams was installed in January, 1998 and at that time the membership at Messiah Baptist Church began to increase and grew to over 150 people. The Lord then led two ordained Deacons to unite and help in the ministry and God blessed us with six Ministers on staff. In July 1999, the church ordained its first Deacon and Deaconess in its forty-year history. The Lord has continued to bless the choir (which now includes praise and worship team, three musicians, directress and a praise and worship leader) and they are growing spiritually and in number. The usher ministry has reached a record high of 15 and continues to grow. Wednesday night Bible Study began to grow and now exceeds 90 in weekly attendance. Auxiliaries began to see substantial growth within their ministries. On October 10, 1999, Messiah Baptist Church celebrated the birthing from a “Mission” status to a “Full Church” status. God blessed the church to purchase the property next door which provided the necessity to house the continued growth of the ministry, including a: ministerial team of six ordained Elders, and nine ministers in training, nine ordained Deacons and Deaconesses. We have now torn down the building to enlarge our parking space and enlarge our territory.
In 2002, the church name was changed from “Messiah Baptist Church” to “Church Of The Messiah”. We now have two Sunday worship services at 8:00 am and 11:00 am, a healing and deliverance service, a growing nursery, children’s church service for children to learn and grow in a child-friendly environment, a nursing home ministry, Kidzone/No pressure zone ministry (for our children/youth), Good News Club (tutorial program), neighborhood bible study, Hour of power prayer services, (Monday-Friday) Wednesday afternoon and evening bible study, a Men/ Women’s ministry and a Ladies first ministry for our young ladies ages 12-17.
Lord is continually blessing and leading this congregation!