Founded in frontier Memphis in 1839, First Baptist soon constructed a building a few blocks from the Mississippi River.
It continued to grow in membership and influence, but would soon face its first test as Civil War split the American people. The church’s building served as a hospital for the Union Army and was badly damaged. The members began to rebuild, despite a series of Yellow Fever epidemics and the challenges of Reconstruction.
In 1994, members organized Trinity Baptist Church in the suburb of Cordova, and First Baptist began another era of rebuilding. In 2000, the church constructed a new Welcome Center, Parlor, and Music Suite. The space for Preschool, Children, and Youth was completely renovated and enlarged.
Dr. David Breckenridge, pastor 2008-2018, and emphasized efforts to reach young adults, singles, and families. He spearheaded a drive to remodel the aging Family Life Center, and bring it back to usefulness as an outreach tool. In 2010, he led the church in a study on personal outreach, Unbinding the Gospel. The church remains determined to continue its great heritage of serving its great city, claiming the promise of God in Jeremiah 29:11. . . “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
On June 27, 2021, First Memphis called Rev. Dr. Kathryn Kimmel as the twenty-fourth and first female Senior Pastor.