Who We Are

First Baptist Memphis is a Midtown congregation that seeks to follow Christ by practicing hospitality, community, dialogue, and service.

A Different Way to Be Baptist

We are proud to be Baptist. It is a designation with a rich heritage of religious freedom. It was founded by those who knew that matters of faith were ultimately matters of personal conviction, that no one – family, minister, denomination, or government – could determine another’s faith. In recent times, however, many have come to associate “Baptist” with a variety of negative terms, positions, and practices, that do not reflect who we are at First Baptist Church.

When we say we are “A Different Way to be Baptist,” we are seeking to emphasize the following:

 

We strive to be grace oriented, not judgment focused. All are welcome… no exceptions.

We welcome diversity of thought and opinion; dialogue and debate. We believe in the priesthood of every believer.

We strive to cooperate with people of all faith traditions who seek to make our community and world a better place.

We value diversity at every level, including politics. We trust our members to come to their own political convictions. We cherish religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

We believe in heaven, but until then, we are to be fully engaged in making a real difference in this very real world.

Because of these convictions, our main affiliation is with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We encourage you to check out their website.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Statement on Racial Justice

June 4, 2020

We, the members of the CBF Governing Board, express our grief at the heinous killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. These three precious children of God are only the latest victims in a long line of unjust murders and lynchings at the hand of hate, bigotry, white supremacy and systemic racism, endemic in our society.

We add our voices to the millions, all over the world, outraged at the lack of swift justice.

As Christians, we ask forgiveness from God for the times when we have seen injustice and “passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31-32); when we have remained silent, when we have stayed complacent, when we have made up excuses for our indifference and prejudice. We ask forgiveness from God for the times when we preach the rhetoric of unity and love from the pulpit without doing the work. We ask forgiveness from God for the ways our lack of action has perpetuated unjust systems.

As CBF, we speak out of the deep conviction that the work of racial justice, anti-racism and the search for honest racial reconciliation are, most of all, acts of faithfulness. The prophet Micah told us long ago that the Lord requires that we “do justice.” (Micah 6:8) Paul reminded us that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, but now God has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us.” (II Corinthians 5:16-21) So we know that doing justice and pursuing reconciliation are central to the mission of God and, therefore, necessary to Christian faith.

As CBF, we call for deep systemic reforms in policing practices and the larger criminal justice system. We call on our political leaders to move swiftly and to respond to the outpouring of anger, grief and protest in ways that deescalate tension and violence.

To the Black members of our Fellowship community, we ask forgiveness for the many times our actions and response to racism have fallen short and made you feel unwelcome. We love you, we are grateful for your presence, and we stand in solidarity with you this day.

As CBF, we pledge to increase our efforts at diversifying our own leadership and to welcome more non-Anglo churches within the Fellowship.

We pledge to strengthen our partnership with organizations led by our Black siblings and to encourage our churches to do the same.

We pledge to encourage and equip our entire Fellowship, our congregations, their leaders and each of us individually to confront racism within their communities and advocate for change, including in public policy.

As CBF, we promise to support and encourage our congregations as they form faith in people of all ages such that the love, grace and power of the Triune God eradicates prejudice from our hearts.

Let justice come as rivers flow to cleanse the land of evil’s stain.
Let righteousness like waters fall, and wash away our tears of pain.
(Adam M.L. Tice)

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As Christ’s church, First Baptist Memphis is called to minister equally to all persons, extending to them the privileges afforded to any follower of Christ, including, but not limited to, baptism, membership, leadership, ordination, and marriage and will not discriminate based on race, gender, age, marital status, or sexual orientation.

—Resolution passed Jan. 10, 2016

Location

We are a Mid-town congregation for all of Memphis. We choose to be in Midtown. Midtown is a locus of energy and creativity that values the practices that define us. While we are based in Midtown, we seek to minister to all of Memphis with those that come from all parts of Memphis.

Hospitality

All are welcome, no exceptions. Because God does not turn any away, we welcome one and all. We value diversity in our membership and believe it enriches our journey and ministry.

Community

We not only welcome, we embrace. We strive to be a family of faith where all can belong. We live our lives in community. We care for one another. We laugh together, cry together, pray together, serve together.

Dialogue

We value the voice of every child of God and strive to hear the voice of God in one another. We talk to each other. We listen to each other. We dare to disagree. We learn from one another. We value conversation with other Christians and people of different faith traditions.

Service

What we do inside our walls prepares us to share God’s love across the street and around the world. We partner with local and international groups to meet human needs and bring about God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

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