Church History

The Founding of the Church

The first pastor of West Maryville Baptist Church was called by unanimous vote on Sunday, March 18, 1945. The pulpit committee submitted their recommendation to the Church “that Brother Paul A Reneau be called to pastor the Church for an indefinite period of time.” On this day of action in the life of the Church, seven members were received as candidates for baptism.

Following the very successful work of Rev. Reneau, the Church extended, in September 1950, a call to Rev. George B. Masters. In 1952, the Church called as pastor the greatly beloved and long-time pastor of First Baptist Maryville, Dr. P. B. Baldridge.

In October 1953, the Church issued a recall to service to Rev. George B. Masters. Rev. Masters led the Church to found a local mission before his resignation in October 1955.

The Church was then without a pastor until June 1956, when the church voted to call Rev. Joe L. Orr of Robinsville, N.C. Rev. Orr served the Church faithfully and saw the Church Mission through to a co-operating Southern Baptist Church.

Rev. Orr resigned the Church in February 1961 and in July 1961 the Church issued a call to Rev. David E. Gregg. In July 1968, Rev. Gregg resigned, and the Church was without a pastor until January 1969. The Church issued a call to Rev. Glenn Brooks, who was the pastor until April 1969.

The Church was then without a pastor until October 1969, when the Church issued a call to Rev. Joe Caldwell, who was the pastor until October 1975. The Church was then without a pastor until Rev. Troy Christopher was called January 1975. He was the pastor until November 1979.

The Church was then without a pastor until June 1980 when Elmer Sharp was called to be the pastor. He was the pastor until June 1987, when the Church was without a pastor until July 1978. Rev. Earl Taylor was called to be the pastor, and served until December1993.

Rev. Taylor resigned, and the Church called the Rev. James Dial as the interim pastor. He served from December 1993 through March 1994. Dr. Thomas McLemore became pastor of West Maryville Baptist Church on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994.Dr. Mclemore served until October 2005. The church then called Rev. Bill Dixon to be pastor in November 2005.


The Church Reaching Out

The church members, as in the Scriptures, had a mind to work. At a Business Meeting, the same night after the initial organization of the Church, the people appointed a Building Committee to secure a permanent place of worship.

By November 1944, the committee recommended “that an estimate be made for building a temporary building 20’ by 30’ to be used for a church and that the building committee make arrangements with the bank to borrow enough money to purchase the lot and material for this building.”  The place secured was 909 Morganton Road.

On December 24, 1944, the Church “held it’s first meeting in the temporary church building”. Also of great significance on this day in the life of the Church was the vote of the Church to fulfill their missionary task. The people voted to begin a definite money support to the local mission field as they voted twenty-six dollars a year to the Chilhowee Association.

In June 1945, the Church voted to “give $3.00 per month or $16.00 a year to the Cooperative Program.” The mission gifts of the Church have continued to increase as the Church has grown and been blessed by the Lord.

By this time the Church had taken on solid proportions and permanent foundations. A lot two hundred by three hundred feet on Morganton Road was purchased from Mead Warren for the sum of $1,250.00, and became the present site of the West Maryville Baptist Church.

Work progressed slowly because of a lack of funds and in July 1947, the work of the contractors was called to a halt “due to the lack of money.” More money was borrowed and the building was roofed.

On the third anniversary of the Church, the West Maryville Baptist Church moved into and held it’s first service in the permanent building on October 26, 1947.

In March 1955 the missionary outlook of the Church was again seen to be in the forefront of people’s minds as they voted to begin a mission in the Wallace-Harris Addition of Maryville. Rev. Glenn Grubb became the Mission Pastor and at the first service of the Mission there were “17 present and a collection of $3.61”.

The first services were held in the new Mission Building on Howard Jones Road on January 12, 1953, with 103 in attendance; with an offering of $89.85.The Mission reached maturity under the able leadership of Rev. Grubb in 1957, which is Unity Baptist Church.

The Church began with a strong leadership, a world outlook of evangelism, a full organization, and in accordance with the Lord’s command of a program of “teaching then to observe all things.”

On May 8, 1945, the Church elected three men and ordained as deacons of the Church, Baxter Whitehead, Frank E. Brown, and C. E. Hackworth.

The first baptismal service was held at First Baptist Maryville and was administered by Rev. C. D. Martin. Those being baptized were J. E. Kirkland, his wife and three daughters, Mr. And Mrs. Baxter Whitehead, and Mrs. Ethel Rider.

Realizing the importance of training, the Training Union was begun under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Proctor in 1945. Sunday School was held from the very start. Vacation Bible School was held in June 1945 under the direction of Una Armstrong and Ruby Williams. WMU work was begun in October 1948 with Mrs. Spence Maxwell as the first president. At first the WMU sponsored both the R.A.’s and G.A.’s work for the children, but in1953 Glenn Grubb became the first president of the Brotherhood and the men assumed the work of the R.A.’s.

In 1958, the WMU, realizing the untapped resources in books, began by will of the Church a Church Library under the direction of Mrs. Fred Yates.

The Church established a full program of music training in 1957 for the purpose of training the Junior and Senior Choirs.

On November 5, 1958, the Church, realizing that the leaders of tomorrow need training, and in order to share the responsibility of the Church, put into full effect the rotation plan of deacons that had been approved in 1952. The Church has always realized the value of Young People and always made a place in the program for them.

As a witness to the strong Youth Program and World Mission Program of the West Maryville Baptist Church, the following have gone into places of Christian Leadership:

Pastors:   Edward Briggs, Glenn Grubb, Bob Lynch, Mack Murphy, and Haskel Morris.

Song Leader:  Ted Wilson, the church has fostered other leaders in the home, the business world, and in the various churches by the score.

Missions: Harvey Phillips served in Singapore and mainland China as a witness for Jesus Christ and as a Research Scientist in the University system. It appears at the end of the year, Harvey and Linda and his two children will be returning to China. He, his wife, Linda, and their two children are currently living in California.