The First Baptist Church of Greeneville had its beginning in the early 1870's when one E.W. Headrick came to Greeneville. Mr. Headrick and his wife, being staunch Baptists, missed the fellowship with others of like faith and resolved to aid in the institution of a Baptist church in Greeneville. In 1871, Mr. Headrick purchased a lot on Summer Street, and the construction of the new church was begun. The church itself was organized on July 30, 1872, and accepted into the Holston Association in August of the same year with a congregation of about eight members. First Baptist Church is a mission minded church and the parent church of several local congregations. Two of these are as follows:
- SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH - The first services were held on July 5, 1891 and it was constituted as Second Baptist Church on August 5, 1891. In January 1980, the church moved to a new location and was renamed Towering Oaks Baptist Church in 1980.
- CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH - The first services were held in a tent on July 18, 1948
During the administration of Rev. J.O. Carter, the first unit of the present building at 211 North Main Street was constructed and the first services in the new building were held on December 12, 1948. Under the leadership of Rev. William McLean Grogan, the Church was led by the Lord to complete the beautiful new auditorium already begun and, on May 25, 1952, the congregation met for the last regular service in the basement. Rev. Jim Lindsay came as pastor in 1956. This was an exciting time of mission starts by First Baptist Church.
- SUSONG MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH - In 1958, a team from the church began services at Susong Memorial, a former mission that was constituted as a church but later disbanded.
- TUSCULUM CHAPEL - The first services were held on July 19, 1959. On October 3, 1965, Tusculum Chapel was constituted as Tusculum Baptist Church with a membership of 146.
- GREENE HILLS - In November, 1967, the first services of Hartshaw Mission were held and in January, 1969, the mission requested permission to change its name to Greene Hills Chapel. In November, 1974, Greene Hills Chapel was constituted as Greene Hills Baptist Church.
On June 8, 1966, a proposal was presented to the church for the erection of an education unit which would provide 11,000 square feet of additional space. May 19, 1968, was dedication day for the new educational building and special building fund day. On February 10, 1971, the church voted to complete the kitchen and fellowship hall in the new educational building. The year 1972 was the Centennial year for the First Baptist Church of Greeneville. Rev. James W. Best accepted a call as Pastor in October, 1974. Under his leadership the church has purchased nine parcels of property.
Dr. Hollis Marshall was hired as Minister of Education and Administration in August 1984.
On May 8, 1996 the church voted to begin a multi-phase building program that will enable the church to achieve its vision statement: "Provide sufficient facilities to reach, teach, win and develop a 1,500 member fellowship for Christ, with provisions for future growth by the year 2005."
Groundbreaking was held on April 16, 1997 to coincide with celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the church. Rev. Best retired September 27, 1998 having served faithfully for 24 years. The Christian Activities Center was dedicated the following weekend on October 4, 1998. Dr. David Green accepted the call as pastor in June 1999.
In March of 2002, Phase II of the building program was completed. This phase included new offices, library, parlor, prayer room, additional adult Sunday school classes and the renovation of the Preschool. Joey Tillery came as Director of Youth and Christian Activities September 1, 2003. Dianne Woody returned from retirement to her previous position of Preschool/Children's Director in January 2005. Groundbreaking for Phase 3, the Sanctuary, was held November 21, 2004.
Dr. Marshall retired in February of 2005 after 20 years of faithful service to First Baptist. On March 1, 2006, Rev. Tillery accepted the call to replace Dr. Marshall as Minister of Education and Administration. On May 14, 2006, construction of the New Sanctuary was completed. In 2009, Rev. Ford came on board as the Minister of Students. During the beginning of 2012 Aaron Franklin answered a call to become First Baptist Church's Minister of Music and Senior Adults.
Throughout all of these eventful moments, First Baptist Church has continued to minister to the needs of individuals as we fulfill God's mission for this church.