Our History

Two men purposed together to begin a church in Tipton County, Tennessee on October 21, 1843.  These two servants of the Lord were named, Joshua Anderson and Gabril McGraw.  Two other men, mentioned as being the presbytery at the organization are, Robert Pulley and Martin Hodges.  The church’s name became Antioch Baptist Church.  No reference to the authorizing church could be found.  That does not mean that there was not a “mother church.”  It is to be noted, the rules of decorum of that church certainly indicate Baptistic practices.
  • Antioch Baptist Church later authorized the organization of Woodlawn Terrace Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Woodlawn Terrace Baptist Church authorized the organization of State Street Baptist Church, Selmer, Tennessee.
  • As follows, State Street Baptist Church authorized the organization of Grace Memorial Baptist Church, Bartlett, Tennessee.
On Sunday morning of March 15, 1970, Brother John Stevens received authority from State Street Baptist Church, Selmer, Tennessee, to preach and to organize churches.  Additionally, they voted to grant letters for eleven people for the purpose of organizing a New Testament Baptist Church.  On Sunday night of March 15, 1970 an organizational service was held.  Brother John Stevens was the moderator and Mrs. Shirley Oliver was appointed as temporary church clerk.  The new church was named Grace Baptist Church.  After the Articles of Faith were adopted and a short sermon was delivered, upon the authority of State Street Baptist Church, Grace Baptist Church was declared a church.  It was soon discovered that another church existed with the same name, so on May 10th the church’s name was changed to Grace Memorial Baptist Church.
Opportunity was given to receive members.  Thirteen believers were immediately accepted into the membership.  The next week fifteen more were added to the membership.  In the next two and a half months nineteen more brothers and sisters joined the church.
On April 19th Brother Wayne Cox accepted the call from the church and became the first pastor.
The initial search for church property produced a lot on Raleigh LaGrange Road.  Another lot was considered at the corner of Virgil and Sienno.  Neither of these properties were suitable for building a church building.  In September of 1970, the church voted to purchase the present property.  The first services were held at the present location on November 29, 1970.  The new sanctuary was dedicated and first used on July 21 and 22, 1973.  In August of 1997 the facilities began to receive a facelift via remodeling and a building addition.  The addition connected the original building to the sanctuary.  The structure was finished in January of 1998 with much of the finish work remaining.  The new addition was decorated in November of 1998.  Thus, officially marking the end of the building program.
During the first decade of the church four groups of believers sought for authority from Grace Memorial.  In each of these cases a resolution was passed granting authority for Brother Cox to baptize and to organize the candidates into a New Testament Baptist Church.  The groups requesting authority were:
  • Grace Missionary Baptist Mission of Tulsa, Oklahoma ~ November 3, 1971
  • Grace Baptist Church of Gladwin, Michigan ~ April 6, 1972
  • An “unnamed church” of Toledo, Ohio ~ July 19, 1974
  • Central Gardens Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee ~ March 6, 1977
There have been six pastors of the church: 
1. Brother Wayne Cox
2. Brother Herbert Wilson
3. Brother David O’Neal
4. Brother Peter Santisteban
5. Brother Larry Jones
6. Brother Doug Meadows
April 1970 to February 1980
February 1980 to August 1982
December 1982 to June 1989
December 1989 to June 1990
November 1990 to April 1994
April 1995 to Present