Mount Olive Baptist Church
Friday, February 27, 2015
In 1835, even before the Mount Olive Baptist Church was organized as it is today, Aaron Gideon "for and in consideration of love and goodwill and respect which he hath and doth bear towards the inhabitants of his neighborhood and for the encouragement of having the gospel preached in his neighborhood," deeded a parcel of land to be used "for the meeting house lot." The plot of land where the present sanctuary is located was included in the parcel of land, and it extended across Maryville Highway and Maloney Road to a creek and a nearby spring.
The United Baptist Church of Christ at the Mount of Olives was formed by a presbytery from Stock Creek Baptist Church on May 20, 1837. The presbytery included Elder William Billue, a migrant preacher from Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and three other elders. The church was constituted with sixty-one God-led, Spirit-filled men and women. Records show that four of the first members were slaves belonging to the families of the church.
The first church building was constructed of logs and stood on a little rise near the location of the present sanctuary. The building had dirt floors, homemade benches, and a covered shed extended from one end of the building where services were held during warm weather. Church meetings were held in the log structure until 1872. Rev. William Billue was called to be the first pastor of the Mount of Olives Baptist Church and served faithfully from 1837-1849.
In 1838 the first delegates were sent to the Tennessee Baptist State Convention. By 1843, the membership had grown to 111 and to 124 by 1846. A choir was appointed that same year.
The church also helped in the organization of several other churches: Knoxville First Baptist in 1843 and South Knoxville Baptist Church in 1889.
The church continued to grow and by 1869 the membership had grown to 268. Due to the need of additional worship space, plans were made to build a new church building.
In 1918, the church had grown to 323 members and was now having services on the first Sunday evening in each month. A revival was held in October of 1920, and there were 43 professions of faith and 39 baptisms. In 1921, electric lights were installed in the church. An addition to the church for Sunday School rooms was begun November of 1923. The first service was held in the new building in July of 1924.
On September 2, 1934, there were 775 present in church. This was the largest number the church had ever had in Sunday School to this time.
A day that many members of Mount Olive Baptist Church will long remember was Sunday, January 28, 1940. It was the coldest day in years - 8 degrees below zero, with 8 inches of snow on the ground. About 100 people had gathered for the church service, and at the close of the Sunday School, the church building caught fire and was completely destroyed. Many members stood in the church yard and watched with deep sadness as the sanctuary, where so many had faithfully worshiped, went up in smoke, along with the rest of the building. Although this building was a great loss, there was a bonding of real faith, hope and love. The church had only $10,000 in insurance coverage, but the loss was over $30,000. Mount Olive Elementary School permitted the church to hold services in the school auditorium until the church building was rebuilt. The cornerstone for the new building was laid on Saturday, August 3, 1940, and the first service in the new building was January 18, 1941.
Over the years, there was continued growth in the church. The Sunday School enrollment increased to 650; Training Union enrollment increased to 202; offerings were substantial, and decisions were being made for the Lord.
In February of 1968, the church voted to build a new sanctuary, which would include additional educational space. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on November 3, 1968. The dedication for the new sanctuary was held on November 6, 1969.
As part of an "outreach program," beginning in 1971, the church services were broadcast over radio on station WSKT. In December of 1974, ground work began for a much-needed bus ministry.
Because of a need in the church and community, the Child Development Center was formed in August of 1986. This program was to be an extension of God's love by offering a much needed service and ministry to the young families of the church and community.
As the 21st Century began, Mount Olive continued its vision of being "A Place Where Hope Grows" by beginning ministries which met the needs of a new generation.
Satellite Sunday Schools were started at nearby Montgomery Village and Williamsburg Villas. Beginning in the spring of 2005, several members partnered with Mount Olive Elementary School to form a mentoring program with the students.
During 2004-2005, an extensive renovation / refurbishing / expansion of the entire church was undertaken. Every part of the church received some form of renewal or replacement: new applicances in the kitchen, upgraded electrical system to meet fire code, carpeted meeting area for teenagers, and redecorated sanctuary. The members were especially pleased with their new elevator and drive-through canopy with a covered walkway.
History continues to be written at Mount Olive, and the future looks good as the church builds on its solid past.
PASTORS OF MOUNT OLIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
Listed are Christian principles and specific points of doctrine in which the members of Mount Olive Baptist Church adhere.