First Baptist Church (which dates back to 1843) has a new preacher

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This is a picture of First Baptist Church in the 1960's

First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro has a long positive history in our community that dates back to 1843. WGNS has learned that more history is being recorded this weekend.  

First Baptist Church has declared this Sunday, March 10th, “Celebration Sunday” in honor of its new pastor, Dr. Noel Schoonmaker.  Located at 200 East Main Street in Murfreesboro, the church has altered its usual schedule to accommodate the day’s activities.  Bible study will take place at 9:30, followed by a 10:45 combined worship service for Dr. Schoonmaker’s first Sunday with the church.

“First Baptist Church has an illustrious history and a promising future. I am thrilled to join this wonderful congregation in Christian worship and service,” Dr. Schoonmaker said. 


The post is a homecoming of sorts for the new pastor and his family; they attended First Baptist Church several years ago while Schoonmaker completed his doctoral work at Vanderbilt.  Dr. Schoonmaker most recently served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Valdese, North Carolina.  He and his wife Dayna have two daughters, Maggie and Nora.

According to pastor search committee chair David Bragg, the congregation is enthusiastic about its new leader.  "The committee reviewed over 300 applications. At every decision point, Dr. Schoonmaker was at the top of those chosen to move to the next step.  We have been overwhelmed by the sense of excitement and anticipation in the church since Dr. Schoonmaker accepted the church’s call," he said.


FBC Minister of Christian Formation Phil Potratz said, “I believe that Dr. Schoonmaker is a perfect fit both for First Baptist Church and for the community of Murfreesboro. He has a proven track record of leading the church to grow stronger and to reach out to the community around it in positive ways. He is a very passionate person and will bring fresh ideas and vision that I think will build well on the already strong foundation that this church has. First Baptist Church is a historic downtown church which is steeped in tradition, but calling a pastor in his thirties sends a clear signal that we want to be a church that is postured toward the future. I am excited to have a pastor with Dr. Schoonmaker’s visionary leadership and spiritual passion coming to lead our church.”

The historic church states as its vision “To create a community of faith in Jesus Christ in the heart of Murfreesboro”  and declares its mission statement as ”We strive to build an authentic community of diverse individuals by serving Jesus Christ, providing relevant Bible study and worship, and engaging in hands-on ministry.”  First Baptist Church welcomes all visitors; for more information, visit or call (615) 893-2514.  


Amelia King Bozeman, Stiletto Strategy Public

First Baptist Church website

WGNS History Photos

Rutherford County History on WGNS Pinterest

Read more from:
First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro history, Murfreesboro news, Noel Schoonmaker
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