Second Baptist Church officially came into being on July 22, 1962, when seventy-six persons meeting at the Claridge Hotel voted to organize as a church. One week later, on July 29, 1962, the name Second Baptist Church was adopted.
Regular services as Second Baptist Church were begun on August 5, 1962, with approximately 200 persons indicating a desire for membership. A decision was made to keep the charter membership roll until October 14, 1962.
Second Baptist Church thus was born out of the convictions of a dedicated group of Christians that they could best channel their service and gifts through a new church.
The Constituting Service was an important event in the church’s early history. On December 16, 1962, Second Baptist officially became a church and a part of the Shelby Baptist Association.
In March, 1963, the church held its first revival. The evangelist was Rev. Brooks Ramsey, pastor of First Baptist Church of Albany, GA. The Pulpit Committee later presented his name to the church for election as first pastor. Rev. Ramsey preached his first sermon as pastor on June 9, 1963 to an estimated congregation of 750.
On August 21, 1963, the church approved a recommendation to purchase the Herff Home on a six-acre tract at 4680 Walnut Grove Road in East Memphis for the church’s new home. The property, the church announced, would be the location for an educational building and temporary sanctuary “to meet the need for a dynamic Baptist Church in the eastern section of the city.”
An exhilarated congregation moved into their new facilities on September 12, 1965 – only three years after being founded. In a newspaper interview about the opening of the new building, Rev. Ramsey said he envisioned that the church would try to “meet the needs of the whole person.” His dream, he said, was that the facility would be more than a center for the routine needs of religion and family life but would also meet a multitude of community needs.
Second Baptist Church continues to live into its founding vision of being a community of faith engaged with its community; ministering to the whole person and bearing witness to Christ.