The Historyof Franklin Road Baptist Church
On Sunday, July 18, 1954, a group of Christians met in the old, abandoned, one-room schoolhouse known as Kingwood School on Kingwood Lane for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church on the west side of Murfreesboro. Brother Ken Chapman, a friend of church member Bill Rice, became the first pastor.
After meeting there for about a year, the county sold the schoolhouse. For the next year, the church met in the original farmhouse at the Bill Rice Ranch. Desiring to move closer to town, the small congregation decided to purchase two acres on Franklin Road, thus becoming the Franklin Road Baptist Church. The original concrete block building was completed in 1955, and is part of the present primary building.
Starting a new church was an incredible struggle, and many wanted to quit. The resolve of one 85-year-old, wheelchair-bound, founding member, Mrs. R.C. Nutting, pressed them to go on. “No, no, we don’t want to quit! I believe the Lord has something big for Franklin Road Baptist Church.”
In 1960, the church auditorium was built twenty-five feet from the original building. A bus ministry soon began in 1963. Our first bus, “The Old Blue Goose,” was donated by Dr. Bill Rice. Brother H.H. Yearwood fixed it up and became the first bus captain/director. In 1964, the two buildings were joined and restrooms, nursery, and baptistry were added. The Lord blessed with increased attendance, and soon the church had outgrown their building.
In the summer of 1967, an additional five acres of adjacent land was purchased (where the school building currently sits), and plans were made to build a 500-seat auditorium. That October, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new brick building.
In 1969, Dr. Bob Kelley was called to be the pastor. With an active soul-winning ministry, bus ministry, and missions program, the church began to grow substantially. On Halloween night in 1970, there was a church fire. Arrangements were then made for the church to meet at the Sword of the Lord building. During those thirty days, families still continued to join the ministry. Meanwhile, a small metal building (which is the current bus barn) was erected on the property. Services were held there while the church building was being repaired from the fire damage.
The new church building was completed in 1972, and church attendance grew from 230 in Sunday school to 600. It was during this time that Bro. Kelley and church leaders decided to pursue having a Christian school. Bro. Kelley soon felt led to go into full-time evangelism. Still, funds were raised and plans were made for a Christian school. In 1974, under the pastorate of C.D. Robinson, Franklin Road Christian School and Bible Institute opened their doors with 125 students.
On Christmas Day in 1975, the church building was completely destroyed by fire. Church services were then held in the school gymnasium. Amid plans to rebuild the church building, Pastor Robinson resigned the pastorate. After seeking the advice of other pastors, and after much prayer, the deacons asked Bro. Bob Kelley if he would be willing to again pastor FRBC. After prayerful consideration, Bro. Kelley accepted. During the next several years, Franklin Road saw much growth and increase. Though the church was growing above and beyond it’s wildest imaginations, Bro. Kelley’s health was beginning to fail. He resigned in 1991, and the church called Dr. Tom Wallace to be the pastor. In 1995, a 14,000 sq. foot education building was added onto to the existing church auditorium.
On January 1, 1999, the church called Dr. Mike Norris to serve as pastor. Under the direction of Dr. Norris, the church has grown to its largest point in history in both attendance as well as property. In early 2009, the church finished construction on its newest building project. This new building houses state-of-the-art nurseries, a beautiful lobby, a bookstore, and a coffee shop, as well as the high school of Franklin Road Christian School. Pastor Norris has a Bible-based vision for Franklin Road Baptist Church. He continually encourages members to win souls through the weekly soul-winning program, as well as the worldwide missions program and Bible-printing ministry. Franklin Road truly desires to globally impact the world for Christ.