The West Seventh Street Church of Christ has a rich heritage of faithful, loving service to a growing community. The roots of this congregation can be traced back through many generations of dedicated Christian men, women, and families. Historical records indicate that as early as 1815, there were faithful gospel preachers in the Maury County area. Among these men were William Clark (1815), a brother Nichol (1822), Ephriam Osborne, and Joshua Speer.
In 1831, Alexander Campbell conducted a gospel meeting in Columbia and Maury County historians credit his efforts as the beginning of the church of Christ in Columbia. In 1848, a small group of Christians desiring to practice simple New Testament Christianity established a small brick building on the corner of South Main and 9th Streets. This group of Christians thrived and by 1878, it became apparent that a larger meeting place was needed. The church purchased a lot on High Street between 7th and 8th Streets, and by 1882, moved into the new brick building at this location. The church grew to a membership of approximately 250 by the turn of the century. Some of the preachers for the church on High Street were W. H. Timmons, George Reynolds, Clayton McQuiddy, William Fleming, Elven Meachum, Paul Slayden, George Klingman, Natt Jones, W. T Boaz, G.C. Brewer and L. S. White.
Perhaps the most notable accomplishment by the High Street congregation was the establishment of the Tennessee Orphan home. In 1909, John W. Fry suggested the idea at a prayer meeting when a mother’s death at age 44 left three children homeless. Fry, along with Mr. and Mrs. John W. Jackson, Oscar Dortch, W.T. Boaz and W.C. Salmon. led the effort and the following year erected a four story, 42 room facility on the corner of West Eighth and Beckett Streets.
Due to sustained growth in number and spirit, the congregation realized a need for additional meeting space and on November 29, 1925, the congregation moved into the present location on West Seventh Street with an auditorium capacity of over 500. (The High Street building now serves as the Polk Presidential Hall as it sits adjacent to the James K. Polk home and museum.) In March of 1964, a two story 5,000 sq. ft. addition was constructed for classroom space. With more growth, another construction project was completed in 1993 which provided an additional 4,500 sq. ft. for classrooms, fellowship hall and office space. With continued growth and need for classroom and fellowship space, a 15,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose building was constructed in 2005. Recently, the former fellowship hall was transformed into a new Teen Center. This also made room to expand our children’s ministry and completely overhaul our children’s education space, FAITH FARM. The Lord has blessed the church with a united membership that understands and supports the expansion and outreach use of our facility.
Preachers who have served since 1925 include Ben Harding (1925-1941), Leon Burns (1941-1958), Warder Novak (1958-1962), Robert Brooks (1963-1964), David D. Davidson (1965-1976), William Wilder (1976-1985), Glenn Randolph (1985-1988), Ted Burleson (1988-2004), and Randy Owens (2005-current).
While this congregation has a rich history, we are ever mindful of the need to continue to "press toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14).