The year was 1965. It was in the later months of the year. A young man named Ralph Benfield, and his young wife, Bryte, were led by the Holy Spirit to a small town in East Tennessee. This small town, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, in Hamblen County, was Morristown. The population of Hamblen County in the ‘60’s was 25,000 to 33,000.
It was to this beautiful area of the southeast that ‘Bro. Ralph’ was led.
. On April 24, 1966, the group was able to officially organize as Morristown Baptist Tabernacle. There were nine (9) charter members, including Bro. Benfield as pastor, and his wife, Bryte.
The old store front building, measuring 19’ x 39’, including a dirt basement, had been converted to 3 classrooms in addition to the ‘a Souls were being saved. Bus routes were being established. Converts were being strengthened in their faith. As the new Christians grew in their faith, so did the church.
Souls were being saved. Bus routes were being established. Converts were being strengthened in their faith. As the new Christians grew in their faith, so did the church.
God continued to bless. By the time of June, 1968, the first service was held on the new 3 acres God had allowed the group to purchase. A building had been constructed that was 72’ x 42’. The building was able to seat “…over 300, with ten classrooms and a pastor’s study that seemed enormous…”
The bus ministry had also expanded (or exploded) during these years. From the one old bus and just a few riders in 1966, by 1972, there were four buses, averaging 181 riders weekly.
For many years we had an active Children’s Church ministry. Each week the children met for Sunday Morning service.