About FBC

First Baptist Church has worshipped and served in Jefferson City for over 181 years. Our members have a long history in this city, first as Mossy Creek Baptist Church and eventually as First Baptist Church. Many of our current and past members have poured their lives into this community, including Carson-Newman University. We feel God has blessed this congregation with a wonderful ministry staff and a beautiful community. As we seek to live out God’s calling in this place, we look forward to our future as a community of faith.

Our membership and all positions within our church are open to all persons regardless of race, social status, gender, and sexual identity. We strive to live up to our motto, “Breaking down barriers to proclaim the love of Christ.”

Our Story

Who We Are

Mission & Vision

Mission Statement

As a community shaped by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, we are called to worship God, share the Good News, foster spiritual growth and meet the needs of hurting people.

Vision Statement

We are a community of faith:

  • rooted in the historic Baptist tradition,
  • passionate about meaningful worship,
  • empowered by fervent prayer, and
  • engaged in evangelism of the whole person through word and action.

All we do springs from our passion to be servants of God who joyfully give their time, abilities, and money to facilitate authentic service.

Our Beliefs

Foremost, we are a Christian church, expressing our faith and salvation in the person and work of Jesus Christ. As such a congregation, our membership is open to all who profess faith in Christ regardless of race, social status, gender or sexual identity. We are also a Baptist congregation, expressing our Christianity through these historic Baptist principles:

Soul Freedom

We believe in the priesthood of all believers. We affirm the freedom and responsibility of every person to relate directly to God without the imposition of creed or the control of clergy or government.

Bible Freedom

We believe in the authority of Scripture. We believe the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, is central to the life of the individual and the church. We affirm the freedom and right of every Christian to interpret and apply scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Church Freedom

We believe in the autonomy of every local church. We believe Baptist churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whomever they perceive as gifted for ministry and to participate as they deem appropriate in the larger Body of Christ.

Religious Freedom

We believe in freedom of religion, freedom for religion, and freedom from religion. We support the separation of church and state.


Our church’s main mission partners are The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and The Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We regularly contribute to the work of The Baptist World Alliance and The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Church Covenant

As a member of First Baptist Church,

and in the presence of God,

I declare:

I will work diligently to grow in Christ-likeness, and encourage others to follow Christ.

I will worship God alongside my fellow members so long as health allows.

I will invest my time, resources, gifts, and skills in support of the church’s ministries.

I will pray daily for others, including all who call our church home.

I will be a positive witness in the community and within the church by my speech and conduct.

I will embrace humility, as together we seek God’s leadership.

I will value and guard our unity in the midst of our diversity.

I will practice Christ-like love within the church and in the larger community.

I will celebrate, grieve, and journey alongside my fellow members through all the stages of life.

I so covenant, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Our History

From our earliest days, our church has faced opportunities and challenges. The opportunity to unite two small churches gave birth to our church. Black Oak Church and Oakland Church united into the Mossy Creek Baptist Church in 1841. The opportunity to work with other Baptists came three years later when delegates were sent to the Baptist State Convention. Civil War battles in the area disrupted church meetings for several years. Decades following the War, the U.S. government paid reparations to the church to compensate for damages to church property caused by occupying Union soldiers. When the church recovered from that interruption it took advantage of the opportunity to become more involved in missions– local, state and foreign. The church was rooted in the community and Baptist life. When the town changed its name from Mossy Creek to Jefferson City in 1901, the church changed its name to First Baptist Church. Worship, and especially music, have been and remain a significant part of our church.

In 1909 a new sanctuary was built at the corner of Russell Street and King Street. An Educational building was added in 1937. In 1941, one hundred years after its beginning, the church had 1000 members. A new sanctuary was needed and was completed in October 1962.

Integration became an issue in 1964 when it was noted that the by-laws made it clear that Negroes were not welcome in the church. The by-laws were revised. More changes occurred when three women were elected deacons in 1975. In the 1970s and 1980s our church ministerial staff began to expand beyond pastor and music director. The Family Ministry Plan was developed by the deacons. In 1983 we completed our new educational building and moved our library from a closet to a new media center.

Soon after we finished our annual Hanging of the Greens service in 1985, our church sanctuary burned. We were between pastors and music directors so we had no pastoral leadership. Our lay leaders pitched in. The sanctuary was rebuilt somewhat smaller in 1987.

Because of division in the Southern Baptist Convention our church decided in 1991 to give our members the opportunity to affiliate with/contribute to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship if they wished. The 1990s was a time of affirming women. Lady Kate Catlett was elected as our first woman chair of the deacons. Arlene Cate and Joyce Funk were ordained as ministers.

It was also a time of effective ministry to women in need in the community. A group of women in our church established the King Street Ministry for this purpose. As we had done in the 80s with the Le Family from Vietnam, we supported the Mujkic family from Bosnia. To date we had our largest giving record in 1993.

In the last two decades the church has experienced the challenge of a slow decline in membership and attendance. Programs that reached out to the community like WOW (Wednesdays of Wonder) were doing well before the pandemic. But In 2017 after the church welcomed a woman as pastor, the Tennessee Baptist Convention refused to seat our members because we called a woman. The local Jefferson County Ministerial Association also withdrew fellowship with us. Because we ordain women as deacons and ministers and call them as pastors, we are the only Baptist church that we know of between Knoxville and Kingsport to do so, another challenge and opportunity.

Carson-Newman College was also an important part of the story of First Baptist. Ten years after Mossy Creek Baptist Church was formed in 1851, Carson College came into being. Since that time until 2017, all presidents and their wives, except the first one, have been members of our church, as have most administrators and many faculty members. The first year the college held classes (sessions) in the building of the church. In 1859 the commencement of the college was held at the church. The church and college cooperated as needed. The most frequent exchange was and continues to be the college renting the church auditorium for its chapel, music practices and commencement services.

Fires played a role in church-college cooperation. In 1974 Henderson Hall at Carson-Newman burned to the ground. As a building of administrative offices, professor offices, classrooms, theaters and college auditorium it was quite a loss. While that building was being reconstructed, many classes used the church building. During that period the church actually turned over the upkeep of the church to the college, except for areas used only by the church. Over a decade later when the church burned in 1985, the reverse occurred. The college auditorium was used for worship and classrooms for Bible Study groups. The Thomas Recital Hall in the music building was used for Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services.

As previously mentioned, in 2017 when First Baptist Church called a woman as pastor, the Tennessee Baptist Convention no longer allowed our church to be a member. The TBC who gives 4% of the budget of Carson-Newman University (the name has changed) immediately told the President of Carson Newman that he and his family could no longer be members of our church. Currently the relationship between the church and the college is rather distant. However, the college still rents our sanctuary for its chapel services and some of its commencement events.

Our Staff

Dr. Major Treadway

Dr. Major Treadway

Senior Pastor

Major Treadway embarked on an unexpected journey when he dedicated his life to Christian ministry. A Southern Baptist turned Methodist seminary student, he later found himself working at a Catholic University and collaborating with Mennonites in Indonesia. His diverse experiences, from leading a multi-faith team in Vietnam to engaging with Muslims and Christians in Indonesia, shaped his broad perspective on the ecumenical body of Christ. Major’s professional journey included work with young adults in Portland, Oregon, and Indonesia, as well as leading the Mennonite Central Committee in Vietnam. Completing a Doctor of Ministry at Duke Divinity School, Major explored the intersection of collective identity, congregational practice, and change. His life’s journey, shared with wife Karen and sons Edward, Andrew, and Moses, is a testament to embracing the unexpected and finding grace in the diverse tapestry of faith and culture.

Email: major@fbcjeff.org

Dr. Chad Hartsock

Dr. Chad Hartsock

Interim Minister with Students

Chad Hartsock is serving as our Interim Youth and College Minister. He comes to this position with many years experience working with teens and college students. Chad formally served as the Associate Professor of Religion at Carson-Newman University. Chad is married to Ami Hartsock, and shares parental responsibilities for Kaylin. We are thrilled to have Chad serving alongside our ministers.

Email: chartsock@fbcjeff.org

Rev. Nenette Measels

Rev. Nenette Measels

Interim Minister of Music

Nenette is from Mississippi where she graduated from East Central Junior College (Associate in Arts) and William Carey College (Bachelor of Music). She received a Master of Christian Education degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her ministry positions have included churches in Ellisville, Mississippi; Middlesboro, Kentucky; and 26 years as campus minister at Carson-Newman University. She retired in 2019 after 40 years in ministry and soon thereafter began serving as the interim minister of music at First Baptist.

She is married to Clark and their family is completed by Shelley Bella, their feline princess. Nenette delights in sharing teatime with friends, collecting teapots, teacups, tea tins, antiquing, puzzling, and reading.

Email: nmeasels@fbcjeff.org

Sierra Bevins

Sierra Bevins

Ministry Assistant

Sierra grew up in Big Stone Gap, VA. She graduated from Carson-Newman University in 2018 with a B.A. in Applied Psychology and is passionate about advocating for mental health awareness and treatment access. During her time at C-N, she had several fulfilling counseling internships and received the gift and joy of being the youth ministry intern here at FBC Jeff City in 2017 and 2018. Since first attending FBC Jeff as an undergrad, the church’s community has truly changed and enriched Sierra’s life. She is excited to be back “home” and grateful for the opportunity to serve a church that has meant a great deal to her. Aside from her vocational aspirations and endeavors, Sierra enjoys spending time with friends, being outside, reading, writing, learning, theater, and music.

Email: sbevins@fbcjeff.org

Kelli Epps

Kelli Epps

Administrative Coordinator

Angie France

Angie France


Angie is an East Tennessee girl with roots in both Knox and Jefferson county. She began playing the piano in her home church at the age of 10, and transitioned to the organ her senior year in college. Angie has degrees in music and education from Carson-Newman University, is a retired public school music teacher, and has played piano/organ and directed vocal and handbell choirs in several area churches. Choral singing is a lifelong love and she has been a member of the Knoxville Choral Society for over 20 years. Two of her favorite non-music activities are cheering on the Lady Vols in basketball, and taking care of her rescue cats and dogs.

Melanie Simpson

Melanie Simpson


Melanie holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Carson Newman University. She currently serves as Principal at Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City. She has been involved in church work since she was a junior in high school. Through her tenure she has served numerous churches in the Knoxville and surrounding counties. Melanie resides in Jefferson County with her husband and two daughters.

Cameron Rowlett

Cameron Rowlett

Video Editor

Cameron was born and raised in Memphis, TN. He attended the University of Tennessee and graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Journalism. During his time at UTK, he was a snare drum player for the Pride of the Southland and was on the leadership team for the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Since graduation, Cameron has interned for WATE news station in Knoxville and has played drums for many churches.

Cameron currently works full-time for Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) as a Business Communication Analyst. He started at FBC in 2020 helping with making our services available online while we were unable to meet in person. He has graciously stayed on to help make sure that all our members are able to be a part of our church family. In his spare time, he enjoys teaching drum lessons, playing guitar, and teaching Lincoln how to play basketball.

Steven Lloyd

Steven Lloyd

Facility Caretaker

It is Steven’s honor to help maintain First Baptist Church for her congregation. In 1992 Steven moved from Kansas to Jefferson City. He has been building pipe organs for about twenty years. He also works as a photographer for Standard Banner. In his free time Steven enjoys riding and showing his Andandalusian Lusitano horse, Santana, with his wife, Kim.

Email: slloyd@fbcjeff.org