History has a unique way of becoming most interesting. This is especially true when viewed in the light of God’s Word, His Sovereignty, and Providential Guidance. Actually, the chain of events that consummated in the founding and organization of the present day COOKEVILLE FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH could be traced back to the late 1930’s and the 1940’s. It was during this time that the Free Will Baptist Churches in the Detroit, MI area were organized and formed into the Wolverine Association of Michigan.
It was through the ministry of the Wolverine Association of Michigan that Rev. Carson Whiteaker was challenged to serve Christ. Bro. Whiteaker had gone to Detroit to work and while there he was first ordained as a deacon and then in June 1945 he was ordained as a minister of the Gospel by the Wolverine Association of Michigan.
Having a deep concern for his home area, he returned to Cookeville and upon attending the Stone Association, he found the original work of the Cookeville Church was practically dead, and the Association was about to officially declare the church to be non-existent. Bro. Whiteaker appealed to the Association to give him one year to try and revive the work. Permission was granted and the church began to breathe again. Prayer meetings were held in different homes, among them being Bro. and Sis. J. T. Smith and others.
The present church was officially organized in the home of Rev. and Mrs. John Barnes in December, 1945 with 13 charter members. This group of believers met on Friday night, February 1, 1946 and voted to buy a lot on Scott Street on which to build a church. The deed was signed on February 2, 1946 and the church was on its way.
A temporary building was erected from materials secured from here and there, including an old log house torn down from Bro. and Sis. Whiteaker’s farm. This temporary building was known as the “Mill Shack,” and other names. It had a saw dust trail and many wonderful services were experienced there. Finally, the new building was finished and the first service held was June 15, 1947. There were 137 present and Bro. Whiteaker preached on the subject, “My Heart’s Desire.”
The church used the building on Scott Street from June 1947 until November 7, 1971. On Sunday, November 14, 1971, the present building, located at 833 South Willow was used for the first time. This building was erected during the pastoral administration of Rev. Bobby Greene. Bro. Greene preached the first message in this building and Bro. Kenneth Haney preached the second. Souls were saved at each service.
CFWBC desired to remain in the main stream of our denomination and became a charter member of the Liberty Association of Tennessee. Thus, we have an official outlet for a World Wide ministry through both Home and Foreign Missions and Christian Education, through the National Association of Free Will Baptists.