Our church family has a proud history. Below is the story of how we got started.
Collegeside church of Christ grew out of a long-recognized need by the Broad Street church of Christ (now Jefferson Avenue church of Christ) for a family of God’s people to meet near the Tennessee Tech campus in order to better serve college students.
In the early 1950’s, there was very little space available in the old Broad Street church building. As founding Collegeside member Dave Maddux once recalled, “Students were sitting in every available spot in the Broad Street building, including the platform, the side aisles, and in chairs and it was obvious that there was a need for them to have a space.” Further, at that time students had to walk to Broad Street church. Quite a chore, especially on a winter day.
At a meeting of the Broad Street church of Christ on December 11, 1950, the elders and deacons heard reports from various committees. Most of the members living in the vicinity of the Ninth and Jefferson Street location had been contacted, and a majority of them were willing to move their membership and work with a new congregation if one was formed at that location.
On October 9, 1951, a plan was agreed upon for constructing and maintaining a church of Christ at Ninth and Jefferson. Broad Street would deed the lot for the proposed church and give the money in a building fund.
Elders and deacons of the Broad Street church attended a meeting on January 7, 1952 with a group designated as the Ninth and Jefferson Street committee. This group consisted of Thurman Whitson, Robert Lowe, Morrison Lowe, Sr., Dave Maddux, Ray Kinslow, and John A. Wright. The group was not able to raise the required funds, but Robert Lowe, Sr. borrowed the money needed to make the pledge.
James Murphy, Ray Kinslow and others had visited Nashville and found a beautiful church building on which to model the new Jefferson Avenue church building. The architect for the building was Brush, Hutchinson and Gwinn. The building committee consisted of Morrison Lowe, Sr., Dave Maddux, James Murphy, Everett Derryberry, and Fowler Clark. In 1953 the building was built for $60,000, but this did not include the pews, which were purchased later.
The first worship assembly was held on September 6, 1953. For the first few services chairs had to be borrowed from Tennessee Tech and returned each Sunday.
The first assembly for worship at the Ninth and Jefferson church was on September 6, 1953, with 130 persons present. At the first Sunday service Ray Kinslow preached, Waldo Power made the announcements, James Murphy led the prayer, Everett Derryberry, President of Tennessee Tech, led the singing. The prayers at the communion table were led by Morrison Lowe, Jr. and Drew A. Hensley. The congregation was served the Lord’s Supper by Dave Huddleston, Walter Derryberry, Max Kinslow, Don Mitchell, A.L. Shipley, and James Drake. Serving as ushers were Morrison Lowe, Sr., Paul Kinslow, and Robert Lowe, Jr. Dave Maddux made the assignments.
Paul Watson spoke at both services the following Sunday. Later that afternoon a business meeting was held and everyone was invited to come and participate. Since the congregation was unable to appoint two qualified elders, three men, Dave Maddux, Ray Kinslow, and James Murphy, were appointed trustees.
Ray Kinslow did much of the early ministerial work for the new congregation at Ninth and Jefferson. He performed the first baptism—that of H.N. Summers—and officiated at many weddings. One of the earliest weddings was that of Betty Sue Smith and Richard Saunders. Collegeside members experienced a very sad day on October 20, l954, when the first funeral was held in the new building. It was that of Morrison Lowe, Sr. who had served as the building director for the new congregation.
On May 20, 1954, Walter Baumgardner, minister, published the first bulletin for the church entitled Ninth and Jefferson Ave. News. The bulletin was published on the third Thursday of each month.
A major event for the church in 1954 and for many years to come was the Sunday Picnic Lunch, scheduled each September shortly after students returned to school. Appreciation was expressed to Miss Marie White and those who assisted her in planning, organizing, and supervising the excellent meal.
In January, 1955, after the completion of the basic structure, Bob Lee Maddux contributed monies for a much-needed annex to house Bible classes. In l957, additional classrooms, a church office, and a workroom were added on the west side of the building.
For the first three years of its existence this congregation was known by various names, including the Jefferson Avenue church, the Ninth Street church, and the College church. This means that Collegeside held the title Jefferson Avenue church before the present Jefferson Avenue church, but only for a short time.
In 1956, the name Collegeside church of Christ became its official title. The original stated purpose of the Collegeside church of Christ was “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; …when each part is working properly, (the whole body) makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love….” (Eph. 4:12-16). An additional primary purpose was to provide for the spiritual needs of students at Tennessee Tech.
In 1966, land north of the building that would accommodate a University Christian Student Center (UCSC) was purchased.