A short history of Living Hope.
Established 150 years ago, in September of 1869, Living Hope has a long history in this community. The church was originally called Little Hope Baptist Church because it was said that “there was little hope of ever having a church here”. The church began with an average attendance was around 35, some of which can be seen pictured on the next page. Despite those of “little hope”, the founders of the church had faith and were proved right when they Baptized 12 at their very first meeting.
Over the years there were ups and downs. The church would sometimes fail to meet due to weather. This was usually caused by heavy rain, resulting in high water and washed out roads. But they were steadfast, and by 1918 were prepared to construct a new house of worship for $7,126, but the cost was “more than they could stand”. With some changes the building was completed for $5,850 (pictured below). The congregation at Little Hope continued to meet faithfully, despite not having a full time pastor until the 1950’s. Then they began to see real growth, with around 131 in Sunday School.
During the 1950’s the church, under the leadership of Nat Phillips, emphasized outreach and evangelism. This was a time of county-wide crusades and tent meetings. One of which resulted in the establishment of a church plant, known today as Excell Baptist Church.
The 1919 building was remodeled and added to several times over the next 50 years. And in the 1970’s Living Hope built a new worship center with funds from the sale of land for the “new interstate”, which was under construction across the state.
The memorial book from the dedication of the worship center says, “The church now stands facing a new horizon, the future of the church is much greater than the past.” Living Hope continued its legacy as a “Gospel church”, as it had been established over 100 years before.
45 years, a few more building projects, and only three Pastors later we’re prepared to break ground on Tylertown Church in north Clarksville. This second campus is poised to be the first of many as Living Hope continues to grow thanks to God’s blessing of the vision to build churches and childcare centers in our community.
So, today we look back at 150 years of Living Hope, and we’re encouraged by the legacy of faith. As we are steadfast in our mission to make disciples, our past emboldens us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” It’s a great thing to know from where you come, but far greater is the knowledge of where you are going. And where Living Hope is going is out to our community to share the Gospel and make disciples.
We are blessed to be part of the next chapter of Living Hope. God has grown us in faith and numbers over the past decade, as we continue in our long tradition of being a welcoming family of faith.