On September 26, 1981, at a meeting in the Community Center at Thomas Village, William H. Jenkins, then Director of the Division of Ministries, represented the Baptist General Board regarding building a Missionary Baptist Church in Thomas Village. Three years earlier the Clinch Valley Baptist Association (“Association”) had purchased a lot in the planned community. Originally, the planners had designated the lot for the Free Will Baptist Church in Clinchport; however, the option was not exercised, and the lot was relinquished to the Association.
Groundbreaking services were held on April 24, 1982, for Thomas Village Baptist Mission Sunday School, with an enrollment of 17. Worship services had already begun on January 2, 1982, at Rayburn Lodge Hall in Duffield, VA, under the direction of the Area Missionary. The mission was sponsored by the Association and assigned to the direction of the Missions Committee. On September 7, 1982, the Executive Committee of the Association extended a call to Darrell Fletcher to become the first pastor. Reverend Fletcher accepted the call and began his pastorate on October 3, 1982. Dedication services were held for the Mission on November 7, 1982.
The churches of the Association and the Virginia Baptist Board supported the Mission with financial aid and direction until September 9, 1984, when Thomas Village Baptist Church (“Church”) was constituted. The Church was completely self-supporting by December 1986.
In September 1986, the Church purchased a house on Powell Mountain, which served as the parsonage until it was sold in 1996.
By early 1992, church membership had grown to 241. On March 18, 1992, at a special business meeting, the Church voted to accept a gift of three acres of land located at the intersection of Highway 58 and Route 604 from Floyd and Ruth Carter. An eight-member building committee was formed to oversee construction of a new church building. On August 12, 1992, the deed was signed. In conjunction with the Church’s Homecoming Service and in celebration of its tenth anniversary, a groundbreaking service was held at the property on September 27, 1992.
On March 21, 1992, after more than ten years of service, Darrell Fletcher resigned as pastor. On March 31, 1992, the Church elected Ralph Crawford of Kingsport, TN, to serve as interim pastor. The first pulpit committee was formed. After nine months of fervently praying and searching, the pulpit committee recommended that Johnny Kendrick be called to the pastorate of the Church. The Church approved the recommendation on December 19, 1993. Rev. Kendrick preached his first sermon as pastor of the Church on January 9, 1994, and he served as pastor until October 1996.
Mark Freeman Associates of Kingsport, TN, presented preliminary plans for the Church’s new facility on March 13, 1994. Upon recommendation by the building committee, the plans were accepted by the Church on March 27, 1994. On April 17, 1994, the Church had an enormously successful Great Day of Giving for the construction of the new facility. Dr. Richard Norton purchased the Church’s old facility on Quillen Drive on July 9, 1994.
Little B Construction Company of Castlewood, VA, arrived at the construction site of the new facility on October 11, 1994. Duffield Funeral Home served as a temporary home to the Church from November 16, 1994, until the Church’s new facility was completed on August 11, 1996. Johnny Kendrick spoke at the first worship service in the Church’s new facility on August 18, 1996.
Echoing Psalm 127:1, the scripture that was read at the dedication on the Church’s first building, the new Church facility was dedicated to the Lord’s work on November 10, 1996. Bob Lynch, representing Virginia Baptist General Board, was the speaker at the dedication service.
The Church continued to grow not only in number but also in ministry and activities. First revival in the new facility began Sunday, March 16, 1997, and 20 souls were saved.
Reverend Ralph Crawford was called to pastor the Church on August 10, 1997. At that time, the Church averaged 180 attendees in weekly worship service. Ralph Crawford began his pastorate, on a bi-vocational basis, at Thomas Village Baptist Church on September 7, 1997, and resigned on September 16, 2001.
From fall 2001 until spring 2003, the Church was lovingly served by interim pastors John Perkins of Elizabethton, TN, and Carl Strickler of Kingsport, TN.
The Church approved the charter of an AWANA ministry on September 11, 2001. AWANA commenced in January 2003 with AWANA clubs for children three years of age through sixth grade. In fall 2003, AWANA was extended to include a Junior Varsity Club for Junior High students.
At a special called business meeting on May 18, 2003, the Church voted to call Garry Edwards as pastor. Rev. Edwards accepted the call and began serving the Church on June 8, 2003. At that time, the Church’s Sunday School enrollment was 185 with an average weekly worship service attendance of 130. It was during Rev. Edwards’ pastorate that his wife, Sarah Edwards, along with the Women’s Mission group, planned and hosted the first annual Women’s Praise & Worship Conference. The first year (2004), there were 150 women from several churches in the region in attendance. Since that time, attendance has increased to capacity of 300. The conference’s tenth anniversary will be celebrated on September 21, 2013.
Rev. Edwards resigned on October 5, 2008. Bill Kendrick was called to serve as Intentional Interim on October 28, 2008. The Church began the Intentional Interim process by selecting members for the Transition Team. On October 3, 2010, a pastor search committee was formed. Having completed the Intentional Interim program, Bill Kendrick’s service ended on November 28, 2010. The Church voted for Keith Walsworth to serve as interim pastor, assisted by Shannon Powers.
On June 9, 2010, plans were presented to the Church to transition the children’s Sunday School program from that of traditional to workshop rotation method (“WoRM”). By approval of the Church, the children’s classrooms were redesigned into six creative, media-inspired, kid-pleasing, workshops with an overall theme of God’s creation and a local flavor of Natural Tunnel State Park. The dedication of new children’s Sunday School and first WoRM rotation was November 28, 2010. As of this writing (July 2013), after three years of WoRM, Sunday School attendance consistently averages 85% of worship attendance.
The Duffield Independent Baptist Church building was donated to TVBC on August 15, 2012.
The pastor search committee presented Buddy Osborne of Kingsport, TN, as their candidate for pastor on February 24, 2013, and he was called to pastor the Church, effective April 8, 2013.