North Boulevard Church of Christ was founded on June 15, 1947, when over 150 worshipers met together in an old barn that had been converted into an auditorium on the corner of Lytle Street and North Tennessee Boulevard. North Boulevard’s start was the result of over five years of planning, fund-raising and praying by a group of Christians from East Main Church of Christ located just off the square in Murfreesboro. One important motivation for the foundation of North Boulevard was the need for a congregation within short walking distance of what was then called Middle Tennessee State College. The East Main church contributed $5,000 to start the congregation. During the first year of North Boulevard’s existence, elders and deacons were appointed and a full-time minister was hired. By the 1950’s North Boulevard was a fast growing congregation with several ministries and the need for a larger building. An auditorium with classrooms was built and dedicated in 1952, and by 1964 the old barn had been replaced by an educational wing on the North Tennessee site.
For the next several decades North Boulevard continued to grow and to serve Murfreesboro, the University and the world. Because of crowded Sunday assemblies, North Boulevard was forced to have two Sunday morning services beginning in 1961. Two services would be required for the next several decades.
As early as the 1940s North Boulevard was sponsoring an active Sunday School program with the children meeting behind the stage in the old barn, and later, downstairs in the new building. A Ladies’ Bible class began in the 1950s, and the ladies sewed clothes and later made quilts for the needy at regional children’s homes and in our community. This class still meets, and quilts are still made. In the early 1960s North Boulevard members were instrumental in the founding of Middle Tennessee Christian School and Stones River Manor.
More recent ministries have included: annual food and clothing distribution drives; a large, active Meals on Wheels ministry; and active participation in the local Inner City Ministry. Since the 1970s North Boulevard has had an active youth ministry, involving and serving hundreds of teenagers. In 1986 North Boulevard members began the Sonshine School, a mother’s day out program that teaches children of our community about God and His church. Since the 1990s, North Boulevard has sponsored professional counseling through Agape counseling services.
North Boulevard has been active in global missions, supporting and sponsoring mission efforts all over the world. For over thirty years North Boulevard has been a chief supporter of Joseph Shulam, in Jerusalem, Israel. Moving from Jerusalem to the “uttermost parts of the earth,” North Boulevard has worked across the globe from Seoul, South Korea to Waterloo, Iowa; from Ontario, Canada to Logos, Nigeria; from Burlington, Massachusetts to Dundee, Scotland; from Tifton, Georgia to Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and a number of places in between.
During its years of service, North Boulevard has grown to almost 2000 members with Sunday morning attendance averaging 1,500. Over the past almost sixty years well over a thousand persons have been immersed at North Boulevard, putting on the Lord in baptism. To accommodate North Boulevard’s growth and ministry needs, on Easter Sunday 1997 North Boulevard moved into its current East Murfreesboro location on North Rutherford Boulevard. Attendance on that great day of celebration was 1936 people worshiping God and encouraging one another.
The Lord has been very active through North Boulevard throughout its many years of service. May He continue to raise up Christians here who reflect the values and courage of our spiritual ancestors: Christ-centered Christianity with the Bible as our guide and heaven as our goal.
On Easter Sunday of 2013, the North Boulevard Church of Christ committed itself to God, asking Him to use them to help spark a worldwide spiritual awakening. And these weren’t just empty words. The family of God faithfully and sacrificially gave and pledged $6.1 M toward that very end. Since that sunday morning, God has been at work in and among the various elements of the 2020 Vision.
Here is a sampling of God’s work among us since we committed to the 2020 Vision:
With a vision to plant 60,000 churches in 60 years, church planting is an integral part of the 2020 Vision. On Easter Sunday of 2014, North Boulevard launched its West Murfreesboro campus, and in the fall of 2016 NB launched the Smyrna-LaVergne campus. Committed to relational discipleship and reaching the community with the Good News of Jesus, both campuses have seen not only Christians join them but also people who were apart from Christ. Both of these campuses, and indeed all future campuses, have the goal of sending out a church planter from among its own ranks, exponentially increasing the number of churches planted through the years.
North Boulevard plans to launch a College Campus in January 2018.
Knowing that many Christians in our churches today will die without ever having brought someone to Christ, North Boulevard’s 2020 Vision committed the church to intentional, relational discipleship. Bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus, moving them into maturity, and sharing their faith with others should be a reality for every Christian. Using Discovery Bible Study tools and meeting in groups of 3 to 5, Discipling Groups are an integral part of North Boulevard’s family life.
- Lecture Series: Launched in 2014, the lecture series was created to explore a Christian worldview of all facets of life. Speakers have included people like Lee Strobel, Annie Lobert, Sam Allberry, and Stephen Kendrick, who explored topics such as suffering, the believability of the Gospel, a Christian worldview of film-making, and sexuality. Many videos are available online and have been viewed by individuals as well as by high school students in classroom settings.
- School of Discipleship: Launched in the fall of 2014, the school is an intentional mentorship program to equip disciple-makers and church-planters. Sunday evenings are devoted to brief periods of fellowship and Bible study, while most of the time is spent in intensive, guided prayer. Offered to teens through retirees, students can participate for three, six, or 12 months, while church-planters in training will have more times of prayer and training during the week.
- SALT Classes: The School of Advanced Leadership Training is a partnership with churches offered through Hope International University (HIU) that equips emerging leaders with the knowledge and skills needed for effective and relevant ministry. Accredited college courses are offered at North Boulevard for bachelor’s or master’s credit for a significantly discounted rate. These classes are also being offered as a dual-enrollment option for our Discipleship Tutorial. Over 70 students have taken a SALT class, and one church-planter in training even received his masters in conjunction with HIU and North Boulevard.
- Discipleship Tutorial: Launched in 2016 with 92 homeschooled students from 5 th to 12th grades, the tutorial provides spiritual and academic college-preparatory instruction in an environment that is intentionally Christ-centered and discipleship-focused. Meeting once a week on Tuesdays, students spend 45 minutes in prayer together before classes and meet at lunchtime with mentors and students who guide them through a brief Discovery Bible Study. These two components, in addition to excellent worldview academics, create students who can see God at work in every academic field, who are increasingly comfortable praying together and talking about spiritual matters, and who can share their faith in winsome and articulate ways.
Commitment to Prayer
Just as the early church “married” its widows, so, too, North Boulevard’s 2020 Vision saw women coming together in intense, intentional prayer on behalf of the church. Each member of the prayer team prays in her home for all of the church’s needs. In addition to this, the women meet at the prayer room every Tuesday and Friday to pray for everyone on the prayer list from the bulletin. They also pray for the elders, ministers, deacons, and for the vision. On the first Monday of every month, the prayer team prays for and send cards to the members who have cancer, ongoing health concerns, homebound, the continuing friends and family list as well as nursing home residents. We are certain that none of what has been accomplished through the 2020 Vision would have seen success had it not been offered to God in faithful prayer.
A New Day - TV Program & Book
- Originally intended to reach dying churches and Christians who were seeking sound Bible teaching, the A New Day TV program grew far beyond those boundaries very quickly. Ninety nations on 6 continents have downloaded or viewed the weekly television program that is available online. This includes South Korea, Poland, Germany, Tanzania, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Ukraine, India and Russia. And, of course, the United States.
- A New Day: Restoring the Revolutionary Mission of Christ is a book, written by David Young, that grew out of the TV program, calling churches away from the dead-end paths of traditionalism on the one hand and liberalism on the other. In A New Day, Young offers a third way forward for churches of Christ in America today: keeping a high regard for Christ and the Scriptures while refusing to be more concerned with man-made traditions than our friends and neighbors who are lost.
Using the inspiration of the church in Revelation where every tongue, tribe, and nation worships God, so, too, North Boulevard is striving to be a place where anyone in our community can come to know Christ and grow in their faith. Latino and Chinese communities worship and study at North Boulevard every week, while we continue to prayerfully follow the Spirit’s lead in this area.