The history of Green Street Church of Christ starts in the latter part of the 19th century. The history of the congregation does not begin at 146 Green Street (its present location), but from an early effort out of the College Street Church of Christ which started services November 13, 1887 and now known as Lindsley Avenue church. David Lipscomb who was one of the elders of College Street church was to write of this church that growth of new churches had begun at Green Street, Carroll Street, Flat Rock and Waverly Place.
By May 29, 1889 The Gospel Advocate noted that a group of people from College Street church had purchased land on Green Street for the purpose of establishing a new church. This was with the encouragement of elders and members of the College Street assembly. By 1892 a frame building was completed on Green Street at the location of the present masonry building which was completed in 1930 after a fire destroyed the original frame meeting house.
It is impressive to note that James A. Harding, one of the co-founders of the Nashville Bible School (now David Lipscomb University) also founder of the Potter School and Home in Bowling Green Kentucky and the one honored in the name of Harding University, Searcy , Arkansas; was one of the original elders of this church. J. H. Mead who started Mead’s Chapel was also an elder at Green Street church.
Over the years many tent meetings and revivals for South Nashville have been held at its current location. The original neighborhood was “working class” and even now this characterizes the nature of the people who attend and are members of the church. Color barriers of the 19th and 20th century have long since come down and the present congregation represents a wonderful composite of races and backgrounds in South Nashville and beyond.
Green Street church has been involved in the creation of the Youth Hobby Shop now known as Y. E. S. which reaches out to young people in South Nashville offering tutoring and a gathering place for activities appropriate for young people who wish to advance their training in life skills.
Since 1930 there have only been about 23 men serving as minister and pastor, which has given the congregation a strong sense of stability and mission to maintain stability and the Word of God in this neighborhood.
In 2000, Green Street began partnering with a group of Lipscomb students known as Fools for Christ. Fools for Christ began in the late 90’s as an endeavour to engage the homeless community of Nashville, and quickly grew. Every Wednesday hundreds of college students and homeless would gather for a meal, worship, and fellowship. In its early stages, Fools for Christ met together downtown at Riverfront Park, and later moved to the area next to the old General Hospital (now Rolling Mill Hill). Green Street began hosting this ministry at its building in the winters to allow everyone in from the cold. Eventually, Green Street took over all hosting duties as many of the members of Fools for Christ became members at Green Street.
It soon became apparent because of the increase in need that Green Street could not cover it’s many ministries on Wednesday nights alone. Several other churches came forward to assist in the meal service. One of which, Midway Church of Christ from Cheatham County, has been serving for at least 9 years. Several other churches have come forward over the years and now our visitors can find clothing in addition to the food service.
Recently one of the homeless that Green Street works with approached the elders and requested permission to place a tent on the west side of the building. Green Street does not have “waivers” with the police, and it did not seem proper to bar admission to the property simply to allow a safer place to sleep. Since this approach by one individual the camp has grown from one to over a dozen.
We have seen some success with individuals getting work and finding a place to live off of the street. We have learned a great deal about how groups can work together or not work together. For the most part the camp has been quiet but there have also been incidents where police or ambulance service was requested. We feel that with proper screening and assistance from other volunteer groups we can begin to see even more productivity.
Green Street Church does not see the camp as an end but a beginning for some to find a way off of the street environment which is very counterproductive to getting a foothold in life. We would suggest that the camp represents a process by which persons with initiative and desire to improve their life can find what they need from this point. We encourage community, respect, and safety for all campers but they in the end will be the ones to decide how the camp will work.
In early 2015, Green Street Church was approached by Jeff Carr of Infinity Fellowship with the idea of constructing "micro-houses" to serve as a better choice for those in the sanctuary than a tent. Four were delivered on August 21, 2015 with two more to come soon thereafter. Green Street hopes that in the future the Sanctuary could be populated solely be Micro-Homes.