The church was chartered in 1908, under the leadership of Rev. Hiram J. Johnson, the eighth pastor. The church was placed under the governing body of seven charter members: T. W. Adair, Thomas Fowlkes, H. F. Staples, Lee J. Suggs, Jr., William Turner, H. Tyree and J. W. White. It remained under the charter for twelve years. The charter was nullified between 1919 and 1920, when Rev. E. F. Gouch became pastor.
The first piano was purchased under the ninth pastor, Rev. J. H. Mastin, who left in 1914. This year also marked the time of the Senior Choir being organized.
The first parsonage was built at Leonard and Elm Streets on property adjacent to the church; Rev. and Mrs. H. K. Kennedy were the first residents.
During 1919 to 1921, Rev. Gouch initiated efforts to relocate the church to 14th and Grove Streets by making a $100 down payment for the property. Having only $25 in the treasury, Trustee chairman J. D. Moore, loaned the church $75 to fulfill the down payment. Under Gouch’s pastorate, the charter was made null and void, thereby allowing governing authority to rest with the members.
Rev. F. M. Hutchinson, the thirteenth pastor, built the first baptistery in 1921. During the summer, they worshipped under a tent, but by fall the basement was completed and they began worshipping there.
In 1923, the sanctuary at 14th & Grove Streets was completed under the pastorate of Rev. H. H. Hubbard, the fourteenth pastor. Rev. G. W. Sandefur, the District Moderator, preached the dedicatory service. Sandefur later became the 16th pastor.
Second remained at 14th & Grove Streets from 1922 – 1975.
Rev. Samuel P. Pettagrue, the fifteenth pastor, was an active organizer, under whose leadership from 1932 – 1935 several lay organizations were recognized on the local, district and national levels, including: Missionary Union, Baptist Training Union (B.T.U.), and the Baptist Young People’s Union (B.Y.P.U.).
From 1935 – 1938, Rev. G. W. Sanderfur served as the sixteenth pastor. His term saw the financial burden of the church lifted. The Intermediate Choir was organized during this period. Rev. Sanderfur served as a mentor to Rev. W. W. Taylor.
From 1939 – 1945, Rev. Woodrow Wilson (W. W.) Taylor, a protégé of Rev. G. W. Sanderfur, became the seventeenth pastor. A major accomplishment under Rev. Taylor was the 1941 burning of the mortgage. A few years later, Rev. Taylor resigned, leading to the first split. On February 28, 1945, a group of Second’s members formed Westside Baptist, in the home of Mrs. Ethel Brimmitt. They moved into a new church on November 18, 1945.
In 1953, Second Baptist became the first black church in Chattanooga to install air-conditioning, an account of which was featured in the local newspaper, the Chattanooga Times.
The eighteenth pastor was called in the person of Rev. Martin Henry Ribbins, Sr. Ribbins was considered a great preacher, organizer and civic leader. He introduced the idea of a new church, and began a building fund to that end. He actively served at the district level as Moderator of the Baptist Missionary and Education Congress. On October 15, 1961, members were left in shock at the sudden passing of Rev. Ribbins.
Rev. Edward N. Bates succeeded Rev. Ribbins in December 1963, as the nineteenth pastor. Rev. Bates was considered a good preacher. Two years later, in 1965, the church underwent a second split when Rev. Bates left Second and established Greater Second Baptist.
On September 4, 1966, Second Baptist welcomed its twentieth pastor, the Rev. Paul Anderson McDaniel, Sr., of Rahway, New Jersey (originally from Rock Hill, SC). Prior to coming to Chattanooga, Rev. McDaniel was the pastor of Second Baptist, Munford, NY and Second Baptist, Rahway, NJ. Rev. McDaniel was installed on December 11, 1966. Rev. and Mrs. (Edna) McDaniel arrived with their three children, Paul, Jr., Pamela Anita, and Patricia Ann. A history making event occurred when their second son and youngest of four children, Peter Adam, was born. This marked the first time a child had been born into a pastor’s family in the history of the church. After a lengthy illness, Mrs. McDaniel passed on January 27, 1990. Later, McDaniel suffered the loss of his oldest daughter, Pamela. Over time, and with the support of family, members, and faith, Pastor McDaniel continued his ministry and leadership with grace and dedication. Years later, he married the former Linda Isadore, D. Min., of Los Angeles, California, who became the first dean of Second’s School of Evangelism.