In the late 1980s, two once-thriving churches in the East Knoxville area, Bell Avenue Baptist Church and McCalla Avenue Baptist Church, were struggling to find direction.  Both had interim pastors and neither was growing in the vibrant manner that the two congregations believed that God wanted. Leadership at both churches began to pray if it were God’s will that the two should band together. Merger committees were formed and through their vision and guidance and after much prayer, hard work and compromise, the congregations become one and Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church held its first service in the former Bell Ave. sanctuary on Oct. 4, 1987.