1950 - Founds Thomas Road Baptist Church
The son of a bootlegger and an atheist, Jerry Falwell converted to Christianity in 1952, at age 19, and soon turned down an offer to play professional baseball to follow his calling to the ministry. After attending Bible college in Missouri, he planted Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Thirty-five people showed up the first Sunday, but the church grew quickly. Falwell was media savvy and entrepreneurial, and Thomas Road soon burst with social service programs, including a prison outreach, a home for single mothers, and a home for alcoholics.