The humble beginnings of the Cookeville Rescue Mission date back to March 1976 where Larry and Betty Self, and U. L. Whitson opened the doors of the ministry on the second floor of a building at Cedar and Broad Streets. Several years later, in 1981, the Cookeville Rescue Mission relocated to its present site at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Davis Road in Cookeville. The first board of directors met in 1982.
The mortgage of 1331 S. Jefferson was paid-in-full in April 1985, and 11 years later the Lighthouse Family Lodge opened to provide emergency housing for families and single women. A general store, a part-time dental clinic, and a small warehouise were added to the ministry in 1998.
The men’s new dormitory was completed and dedicated in 2003, and the parking lot was also paved that year. Life Church remodeled the kitchen in the Family Lodge in 2012.
In 2017 the decision was made by the board of directors that the mission should be relocated due to deteriorating buildings and the imminent expansion of Jefferson Avenue and Davis Road as announced by TDOT. In April 2018 Bruce Bailey became the CEO of the Cookeville Rescue Mission. In the late fall of 2018 the former Johnstone Supply building located immediately south of the Rescue Mission was identified as the future location of the mission. As of mid-January 2019 the Cookeville Rescue Mission holds an option on 1361 S. Jefferson with prayers, plans, and hopes of purchasing and renovating the building by 2021.