The foundation of Methodism in Houston began in 1837, when missionaries Martin Ruter and Littleton Fowler established a Sunday School Society. On April 14, 1839, the Rev. Jesse Hord received 14 members by transfer of letter, establishing the Methodist Church. In 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church South opened its first building on the north side of Texas Avenue, between Travis and Milam streets, on land the Allen Brothers had reserved for a church when Houston was platted. From 1883 to 1909, the church was known as Charles Shearn Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South.
As Houston grew, the congregation prospered, and plans were developed to build a new church. In 1907, the Texas Avenue property was sold, and First Methodist Episcopal Church South opened its doors in 1910 at the corner of Main and Clay streets. In 1939, the name changed to First Methodist Church and in 1968 to First United Methodist Church. In 1992, the congregation approved a plan to establish a second campus. The Westchase Congregation began worship in 1993 and opened a worship center in 1999.
This congregation's commitment to local, national and worldwide programs and ministries led it to help start new churches and establish non-profit groups, including Wesley Community Center, Bluebird Circle, Quillian Memorial Center, Clarewood House, Wesley Academy
and Christian Alliance. Together with the Texas Conference, the church helped to establish the Methodist Hospital. The church has furthered its outreach through televised worship services since 1955.