The Church History
Serving the Lord since 1911
The following is the HISTORY OF THE GREATER ST. JOHN MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH over a period of 100 years. The period covered is 1911 - 2011.
A time of celebration is a time of reflection. Greater St. John Missionary Baptist celebrates 100 years of Kingdom Building. Proverbs 29:18 says: "Where there is no vision the people perish."
Let me tell you a story . . . . . One Hundred years ago, during the year of 1911, a group of concerned Christians had a vision, organized and met in various homes under the leadership of Rev. D. Boyd and Rev. J. Holloway. Shortly after the organization of the church, the members saw the need for a special place to worship and moved out of the homes into the 14 Mile Sidden. Later, a motion was passed to erect a building on the corner of Farm Road 560 and what is now known as St. John Lane. During the early forties, the St. John Baptist Church was moved to its present location. St. John continued, often struggling as churches that make difference do. Additions and renovations were made as needed and worship service continued in that building until 1973.
The story continues. . . . Now the good people were anxious to have a suitable building for church services. As the vision to grow continued, under the Pastoral leadership of Rev. Orlandus Green, Sr., a Building Fund was established and financial drives were launched to raise money to build a better building for the glorification of God. Through combined efforts, in December 1973, the first services were held in this Edifice and St. John Baptist Church was renamed, The Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
In April 1989, Rev. R. E. Ruffin came to us as our pastor. He brought with him a message of togetherness, faith, love, joy and peace. He also had a "VISION" to grow in Christ; that the people, not only at Greater St. John, but everywhere, would not perish. Under his leadership and spiritual guidance, the church has matured, growing spiritually, and steady reaching out. The members eagerly cooperated with our new spiritual leader. Greater St. John became "A Church with a Vision on a Mission." Members are still being added to the church and striving to grow in Christ. In 1993, we joined the fellowship of churches, making a total of four (4) churches that met the 4th Sunday night of each month. That grew to five (5) churches. Several graduating senior received scholarships through this fellowship to assist with furthering their education. Words cannot express the gratitude and thankfulness for our progress.
Under pastor Ruffin's leadership Greater St. John John increased in membership numbers by 162 members and seven associate ministers joined the ministerial staff. Rev. James Henderson (deceased), Rev. Stewart Hopson (deceased), Rev. Cory Runnels, Rev. Henry Martin, Rev. Richard Noble, Rev. David Cooke, and Rev. Leavelle Franklin. These dedicated men has added great dept to the church's ministerial staff and serves in all facets of ministry, conducting worship services, and teaching classes. Because of his energy and tireless work, Pastor Ruffin brought on not only spiritual but also materialistic progress. With the guidance of Jesus Christ, the profound leadership of Pastor Ruffin, the stewardship and management of the Trustees and Deacon Ministry, and the cooperation and faithfulness of our Membership, our Multi-Purpose Building / Family Life Center was opened in 1995. A new organ was added to our sanctuary in 1996, dedicated to the late James "Jack" Hearon. In 1997, we added to office a new computer system and printer. The sidewalk from the Sanctuary to the Family Life Center was laid in 1998, making accessibility convenient and easier. This building has been utilized for various functions. The Annual Sessions of the Zion District Association and Zion Congress and the Baptist Missionary and Education Regional Convention of Texas.
To move the vision forward into year 2002 (the 21st Century), in 1999, we acquired additional computers for the purpose of training our members to be better equipped to cope with the inevitable automated system that is now upon us. The order of service on Sunday mornings was revised in 2000 to intensive Bible classes. These classes are structured to increase the knowledge of God's Word and how to live accordingly.
On March 12, 2000 thru the sacrifice and faithfulness of our members, the final payment was made on our organ. On April 16, 2001 a sidewalk cover between the Sanctuary and the Family Life Center was added. New Kitchen cabinets were built in the Family Life Center. In 2003 a multipurpose copier was purchased. In the year 2004, landscaping and shrubbery for the Family Life Center, a new water fountain, new monitor speakers and sound systems with cordless mics, radio broadcast every Sunday 12:30 on 103.5 FM. Under pastor Ruffin's leadership Greater St. John increased in membership numbers. During the year 2002 thru 2003 nineteen new members, year 2004, thirtheen members were added, the year 2005 seven new members, the year 2006 thirteen new members.
During the months of August and September, 2005 Greater St. John welcomed and sheltered from 90 - 100 Katrina and Rita hurricane evacuees who were left without possesions or a place to live.
But that's not the end of the story....soon and very soon, by faith, these walls are coming down because people will be coming from every direction, north, south, east and west that believe and accept the Lord Jesus Christ. Multitudes, both of men and women and boys and girls. Because the Lord's hand is with us a great number people will believe and turn to the Lord and become a member of this church. This will prove what we say here at Greater St. John, "The Distance is worth the Difference."
One Hundred years devoted to keeping the vision of Christianity alive in this community, "A Church with a Vision on a Mission". We are continuously growing through our efforts, and looking to our Lord and Savior to make this church what God desires it to be.
Many years from now, when the children of today and their children and grandchildren look back on the memories of this church, they too will join us in saying " We've come this far by Faith." May the Lord continue to bless is our prayer.