Berean Baptist Church (1966-2016)
The Berean Baptist Church first met on March 10, 1966, in the downtown YMCA. The church was organized two months later, with the help of Pastor Bill McTeer of Southside Baptist Church. They purchased an old Methodist church building at 1700 North Benton that was later used as the Stained Glass Theater. The young church's beginning was very stormy. Often the offering was not enough to pay the pastor. Three pastors came and went during the first year.
In 1967, Bro. Leon Gray assumed the pastorate. Under his leadership, the church began to grow and flourish. They bought property at 507 E. Norton Road, and moved into the present auditorium in December of 1972. In May of the next year Bro. Fred Reamsnider became music director. Membership continued to steadily increase, and a second building was added in 1975. In 1981, the nurseries and offices were added, and the bus barn was constructed in 1984. During Leon Gray's tenure as pastor, nearly one hundred churches were started in countries including the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, Germany and Australia. The property and all of the buildings and updates were debt free by the time Pastor Gray retired in June of 2000.
In October of the same year, the church called Jeffrey Ables to be the next pastor. Pastor Ables has lead the church faithfully now for over fifteen years. The church has continued to serve the Lord, and new people have been saved, baptized and discipled at Berean. More preachers have been trained, ordained, and sent out from the church. Bro. Ables has led the church to continue to start several new church plants in the U.S., and many others around the world. Berean currently supports nearly one hundred missionaries worldwide.
May the Lord continue to bless and work through Berean Baptist Church.