Through a long and lasting legacy of Christian faithfulness that is founded on energetic worship services, sound biblical teaching, training and caring outreach services, Gethsemane Baptist Church offers to uplift those who find themselves seeking Christ, a church, or a change.
Gethsemane Baptist Church is a church that has a rich history and dedication to increasing the Kingdom of God from the day of its inception on August 12, 1951, by twelve individuals who met in a beauty shop in the Pleasantville Shopping Center in Houston, Texas with Rev. Shepherd. J. Johnson presiding until today.
The original charter members were: Rev. & Sis. Shepherd J. Johnson, Sis. Mattie Davis, Bro. Daniel Franklin, Bro. Willie Randall, Bro. Bernie Robertson, Sis. Estella Sagers, Sis. Alma White, Sis. Bertha White, Sis. Cora White, Bro. Grant White, and Bro. Reuben White.
On January 22, 1952, this organized group purchased four lots on 1621 Pleasantville Drive in Houston, TX and a groundbreaking service was held on March 30, 1952. Rev. S. J. Johnson’s tenure as Pastor was from August 1951 to February 1953. Rev. J. C. Wilson succeeded Rev. Johnson and served as Pastor until June 1954. In September 1954 through October 1963 Rev. H. A. Ratcliff, Jr., would be elected as the third Pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church and under his leadership the church continued to grow and prosper by reconstructing the current structure on Pleasantville Drive beginning on August 12, 1962. Rev. Hayward Edward Joseph Wiggins would become the fourth Pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church on April 13, 1964, and would serve as Pastor for the next thirty-three years.
Under the leadership of Pastor Wiggins, the membership grew tremendously. The Educational Building was dedicated in May of 1972 and renovations to the existing structure were completed within that same year. During Pastor Wiggins’ tenure, church programs and ministries were expanded and the church adopted the motto of: A Church with a Fellowship and A Pastor with a Message. In addition, under the leadership of Pastor Wiggins, Gethsemane Baptist Church relocated to its current location on 8775 Flagship Drive in Houston, TX.
The Gethsemane Baptist Church family faced a critical juncture in its history with the passing of Rev. Wiggins on Friday, August 8, 1997. Gethsemane Baptist Church would go through a transitional period, but on October 19, 1997, the dedication of the new building in conjunction with the 46th Church Anniversary was still celebrated.
On April 11, 1998, Rev. Dennis Carl Jones of Shreveport, Louisiana, was elected as the fifth Pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church. Pastor Jones integrated a dual church focus that was developed to address the needs of those seeking the Christian life both spiritually and physically. This focus included Thursday Night Live Bible Study, the Soul Winning Action Team Ministry (SWAT), and the Tribal Cell Ministry. In addition Pastor Jones reorganized the men (Master’s Men) and women (Women of Work, Worship, and Witness, W.O.W.) ministries in order to generate a more cohesive fellowship and approach to attending to the needs of the church.
The Gethsemane church family wrote another chapter in its history with the purchase of 3.3 acres of land adjacent to the current church structure on October 10, 2004. Pastor Jones also orchestrated a Victory Campaign to extinguish the church note, which lead to a Note Burning Ceremony celebration on March 8, 2009. Pastor Jones envisions Gethsemane moving forward in a Spirit of Excellence which continues to be a charge for every member to keep.
Gethsemane Baptist Church is committed to rejuvenating, reviving, and restoring all those who enter its sanctuary so they realize that they have entered into more than just a place of worship, but the Place of Strength!