Our History

 

The Baker Heights Church of Christ has an impressive heritage of vision and generosity. It was established through the foresight and unselfish planning and labor of the elders of the College Church of Christ. This tradition of optimistic zeal for the Lord has been perpetuated for over thirty years. In the late 1950's that group of men recognized the need for a congregation of the Lord's church to serve the Dyess area; a study conducted in 1958 revealed that, of the 173 Dyess AFB personnel who listed the church of Christ as their church preference, fewer than fifty were regularly attending worship services in Abilene. Representatives of several congregations met in the spring of 1958 to make plans for holding worship services on the base. Those services began on May 11, 1958, with Robert L. Johnston, Reserve Chaplain and Abilene Christian College Bible teacher, as the first minister.

For several years, the new congregation had no permanent meeting place. It originally met in the Dyess chapel at 6:00 on Sunday evenings but moved to a small classroom in the vocational building on January 11, 1959, because of a scheduling conflict in the chapel. Later, services were scheduled on Sunday afternoons, a time when the chapel was available. In February the College, Vine Street, Woodlawn, 12th and Chestnut, Graham Street, Northside, Fort Phantom, Highland, 11th and Willis, Plum and Wilson, Russell Avenue, and T & P Lane congregations generously contributed to a fund for the construction of a building so that the Dyess congregation could plan services without depending upon the availability of the chapel. College Church purchased a site on Texas Avenue, near the east gate of Dyess, for the new building; several families from College Church and other Abilene churches joined with the group from the base to help establish the Baker Heights church. The first services at the new location were held on May 14, 1961.

Elders and deacons were appointed in 1966, with Barney Alsobrook, Bert Brazell, Bob Childress, and Lee Jennings as the first elders and Wayne Beaty, Amos Ray, and Morris Ward as the first deacons. Current elders’ and deacons’ names and contact information are printed at the beginning of each membership directory.

In 1964, John P. Shero, Jr., became the first full-time minister for Baker Heights, serving until 1972. He was followed by Dale Randolph (1972-73), Don Pearson (1973-76), Bob Connel (1976-85), Stan Reid (1985-89) Jimmy Jividen (1989-1995), Jack English (1995-2001), Karl King (2002-2004), Charles North and Mike Tackett (2005-2007), Gary Montgomery (2007-2008), Steve Smith (2008-2012) and in September 2012 Wes McAdams came to us from Hot Springs, Arkansas.

On March 26, 1995, approximately 100 members (including 3 elders and 7 deacons) agreed to be the "seed" group for a new church to reach the southeast portion of Abilene where there was no church and to build on recently acquired property on Oldham Lane. In that 45 minute organizational meeting the vision begun in 1958 came full circle when Oldham Lane Church of Christ was born.

Baker Heights Church of Christ, established because of the evangelistic spirit of other congregations, has retained the same tradition. In addition to local mission efforts such as personal evangelism, Saturday schools, vacation Bible schools, lectureships, city campaigns and Children's Bible Class (CBC), Baker Heights has supported or assisted missionaries in several foreign countries, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, England, Zambia, Nigeria, Brazil, the Ukraine and Russia, Haiti, China, Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Romania, Swaziland, Indonesia, Japan, Panama, Portugal and Greece. A large portion of the membership of Baker Heights consists of military personnel who are subject to transfer. These members, upon leaving Baker Heights, determine to carry the Word wherever the Air Force sends them. Thus, the evangelistic zeal that produced the Baker Heights congregation over forty years ago is alive and well today in the programs of the church and in the lives of individual Christians.