The Lord put a burden on the hearts of two men for this work to be done among Texas Missionary Baptists. These two men were: James T. Moon, Pastor of Harvey Creek Baptist Church, Broaddus, Texas and Leroy Smith, Pastor for Sulphur Springs Baptist Church, Mt. Enterprise. They began to pray about the possibility of having a building program which would be beneficial to the missions and churches of our Missionary Baptist work. After much prayer and counsel with other preachers, a meeting was called to discuss the organization of a building program for the Missionary Baptist churches of Texas. Those present at the first meeting were: Brethren Wade Duck, James T. Moon, Calvin Gould, Marlin Freeman, Leroy Smith, Sr., and Johnny Penney, Deacon of Sulphur Springs Baptist Church. Those present talked about how to set up such a program. After prayer and much discussion, it was agreed upon to begin the work under the sponsorship of Sulphur Springs Baptist Church, Mt. Enterprise. It was agreed that this program should be called the Texas Mission Builders. Bro. Donald Britton was present with those named above at this second meeting. Sulphur Springs Baptist Church approved the program suggested by the above men and on February 2, 1986, the Texas Mission Builders program became a long awaited reality. On this day the Sulphur Springs Baptist Church adopted Brethren Wade Duck, James T. Moon, Calvin Gould, Marlin Freeman, Leroy Smith, Sr., and Johnny Penney, as Trustees for the program. Bro. Leroy Smith was elected Director of the program. On March 2, 1986, the church approved six men who would be called coordinators. Bro. Donald Britton was elected a trustee on this day. The coordinators were to keep the churches of their local associations informed as to the working status and needs of TMB. Also, they were to encourage people in their associations to come out and help with the labor on these jobs. The Trustees were given the power to approve or disapprove the job requests as they came in and were also asked to help the sponsoring church with advice and recommendations about things which would help the program. Bro. Johnny Penney was elected treasurer for TMB and was asked to give the church a monthly finance report. The sponsoring church enlisted the help of her sister churches for finance and labor. The response was tremendous. Finances began coming in from sister churches and individuals all over the state. Laborers from all over the state became involved in helping with the work.
There was an immediate revelation of the money that could be saved for the churches through this program. When TMB began this work, building costs were approximately $30 per sq. ft. (contract price). Today, they are approximately $60 plus (contract price). TMB has saved 30 to 50 percent of building costs for the churches who used their services. Many other benefits have also been realized.
Some of these are:
- Opportunity for individuals to become personally involved in mission work.
- A spiritual growth through fellowship with people in the Texas work that otherwise would be unknown.
- A further solidifying of the work in Texas.
- A way to give to missions and churches other than through prayer and finance.
- A way to learn skills which would help individuals is better servants of their home churches.
- Earning rewards in heaven, etc.
At the State Messenger Meeting of the Missionary Baptist Association of Texas in 1986, the messengers voted to include a copy of the Texas Mission Builders report in the state year book each year. Texas Mission Builders has been chosen for a state project by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Missionary Baptist Association three times since 1989. First, in the 1989-90 meeting to help purchase the second set of tools for TMB; in the 1992-93 meeting to help purchase new office equipment for the TMB office, and in the 1994-95 meeting for the land and building fund for the TMB shop building. Texas Mission Builders has helped many of our Texas missions and churches to have facilities they could not afford before. Many smaller churches and missions of the Texas work have taken advantage of this program to be able to advance their work for God. It was stated that every ABA church in Texas would be eligible for assistance from this program. This rule has since been changed to state that no requests for help would be accepted from churches who had not been actively involved in ABA work for at least three years.
Texas Mission Builders was set up as a non-profit organization supported by the Missionary Baptist Churches of Texas. With their funds TMB has acquired many tools, much equipment, and enough financial support to have one full-time and two part-time workers. At this time there are five other part time workers being supported by various churches in our work and a host of volunteers who are very much appreciated.
In the beginning, workers used their own vehicles and trailers to transport what few tools were available. Many brought their own tools to the jobs. Church members on the job locations put the workers up in their homes at night and saw to it that they were fed. Soon after the beginning of Texas Mission Builders, an old school bus was donated to haul tools and workers in. Once, while in route to a job, the bus broke down and had to be left by the side of the road until it could be hauled in. In May of 1987, TMB purchased their first truck (a 1987 three quarter ton Chevrolet). Sulphur Springs Baptist Church stepped out on faith and made a loan for this truck. Word was spread to the churches of this news and with their help the truck was paid for in only a few months.
TMB has worked on a total of 168 projects since it began in February of 1986. Multi-millions of dollars have been saved for our churches in Texas during that time. TMB has come a long way since its beginning because God has blessed in such a wonderful way this work that He ordained.
In October, 1994 Sulphur Springs Baptist Church let it be known at one of the coordinators meetings that they felt they had done all they could do to help TMB and would like for one of their sister churches to accept the responsibility of sponsorship. On November 9, 1994 the Sulphur Springs Baptist Church voted in conference to transfer the sponsorship of Texas Mission Builders to the East Side Missionary Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Texas if they were willing to accept it. East Side Missionary Baptist Church voted to accept the sponsorship and the transfer was made. After the sponsorship transfer there were some changes made. The boards of trustees were relieved of their duties and a board of directors and a group of coordinators were elected by East Side MBC. Directors were: Brethren B. A. Morris, Sammy Eldredge, Jerry Morris, Howard Chastain, Calvin Gould, Darrel Owens, and Donald Britton. Officers of the board of directors elected were: Brethren Calvin Gould, President; Darrell Owens, Vice-President; Donald Britton, Secretary; Bro. Leroy Smith’s title was changed to supervisor. Since then, Bro. B. A. Morris has been replaced by Bro. Jerry Parr on the board. In the early part of 2008 it became evident that Bro. Smith had a serious heart problem and it was becoming more and more difficult for him to perform his duties as he felt he needed to. Bro. Smith felt it would soon be necessary for him to step down from the supervisor’s position because of his health. A recommendation to the directors and sponsoring church by Bro. Smith was made to consider Bro. Mike Pearson as a replacement for the office of supervisor. In February, 2009 Bro. Smith retired as supervisor and Bro. Mike Pearson was installed as the new supervisor of TMB. Bro. Smith accepted a less demanding position in Texas Mission Builders. Bro. Pearson was a blessing sent from God! He is a member of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church of Waco. He had long wished for the opportunity to work with Texas Mission Builders. Bro. Pearson is a very dedicated servant of the Lord. He brought with him many talents and much experience in building. One of the things he brought with him was the knowledge and ability to construct metal buildings, something TMB had never been able to do before. This proved to be a great blessing to the churches in our work. The Texas Mission Builders would now be able to help even more churches in Texas. Coordinators have changed from time to time, mainly because preachers move around. Their work is vital, as is the work of each officer, worker, prayer warrior, and financial supporter. Together, they have accomplished great things for the cause of Christ.
Current coordinators are: Brethren Calvin Gould, Mike Pearson, Leroy Smith, Gary Griffith, Rushing Lambert, Raymond Smith, Leymoin Wiggins, Bubba Hart, Ervin Gould, Charles Franklin, and Jim Slocumb of Texas Mission Development. There have been many other tools and pieces of equipment added to our supply which are not listed in this article. God has wonderfully supplied our needs through the years. We still have needs; it takes a lot to keep this program functioning. God has been faithful to supply the needs of TMB through the churches and individuals who serve in the Missionary Baptist Association of Texas and it is our belief that He will continue to do so. God has used both Sulphur Springs Baptist Church and East Side Missionary Baptist Church in a great way to advance the work of Texas Mission Builders. However, this program began in the mind of God and it still works through His leadership today.