The First Thirty Years - Sugar Land Baptist Church

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The First Thirty Years - Sugar Land Baptist Church
Sugar Land Baptist Church
The First Thirty Years
Celebrating Thirty Years of Ministry
Forward
Welcome to a brief historical overview of the Thirty Year History of Sugar Land Baptist
Church. The Church was born from a vision for reaching Fort Bend County with the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. Those early visionaries probably could not have imagined the impact of their
dream after thirty years. We have been blessed with wonderful spiritual leadership
throughout our history. It is because of this leadership that we give glory to God in the
celebration of these thirty years. Enjoy looking back with gratitude, while looking forward
with faith.
The Mission Statement of Sugar Land Baptist Church:
Connecting People —
with God
with Each Other
with the World
This historical account was researched and written by the Sugar Land 30th Anniversary
Historical Committee (Mike Allenspach, Chair) and the Staff of Sugar Land Baptist Church.
Special recognition and appreciation goes to Janet Brown for the cover art.
THE FIRST GENERATION
A Story of the First Thirty Years of Sugar Land Baptist Church
1982 - 2012
A STORY TO BE TOLD
A rich and storied tradition lies behind the beautiful exterior of the red brick building
located at 16755 Southwest Freeway. It is the story of a winding path travelled by
Christian pioneers who wrestled with difficult questions like: “What should we do next?”
or, “Where will we find a pastor to lead?” or, “How will we ever pay for this?” There were
not always simple answers. But, the one thing they did know was to trust God, wait, and
watch Him work.
HISTORY COMES FULL CIRCLE
There has been an interesting “circle of life” regarding the name on the front of the
church now located at 16755 Southwest Freeway. One of the most recent significant
events in our history was our name change to Sugar Land Baptist Church. When one
researches the lineage of our church, the family tree looks like this:
1914 – 1949
Sugar Land Baptist Church
1949 – 1982
First Baptist Church of Sugar Land
1982 – 2010
Williams Trace Baptist Church
2010 - Present
Sugar Land Baptist Church
Who, on September 14, 1914, in a little one room schoolhouse, could have imagined the
interesting and long legacy that Sugar Land Baptist Church was about to begin? Those
first services nearly a century ago were held once a month, with a business meeting
following the worship service. Rev. G. H. Williams led in organizing the new church with
eleven members. In 1925 the little schoolhouse was blown down in a storm. A larger
school was built and church services resumed.
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Over the decades the congregation grew, new buildings were constructed, and land
was purchased from the Imperial Sugar Company. There was even a neon sign
constructed in front of the church at one period. In February 1949, the church decided
to change its name from Sugar Land Baptist Church to First Baptist Church of Sugar Land.
(It continued its work under that name for many decades, and still survives today in “old
Sugar Land” under the name: The Bridge Fellowship).
WILLIAMS TRACE BAPTIST CHURCH IS PLANTED IN 1982
Fast forward several decades. It began as all churches should begin, with a vision by
God’s faithful people to multiply His kingdom. These were men and women full of faith,
men and women who were willing to be called by God to do extraordinary things for His
glory.
The date was January 31, 1982 when First Baptist Church (FBC), Sugar Land, Texas held a
commissioning service for ten families and a single adult who were embarking on a great
venture. They were to be the instrument that the Lord would use to establish a new
Baptist Mission in the First Colony area of Sugar Land, Texas. These families from FBC
made a solemn commitment to work, pray, be faithful, and to be givers in all areas in
establishing this new mission church.
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There had been a need identified in this developing suburb of Houston, and the fields
were definitely “white for harvest”. First Colony was conceived in 1976 when Sugarland
Properties, Inc. (SPI) acquired 7,500 acres from the parent company of Imperial Sugar.
SPI subsequently purchased more land, and by 1982 there were approximately 11,000
residents in the First Colony area. In addition, there were the neighboring communities of
Quail Valley, Sugar Creek and Pecan Grove, as well as numerous other planned
communities on the drawing board. The Wall Street Journal and other national
publications ranked Fort Bend County among the nation’s ten fastest growing counties
for over 15 years.
First Baptist Church, Sugar Land had already laid a solid foundation. Brother Bill Bowen,
who came to First Baptist, Sugar Land as Pastor in January, 1981, was approached by Mr.
Orville Roberts of the State Board of Missions in July, 1981. Mr. Roberts had been working
to establish a Mission in the First Colony area for three years, but had been unable to find
a sponsor for it. He asked First Baptist Church, Sugar Land to be the Mother Church of the
New Mission.
After his meeting with Mr. Roberts, Brother Bowen went to FBC’s Missions Committee and
the Church body with Roberts’ proposal. After much prayer and discussion, a
cooperative agreement was signed between FBC and the San Felipe Baptist Association
on October 7, 1981. First Baptist Church, Sugar Land was committed.
The Missions Committee then went to work. A letter was sent to each family in FBC asking
them to pray about helping to establish the Mission. Lists were compiled and studied.
Eventually, the list was narrowed to 39 people, including children. All agreed to serve as
“missionaries”. The eleven founding families were:

Glenn and Cheryl Miears (Chad and Shane)

Andy and Martha Ramos (Lisa, Sandra and Andy)

Don and Gatha Hogan (Valerie)

Mac and Betty Norman

Ken and Linda English (Brad and Kevin)
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
Vivian Pamplin

Mike and Barbara Rozell (Amy and Michael)

Joe and Ahonna Engelke (Rebecca and Andrea)

James and Colleen Babineaux (Jason, Jamilyn, Joelle and Jared)

Neal and Linda Quillin (John and Susie)

Sam and Stephanie Cauthen
These families began a series of meetings. Every Tuesday evening in January, 1982, they
met together with Brother Bill Bowen to organize the new Church. At the end of four
meetings, these missionaries had set up an entire Sunday School, Missions Program and
Music Ministry.
During the month of January, the eleven families handed out three separate flyers
announcing the establishment of Williams Trace Baptist Church (WTBC) to the residents of
1,500 homes in the First Colony area. The final announcement went out February 6th, the
day before WTBC opened its doors for the first time. The name Williams Trace came from
a road (the Spanish word Trace for road) and Samuel May Williams, Stephen F. Austin’s
landman (the person responsible for granting land tracts to new settlers )when Austin
was settling the first three hundred families in what would become Texas. It was Williams
Road.
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On February 7, 1982, Williams Trace Baptist Church held its first worship service in Colony
Bend Elementary School. The first Sunday went smoothly. Coffee and doughnuts were
provided and there was fellowship time as people mingled before Sunday School class.
There was great excitement in the air and those who were a part of that first day
remember feeling the Lord at work. Many who visited ended up joining the church and
there was even one, Brenda Bucy, who joined that very first day.
The members of the mother church decided that the original tract of land made
available by developers for the Mission was not an ideal site. However, Sugarland
Properties, Inc. then released a 5-acre tract at the corner of Williams Trace Boulevard
and Austin Parkway for purchase.
After prayer and negotiation, on February 18, 1982, the 5-acre tract of land across the
street from Colony Bend Elementary School was purchased for the sum of $185,130,
($0.85 per square foot). The Baptist Church Loan Corporation financed the property
purchase. Trustees of First Baptist Church, Sugar Land, executed the note, which called
for repayment of all principal and interest (at 12%) in three years. However, no interest
payments were required to be made within the three-year period unless the Mission was
financially able to do so.
UNDER WAY
To begin its ministry, Williams Trace Baptist
Church needed a leader of proven
abilities. Such a leader was found in Dr.
Robert Newell, who was serving on the
faculty of Houston Baptist University. Dr.
Newell was accustomed to shepherding
pastorless flocks. He had been an interim
pastor for several Houston churches over
the years, and served in that capacity at
First Baptist Church, Sugar Land, where he
was remembered with respect and
affection.
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Dr. Newell received a call back in October, 1981 from FBC’s Pastor Bowen. Brother Bill
asked if he would be interested in being interim minister for a new Mission in First Colony.
Dr. Newell had never pastored a Mission but told Bowen he would be interested in doing
so.
Early in January, 1982, Dr. Newell met with the Pastor Search Committee for WTBC. Later
in the month, the Committee extended the call to Dr. Newell. He accepted. Dr. Newell
was interim Pastor for Williams Trace Baptist Church from February 7, 1982 until August
15th of that year.
During his months at WTBC, Dr. Newell led the worship services, conducted the business
meetings, and pastored the flock. He also established the Church Council, which was
designed to keep the church on a steady course.
OUR FIRST FULL-TIME PASTOR
In the meantime, a Pastor Search Committee was formed of five people. Three church
members: Andy Ramos (Chairman), Betty Norman, and Mike Rozell were from the
Mission. The representatives from FBC Sugar Land were Benny Carter and Rita Turner. The
Committee set its priorities and goals, and then went to work.
As resumes came in, they were screened and a number of candidates were sent a
questionnaire. Those completed questionnaires were reviewed and references were
checked. One man in particular captured everyone’s attention. In June, 1982, the
Committee met with Ken Corr. Ken was a graduate of Auburn University and held a
Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was ordained in
August, 1977 at the First Baptist Church, Auburn, Alabama. Ken served in numerous roles
at various churches in Alabama before coming to Houston Baptist University in 1980,
where he was serving as Director of Student Life.
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The Committee then went to hear Ken
preach at Second Baptist, Pasadena.
After meeting with him and his wife,
Denise, that afternoon the Committee
voted unanimously to recommend that
Kenneth A. Corr become Williams Trace
Baptist Church’s first full-time pastor.
In the weeks that followed, there were
meetings and receptions to allow church
members and the Corr family to get to
know each other. On Sunday, July 18th,
Ken delivered a sermon in the morning
worship service in view of a call.
Immediately afterward, the church called
itself into special session and voted to call
Ken as Pastor, a call that Ken accepted
wholeheartedly. On August 22, 1982,
Kenneth A. Corr officially became the first Pastor of Williams Trace Baptist Church.
THE EARLY YEARS
The Church flourished under Pastor Corr and strong lay leadership. Glenn Miears was the
Superintendent of Sunday School. His responsibilities included the entire Sunday School
program, from recruitment of teachers, to curriculum selection, to training. The
foundation of WTBC was laid with solid Bible teaching and God blessed the Church with
a spirit of excitement and phenomenal growth. Attendance at Williams Trace Baptist’s
first Sunday School in February, 1982 was 81 members and visitors. A year later, that figure
had grown to 164.
Some of the most often overheard comments of visitors to WTBC were things like: “The
members of this congregation are so young”, and “There are so many children”. The
demographics of WTBC reflected those of First Colony and its surrounding area, and
offered a youthful exuberance to help fuel the growth of the church.
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In those early years, two-thirds of the average Sunday School attendance on any given
Sunday was members of the pre-school, children, and/or youth departments. Therefore,
half of the adults present on Sunday morning taught Sunday School in order for it to be
fully staffed. In the fall of 1982, Pastor Corr performed his first baptism for the church when
he baptized Pat and Cindi Hogan.
The congregation learned to enjoy worship in the elementary school’s Commons area
(cafeteria), with Ken preaching from the wooden pulpit on-stage. The membership
became accustomed to setting up chairs, tables and free-standing SS class dividers
each Sunday before church, and putting them away after they were done; it was a
community effort after worship each week. All of WTBC’s possessions were crammed into
one of the school’s storage closets at the left side of the stage, to be used again the
following Sunday. As the Church grew, it even became necessary to hold adult Sunday
School classes off-site at the homes of members. Tuesday night outreach rendezvoused
at builder John St. John’s model home in the Sweetwater subdivision before going out
into the community to meet visitors who had attended services that week.
Ken Corr matured as Pastor and leader. He refined his preaching skills from WTBC’s pulpit,
and at some point introduced from there the fictitious couple of Connie and William
Trace. Ken would periodically regale the congregation with stories of this family
struggling through life like the rest of us. People would often wonder if Pastor Corr was
making some sort of subtle reference to them, as these practical sermon messages often
hit close to home.
In August 1984, WTBC called Pam Tanner as Minister of Music. There was some engaging
discussion about bringing a woman on board as a staff member, but in the end, the
matter was overwhelmingly approved by the congregation.
During 1984, the Constitution and By-laws Committee began drafting the formal
documents necessary to guide WTBC once it decided to cease being a mission of FBC,
Sugar Land, and become an independent church. The Committee reviewed the
documents of numerous area churches in order to borrow the best ideas from other
congregations. Many important issues were debated and decided, including women’s
role in church leadership, formation of the Diaconate, description of church officers and
committees, and determination of procedures to follow in conducting the business of
the church. After months of researching, writing, and re-writing, a Constitution and Bylaws were presented to the church body for approval. In the Fall of 1984, Ken Corr led
WTBC to be constituted as a church with 300 members.
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THE FIRST BUILDING
During 1984, the Church made plans and raised funds to build its first facilities, a
combination worship and education building. “Committed to Growth” was the
campaign slogan and its goal was to raise $500,000 toward the new building. Church
member Pat Hogan, a civil engineer by trade, was named Building Committee
Chairman. Pat and his Committee put in tireless hours working with an architect. The
building budget had been set at approximately $700,000. Finally, plans were completed
for a very contemporary looking church building utilizing a steel-frame structure. The
plans were distributed to contractors for bid, and the bidding process began.
What happened next was a complete shock to everyone! The lowest bid submitted was
nearly two times the budget that had been established. It was time to regroup. The
architect, maybe the most surprised of all, agreed to redesign the building at no
additional cost. The new design eliminated the steel skeleton in favor a more
economical timber structure. The look was much closer to a traditional Baptist church,
with red brick and tall white pillars guarding the front door of the sanctuary. Bids
received for this building were more in line with the budget and the church voted to
move ahead with construction of its first building on the Williams Trace property.
On July 15, 1985, the still very young church gathered on its five-acre site across the
street from Colony Bend Elementary School and broke ground for the construction of its
first building. It was a sunny afternoon and everyone walked across the street from the
elementary school after that morning’s worship service. Pastor Corr, Pat Hogan and
others turned the first spade full of dirt to mark this significant event in WTBC history.
Construction progressed and by winter the red brick shell and interior framing was
complete. A Christmas Eve service was held in the unfinished sanctuary, with everyone
standing around the stacks of drywall in the unheated sanctuary. Members prayed, read
scripture and sang Silent Night as candles were lighted around the circle of people
gathered in a dimly lit, cold room. It was a moving experience for all those that dreamed
the dream together.
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But, by the time of the move-in, the Church had already outgrown the new facility! As a
result, the educational space in the new building was used only by the Children, PreSchool and Youth; adult Sunday School continued to meet off-campus in homes and
businesses. WTBC’s growth continued.
MATURING AS A CHURCH
In 1986, the church voted to ordain deacons in the Church. A Deacon Ministry Plan was
outlined for the deacons that focused on family ministry. Each deacon was assigned a
number of families to look after and act as their caretaker. The Church held its first
ordination service on January 11, 1987 for the first deacons of WTBC. Pam Tanner was
also ordained in that same service. Williams Trace Baptist Church’s first diaconate
included:
Mike Allenspach
Lee Baldwin
David Brothers
Sam Cauthen
Mark Davisson
Joe Engelke
Ken English
Alden Fontenot
Steve Foster
Bill Gallagher
Gary Hinkle
Joe Knight
Ed Nicholas
Dayle Presswood
Scott Preston
Andy Ramos
Mike Rozell
John St. John
David Stromatt
Edgar Tanner
In August 1987, WTBC added another full-time staff member. Reverend Eddie Alley, on
the staff of a local Houston Church, was called as Associate Pastor to help meet the
needs of a growing and thriving congregation. Eddie was given responsibility for the
Church’s Sunday School education and worked with teachers in organizing their lessons.
By October 1987, the Church had also outgrown its worship space and began meeting
in two Sunday morning worship services.
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A SECOND BUILIDNG
It was soon recognized that additional educational space was needed to
accommodate the steady growth in Sunday School attendance. While meeting in
homes had become “second nature” to most, there was a longing to be back together
in one place. And so, a second building program was launched in February 1989,
appropriately called “Growing Together”. God moved again in the hearts of so many,
calling upon members to pledge a sacrificial giving of $1.2 million over a three-year
period to fund the Educational Building.
A Building Committee was formed, again led by
Pat Hogan. By this time, an architect had already
been retained to design the new space and
groundbreaking was held later that year, in 1989.
As part of the project, other modifications were
also completed to the original building. The nonload-bearing walls in the Pastor’s office and preschool area were knocked out to create a large
fellowship hall area next to the kitchen, complete with movable divider walls and wall-towall carpet. This new larger space allowed the previous dining area to be incorporated
into the sanctuary, increasing seating to 450 for worship. The staff offices and
administration space were greatly expanded and moved to the front hallway. The
construction caused some dust and inconvenience, but no one seemed to mind too
much. In fact, for a while, everyone became quite accustomed to the plastic wall hung
by the contractor at the back of the sanctuary, separating the ongoing mayhem from
the worship service.
Overall, the construction went smoothly and
the new Education Building was put into use
in October 1990, just in time for the new SS
year. It added more than 20,000 square feet
of classroom space and became home to
kindergarten through high school Sunday
School classes. The Adult SS moved their
classes back into the main sanctuary
building, and everyone was back on
campus again!
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BUILDING ON THE FOUNDATION
The Church continued to grow, emphasizing bible study through Sunday School classes.
Fellowship and outreach programs were designed around Sunday School, as the agegraded classes offered the most practical method to create intimacy in a growing
Church body. Although the numbers swelled, there remained a family atmosphere in
WTBC.
In September of 1990, the Church called its first full-time Minister of Youth, John Wiltshire.
By September 1991, the Church had again outgrown its educational and worship
facilities. A third worship service was instituted at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, and a second
Sunday School was begun. WTBC began a weekday preschool ministry in 1991 with the
beginning of Children’s Day Out (CDO). Classes were held during Tuesdays and
Thursdays in the Education Building. A third day was soon added and WTBC secured
formal certification from the State of Texas.
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TEN YEARS AND TIME TO REFOCUS
1992 was a pivotal year in the history of WBC. In 1992 the Church celebrated its 10th
anniversary, using the theme “Building on the Foundation”, to celebrate the firm
foundation that had been built, and built upon, since 1982.
It was during this year, that the Church elected a Long Range Planning Committee (nine
members and the pastor), to consider WTBC’s mission and to make plans for its future.
This group met to clarify the identity, purpose and ministry plans for WTBC’s future. Using
prayer, reflection, various forms of conversation and survey, the Committee unanimously
penned the following mission statement:
“The focus and mission of Williams Trace Baptist Church is to be led by the Holy Spirit to
share the gospel of Jesus Christ, to train all in Biblical truth and to include each one in a
community of faith and fellowship.”
An important outcome of this group was the creation of a church Missions Committee to
involve the congregation in hands-on ministry. A Committee was nominated and began
leading the church in missions involvement in 1993. The staff also responded to the
church’s interest in mission work and initiated ministries to the homeless and poor. Many
church members became involved in the downtown Houston ministry of Loaves & Fishes,
which serves daily meals to the needy. (In fact, SLBC members remain active today in
this ministry). There was also a missions project started with the low income area of Four
Corners, located less than five miles away from First Colony, at Christmas time and
throughout the year. There was a concerted effort to transport several children from Four
Corners to the church’s Vacation Bible School program in the summer.
Another significant mission project was completed in the summer of 1994. An opportunity
was presented by WTBC’s ministers to raise money and resources to build a church in San
Elizario, a small Hispanic village southeast of El Paso, Texas. A brick church building was
outlined on one of the hallway bulletin boards, with the theme that each $100 brick
donation would allow WTBC to build this building. Forty thousand dollars was raised in less
than three months, and plans were made. Church member Jim McGregor was the
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project architect and developed all of the drawings in his spare time. A team of twentyfive WTBC members, with building materials in-tow, made the journey. When they
arrived, a bare 2,500 square-foot concrete slab, (poured the week before), and piles of
lumber building materials greeted them. The area included no running water or sewer, so
a well-point water system was constructed and a septic tank was installed to create the
only full-functioning plumbing system in the area. After seven long days of tireless work, a
completed church building stood on what was previously a dusty plot of ground. The
local Hispanic congregation was eternally grateful and most WTBC members agreed
that they left San Elizario forever changed.
Finally, the Long Range Planning Committee recommended the formation of a Building
Steering Committee to study our church’s physical plant needs and options. The
Committee was formed and began its work in 1993, under the leadership of Pat Hogan,
a long-time WTBC member and former Building Committee chairman. The Committee
spent more than one year surveying the church membership, researching demographics
and population growth projections for First Colony (and the surrounding area),
investigating building and relocation options, and leading the church in prayer and
discussion of relocation issues. After exhaustive study and research, the Committee
brought a recommendation to the church, in November 1993, that WTBC sell its present
property and relocate within the First Colony area to a larger site.
GROWING PAINS
The decision to move did not come easily. There were many informational meetings
held, (and spirited debate), for the benefit of the membership prior to the vote. The
general consensus of the ad-hoc Building Committee was that the present site was “land
locked” and WTBC would require offsite parking with shuttle buses to accommodate
significant growth, due to the lack of available land for on-site parking spaces. At a
business meeting in December 1993, the church voted by a 64% majority to pursue the
relocation of WTBC to a larger tract of land within First Colony.
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There was, however, a significant minority who held a different vision for WTBC’s future
course and direction. Within months after the decision to relocate was approved, the
congregation found itself in the middle of a painfully emotional dispute that soon
resulted in a split of its membership. In February 1994, a group of about forty families left,
for reasons of conscious, to begin another Baptist church in the area. In all, more than
150 members left WTBC due to the church split.
The year following the split was a period of healing and a renewal of commitments.
Although membership dropped substantially, those that remained were committed to
the vision adopted by the Church.
A formal Building Committee had been elected in 1994 to investigate various available
properties in First Colony, financing options and a comprehensive appraisal of the
current facilities. Because of his previous involvement with the Long Range Planning
Committee and Building Steering Committee, David Brothers, Jr. was asked to chair the
Building Committee. The Committee laid low for most of 1994 in order for the Church to
regroup. However, the Church was receiving unsolicited inquiries, (in fact, two letters of
intent), to purchase WTBC’s current property, and some decisions needed to be made
regarding relocation.
At the end of 1994, Pastor Ken Corr
resigned to answer a call from the
historic First Baptist Church,
Memphis, Tennessee. The Church
celebrated Ken’s twelve and one
half years of ministry, friendship
and leadership before bidding a
sorrowful farewell to all of the Corr
family in February 1995. Dr. Corr,
(Ken had earned his doctorate
from Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary) provided
inspirational leadership during his tenure as Pastor, bringing Williams Trace to the
launching point for its next great adventure.
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WANDERING IN THE WILDERNESS
In February 1995, the Building Committee issued a report to the congregation stating: “It
has now been one year since the memorable February 1994 business meeting. Although
healing may not be 100% complete at this time, the Church has come a long way in the
past year. We have regained some of our confidence and are in the process of
regaining our strong sense of mission to this community. . . . The Building Committee is still
very committed to expanding our facilities.”
The Church needed leadership, and soon after Ken’s departure from the pulpit, WTBC
called Dr. Winfred Moore, as its Interim
Pastor in March 1995. Dr. Moore, long
time pastor of First Baptist Church,
Amarillo, Texas, (who was serving on
faculty at Baylor University at the
time), agreed to travel to Sugar Land
each weekend to preach and
provide leadership. It did not take
long for Dr. Moore to catch hold of
the WTBC vision and embrace it as his
own. His encouragement, enthusiasm,
and wise counsel inspired the
membership of WTBC to move ahead
on faith, to believe that God would show us the proper path and provide the means to a
new pastor and a new location.
This was also a very busy time for the Church’s Personnel Committee. In May 1995, after
an extensive search, John Moore arrived on Mothers’ Day Sunday to permanently fill the
Youth Minister position. John, a Baylor graduate with four years of youth ministry
experience, was called after recently graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological
Seminary in Fort Worth with a Masters of Divinity degree.
At Winfred Moore’s urging, the Building Committee aggressively went to work studying
the feasibility of relocating WTBC to a new, larger location. In April 1995, the Church
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property (5.0 acres) and the combined facilities (36,499 square feet) were appraised at
a value of $2.4 million. Although the Church had over $100,000 cash in the bank, its
service debt for the facilities stood at about $800,000. Even with the proceeds from the
sale of the current property, a significant amount of money would be needed from the
bank to purchase the land and build a new facility. However, the climate in the financial
community at that time was not amenable to loaning large sums of money to churches,
especially those in transition such as WTBC.
MORE THAN COINCIDENCE
But God stirred in late summer. In the period of a few days in August 1995, the
momentum “unexplainably” turned. David Brothers reported in a letter, dated August
31st, from the Building Committee that: “As you recall, our bank had previously taken the
position that they were totally uninterested in loaning money to us while we were without
a pastor. On Monday of this week, [we] went back to our banker, [who] since our last
meeting . . . was promoted to the position of Bank President. After making our
presentation to him, [he] stated that he had “a change of heart” regarding our church.
He admitted that he was changing his position 180 degrees, but he believes that the
window of opportunity to buy land is now and ‘would love to loan us one million dollars’
to help us in this effort.” Brothers went on to say that he was, to his surprise, able to
schedule a meeting on very short notice with Sugarland Properties Inc. (SPI) regarding
available tracts of land. Unfortunately, two of the three relocation sites previously under
consideration by WTBC a year before had been committed for other land uses, including
the site at U.S. Highway 59 (the Southwest Freeway) and Sweetwater Blvd. After
repeated inquiry regarding the highway property, they left the meeting with little
enthusiasm for the available land in First Colony. But God stirred again! Two days later, he
received a phone call from SPI saying the 15-acre tract on Highway 59 was available to
us after all!!!
A week later, WTBC discovered that it wasn’t the only church interested in the U.S. 59
property. Now, there was not only a swelling momentum to acquire the property, but a
sense of urgency as well. WTBC members David Brothers and Charlie Turner (a
commercial developer by occupation) went to work and negotiated an exclusivity deal
with SPI for the land, if the money could be raised by mid-January 1996. A campaign
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was quickly launched in October to determine the feasibility of raising $500,000 to
supplement a one million dollar “bridge loan” from the bank to buy the land. The
congregation was asked to return pledge cards by October 29th in order to assess
whether the necessary funds could be raised before January.
Winfred Moore urged the congregation with bold Sunday morning sermons, saying things
like: “Make no little plans, make only big plans”. He met with the Building Committee in
person when he could, and corresponded by letter and phone when he couldn’t,
always showing support and asking the Church to trust God. He was a hard charger.
Always, his conviction could be felt in the compelling challenges he laid down, to rise up
and lead the community to faith in Jesus Christ. It was just what the Church needed at
this point in its faith journey. Again, God provided.
A PASTOR ARRIVES TO CARRY THE TORCH
During this same time, a Pastor Search Committee was formed, led by Dr. Dennis Halford.
The members of the Committee were Jim Cox, Wes Whitfield, Shannon Allen, Karen
Awalt, Gael Thompson, Ann Brothers, Glenna Knight, David Forson, and James Evans.
The Committee reviewed countless resumes and traveled to listen to several candidates
preach. Finally, the Committee came before the Church in a special called Business
Meeting and announced that they had found the ideal candidate for WTBC. In
November 1995, after more than eight months of pastor search, the church called Dr.
Phil Lineberger to become its full-time pastor. Dr. Lineberger was pastor at that time at
First Baptist Church Tyler, Texas, where he had served for four years. Dr. Lineberger had
served in many capacities with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, including two
terms as President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, presiding over the two
largest Annual Convention Meetings in Baptist General Convention of Texas history, 8000
Messengers in Houston, Texas in 1990 and 12000 Convention Messengers in 1991. An
ordinary Convention attendance would be between 2500 and 4000. Because of the
Baylor Charter Change these two convention meetings set record attendances as well
as record anger. Dr. Lineberger enthusiastically accepted the call of Pastor, due largely
to the growth potential of Williams Trace and the Church’s desire to reach others in Ft.
Bend County with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Phil first received his call to preach while serving as Assistant Trainer on the football
coaching staff from 1969-1972, under the legendary coach Frank Broyles at the University
of Arkansas. (Phil entered the University of Arkansas on a football scholarship in 1964,
playing for Coach Frank Broyles. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business
Administration in January, 1969). He earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1975 from
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, while serving as Associate
Pastor of the largest Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas, and later earned a Doctor of
Ministry Degree from the same Seminary in 1979, while serving as Pastor of the Calvary
Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. He and his wife, Brenda, served in ministry at
Calvary Baptist in Little Rock, Arkansas, Metropolitan Baptist in Wichita, Kansas, and The
Heights Baptist in Richardson, Texas, prior to First Baptist Church Tyler.
STEPS IN GROWTH
Dr. Lineberger hit the ground running on a rainy November evening, being taken to three
host homes to encourage fund raising even before the moving van was unloaded. This
helped the members increase the momentum to relocate Williams Trace to the new 15.5
-acre site located on the Southwest Freeway. The long, narrow tract included more than
1,500 linear feet of frontage along U.S. Highway 59 and, according to Pastor Phil, would
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be a visible landmark to in the Sugar Land community. Pastor Phil led a series of business
meetings to discuss the proposed site and the move, emphasizing the faith, vision and
sacrifice that would be required to complete this undertaking. A capital campaign was
then launched to raise the balance of the money required to purchase the land from
Sugarland Properties, Inc. at $2.70 per square foot, (a price offering well below the
market value of the adjacent commercial reserve). In addition to informational meetings
and letters, special dinners were held in November and December. Again, God
provided, as the membership responded by raising over $500,000 dollars in a threemonth period to purchase the land, with the help of the bank loan.
While the fundraising was occurring, the Building Committee put together a Feasibility
Study of the proposed tract to determine that the site would meet the future needs of
WTBC. Interestingly, a 100-year Chain of Title search revealed that the land was owned
by the Ed H. Cunningham & Co. in 1896 and subsequently passed through the hands of
several sugar companies over the decades until it was purchased by SPI in 1973. SPI sold
the land to Wilson Land Holding, Co. in 1979 and then reacquired it in 1984. After long
negotiations with SPI, WTBC would finalize on a 15.57-acre tract of land, for a total
purchase price of $1,767,026.20.
In a special called Business Meeting on March 20, 1996, the results of the Feasibility Study
were presented, along with potential financing scenarios. Then, a milestone motion was
made and passed. The Church voted overwhelmingly to purchase the new property on
the highway!
In the meantime, Dr. Dennis Halford (a deacon and Pulpit Committee Chairman when
Dr. Lineberger was called), and Dr. Lineberger worked with Mrs. Mary Phillips, a Church
real estate specialist to find a buyer for the Church’s existing property. A meeting with
the Calvary Baptist Church (a meeting arranged by David Brothers), about the possibility
of their buying our property failed in reaching an agreement. Finally, our neighbors
across the street, St. Laurence Catholic Parish, agreed to purchase the land and both
buildings as an educational site for $2,122,500 dollars. This was the necessary prerequisite
step for WTBC to move ahead with relocation plans.
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A TIME OF TRANSITION
The time to relocate could not come soon enough for WTBC. Sunday School and worship
attendance continued to swell, and because of the sale and interim leaseback
arrangement of the building with St. Laurence, it became necessary to explore other
options until the new building could be completed. In the Summer of 1996, the Building
Committee negotiated an agreement with Fort Bend ISD to rent the Clements H.S.
auditorium on Sunday mornings so that everyone in the WTBC family could worship
together. Sunday School classes were held in the old facilities, (now being leased back
from St. Laurence Parish), and afterwards everyone drove to the High School for worship.
It seemed a bit unwieldy at first, but the membership became accustomed to it and
adapted quite nicely.
The first Sunday in Clements High School Auditorium was August 25, 1996. The theme for
the interim was INHERITING THE PROMISE. The verse chosen as the theme verse for this
time was Joshua 3:5, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among
you.”
That first Sunday the deacons organized into twelve tribes, symbolizing the twelve tribes
of Israel going through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Deacon Chairman Jim Cox
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led his tribe into the Clements High School Auditorium, the tribe of Levi, carrying a large
banner with a Levi Jean Pocket on it. It was a great way to begin the journey to the new
location.
This was an amazing time of cooperation with other area churches. Before the sale of
our buildings, WTBC had agreed to lease space to Fort Bend Community Church, a
mission of the Houston Chinese Church. They desired to meet in the local area while their
building in Missouri City was completed. While WTBC worshipped at Clements H.S., the
mission worshipped in our building. When WTBC pre-school parents picked up their
children after worship, they were met with the delicious smell of Chinese food cooking
for lunch in WTBC’s kitchen. As another example of cooperation, our neighbor First
Colony Church of Christ allowed us to continue our CDO program in their facilities until
our new building was completed. For Sunday School the children met in the Montessori
School across from Clements High School and the Church met on Wednesday nights at
Christ United Methodist Church.
In November 1996, the Church hired Ms. Linda Sledge as Minister of Childhood
Education. Linda was a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois and was coming from
Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas. There was a collective feeling in the
congregation that the Church had reached a new level of commitment to our
Children’s Ministry.
In late 1996, a building fund drive was started, with a goal of $2.5 million to be given over
a three-year period. Lynn Halford, James and Marvene Eastham, and Rob and Susan
Hawkins led the fundraising effort. The stewardship campaign was called “Touching
Tomorrow Today”. The Scripture for this theme was Ephesian 4:16, “From him the whole
body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up
in love, as each part does its work.” Dr. Lineberger preached sermons of “shared
sacrifice”. To communicate information about the program, “evenings of support” were
held in the homes of several members over a period of weeks. On May 18, 1997 a
Celebration Sunday service was held to recognize the church membership that had
united to raise more than $2,712,000 in pledges. It looked as though a new building and
a new campus were going to become a reality.
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PLANNING THE NEXT PHASE
Meanwhile, the Building Committee, David Brothers, Chairman, Bobby Davis, Jim
McGregor, Mike Allenspach and Terry McCutcheon, was busy planning the new facility.
This team would meet each week in a portable office facility which sat near Bullhead
Slough on the South side of the property. Early on, a survey was sent to the membership
to assess the type of space that the congregation felt needed to be built on the new
highway property. In order to maximize input from the congregation, nine different
Design Input Teams were created to brainstorm ideas and set priorities for the different
aspects of the new building. Every area was considered, from worship, to kitchen, to
athletics, to interiors. The best ideas were assembled and given to our architects,
Merriman-Holt Architects, as input to their space planning and programming. It was
determined that a “multi-purpose” building would be appropriate for the needs of the
church at this time. There would be education space, a full service kitchen, and a
gymnasium with a stage that would serve as space for Sunday worship, as well as
fellowship events.
It was decided that the most prudent way to stay within the building budget would be to
select a contractor and negotiate a Fixed Price contract. After reviewing qualifications
and conducting interviews in June 1996, Brookstone Corporation from Houston was
selected as general contractor for the $5.225 million construction project.
As the architects moved into detailed design, the anticipation built with every
presentation to the congregation. One of the main architectural features of the new
building at 16755 Southwest Freeway was to be the sixteen-foot wide Main Street corridor
on the ground floor, intended to become the “spine” between all of the campus
buildings envisioned in the Site Master Plan. A unique tile-flooring scheme invited you
down the hallway to the kitchen serving area or to the pre-school classrooms located
along the hall. The building design contained a large open space on the third floor,
where Youth gatherings and events could be held if partition walls were moved.
The gymnasium design required the full imagination and design genius of WTBC’s
architects. The challenge was to construct a functional, recreational gym with enough
ambiance and acoustics to create a reverent and effective worship atmosphere. This
was to be accomplished with things like soft lighting, acoustical sound panels, and a
spacious and visually pleasing stage, wood flooring, and a state-of-the-art sound system
with a “crow’s nest” sound control booth in the rear of the room.
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CONSTRUCTION ON THE FREEWAY
Randy Hames, a deacon and local radio celebrity, and Dr. Lineberger came to the
property early one Sunday morning and filmed an interview casting a vision for what
could be expected. It was a surreal setting as Dr. Lineberger and Randy Hames looked
out across an open pasture at what would one day become a beautiful and majestic
church campus. Randy said to Pastor Phil when the interview ended, “Do you think we
will live long enough to see this happen?”
During the summer of 1997, a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new building took
place at the eastern end of the slender fifteen-acre property. A huge cross outline was
chalked on the mowed hayfield ground and the entire Church body stood within the
boundary for a picture that was taken from an elevated scaffold. It was an historic and
momentous event that would mark the next era in WTBC history.
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In November 1997, Brookstone Corporation mobilized and began laying underground
utilities. Because it was to be the first structure on-site, there was much preparatory site
work to be done before the actual building itself could be started. Wet winter weather
was somewhat uncooperative, but work progressed. The parking lot and two-lane
entrance road was poured, and by early Spring 1998 it was time to begin work on the
building proper.
The first Easter Sunrise service was held on the new property in 1998. A tent was provided
but most of the congregation stood in the open air. It was a beautiful sunrise prophetic
of a beautiful new beginning for the Church.
During construction of the new building, in August 1998, a special steel “topping out”
ceremony was held on the new church’s foundation slab. The congregation sat in
folding chairs on a sunny day, shaded by structural steel columns and beams running in
all directions overhead. It was our first “unofficial” service in the new building.
Due to a general shortage of labor in the
greater Houston area, construction fell
slightly behind pace of the contractor’s
intended schedule. However, by
Christmas, 1998, the building was
complete enough to hold a Christmas
evening candlelight service, upholding a
tradition from the very first WTBC building
back in 1985. As had been the case
during Christmas Eve thirteen years
earlier, the night held significant meaning
for all who attended.
In January 1999, final details on the building were being completed. In addition,
temporary church staff offices were also built adjacent to the permanent building. A last
minute “painting party” was organized using WTBC members to ready the administrative
offices for the upcoming move. The task was completed in two long evenings of “fun
and fellowship”. Capturing the vision of Linda Sledge, a prayer garden was later built
between the two buildings.
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Then, at last! The long anticipated day arrived. After meeting for worship services in
Clements H.S. auditorium for more than two years, the time came to move to the new
facilities. WTBC’s first service in its new building was held on February 7, 1999. Early on the
morning of February 7th, a large group of members gathered at the old location, with
one member carrying a wooden cross which had been in the baptistery of the old
facility, and with a police escort marched the cross to the new location, making a grand
entry into the new building to begin the first worship service. The crowd carrying the cross
sang, talked and laughed all the way along those two miles.
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A month later, in March, the building was formally dedicated with the presentation of a
bronze plaque installed on the brick next to the Church’s front door. Everything about
the building was crisp and clean and new!
Folks became accustomed to worshipping in “the gym”, and it was a weekly ritual to put
out and take up the chairs for each worship service. Carpet runners in the aisles
protected the beautiful wood floor and spiked heels for the ladies were “frowned upon”
in order not to cause damage. Later that first year (and for years afterward) chairs were
set up in concentric circles around the centerpiece advent wreath for a special
Christmas service “in the round”.
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The Sunday School classrooms were spacious and well-appointed and the wide hallways
made for easy traffic flow throughout the building. Pre-school rooms were located on
the bottom floor for easy drop off by parents; elementary school age and adult classes
occupied most of the 2nd floor and the youth “ruled the roost” on the 3rd floor.
Another unique feature adding to the worshipful
attitude in the “sanctuary” was the stained glass
window above the baptistery. The glass window was
made possible by a small group of anonymous donors
that felt strongly about including stained glass in the
worship setting
The artisan creator of the glass defined it in a letter to the Building Committee: “the
dove, the cross, and the vine are all included in what I hope will look much like an
emerald at first glance . . . the falling or broken gates are a device to break up the glass
into other values and hues, but are a symbol, also, of broken bondage.”Afull kitchen,
directed by Brenda Lineberger, allowed us to enjoy fellowship during Wednesday
evening meals with tables set up in “the gym” prior
to our evening classes. Of course, the six basketball
goals allowed for great recreation and eventually
led to the creation of “Upward Basketball”, a
fantastic evangelistic ministry to over three
hundred elementary through middle school kids.
The “multi-purpose” aspect of the building design
allowed the church to do all of the things that the
Building Committee had hoped for when it
conceived ideas with the architects.
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VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The new building gave us a venue to offer many ministries, including continuing the
strong tradition of Vacation Bible School (VBS) to children each summer.
Seen in the picture below is Dr. Lineberger’s “old grandma”, Bryan Stoltenberg, whose
reputation was built around sewing the ties Dr. Lineberger wore to Vacation Bible School
each year. Old Grandma would attend Vacation Bible School on the last day to check
on the ties she had sewn. During that week the kid with the most visitors had cut Dr.
Lineberger’s tie each day. The kids loved Old Grandma.
The number of children participating in VBS continued to grow year after year until there
were almost a thousand. In addition to classroom activities, large gatherings were held in
the gym, and each year a new theme was selected for the week. A long list of adult and
youth volunteers worked tirelessly in advance of and during the VBS week. All of their
hard work was rewarded with the huge smiles on kiddo’s faces.
TURNING DOWN A STATE POSITION
In 1999, Dr. Lineberger was selected to become the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the
largest State Convention in the world, the Baptist General Convention of Texas,
succeeding Dr. Bill Pinson. In that position he would oversee the work of eight universities
and colleges, four hospitals, various mission tasks, and numerous childcare organizations
including Buckner Baptist Benevolences. He would be working with over 2500 Churches
and 2.5 million Baptists.
After much thought and prayer, Dr. Lineberger turned down this position to continue the
work at Williams Trace. His heart was in the pastorate with his people.
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CELEBRATING TWENTY YEARS
Three years after the move to the new highway location, in February 2002, a 20th year
anniversary celebration was held to commemorate a milestone in the church’s history.
There was a weekend of activities, including an Open House in the afternoon and a
dinner program from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Program speakers included former pastoral
staff Bill Bowen, Bob Newell, Ken Corr, Eddie Alley, Winfred Moore and the current pastor
Phil Lineberger. It was a fabulous time of fun and fellowship among old friends and new.
(Pictured left to right are Bob Newell, Winfred Moore, Ken Corr and Phil Lineberger)
A NEW SANCTUARY
While two services held in the “multi-purpose” room (a.k.a. gymnasium) became the
norm, members yearned for the day they could worship in a real sanctuary. In early 2001,
a new Building Committee had been established, with Mrs. Danna Walton serving as
Chairperson. Primarily, “Phase II” of WTBC’s master plan was to include a new sanctuary,
so that worship services could be moved from the multi-purpose building. The size of the
current congregation and the future outreach of the church to the local community
were factors in determining the facilities to be built. New offices were also needed for
church staff, as the temporary office trailer from the first phase was experiencing
significant wear and tear; there were even holes in the raised floor where you could see
32
the ground beneath it! Many times staff would come in and find carpenter ants eating
through the ceiling and dead animals underneath the building. Additional pre-school
space was also needed for the many young families in the congregation.
In late 2001, the firm of Morris Architects was selected, largely for their experience and
expertise in large auditoriums and sanctuaries. The Committee conducted surveys, held
focus groups and brainstormed during the schematic design phase to scope out the
next building to be constructed on WTBC’s campus. Initial plans were drawn up and the
church was preparing to begin a fund raising campaign when 9/11 occurred. Although
the design work continued, a decision was made to delay the fundraising due to the
turmoil and financial uncertainty following 9/11.
Then, a twist of fate occurred that many would say ultimately worked to our advantage
– the architects resigned! Time to regroup! It was determined that the architect of the
first building should be retained for the detailed design, so Merriman-Holt Architects was
brought on board. The WTBC Building Committee felt that they would offer the design
details to blend the new sanctuary with the existing building, with the end result being a
“seamless” campus.
As time passed and the country recovered from the devastating shock of 9/11, talk
turned again to raising money for the Phase II building on the property. The Finance
Committee had reported to the church a preliminary budget for the new Phase II
facilities; and so, a fundraising campaign was put forth in 2002. The theme of the
fundraising was “Enlarging the Tent” and the Scripture was Isaiah 54:2, “Enlarge the
place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back: lengthen your
cords, strengthen your stakes.” Lynn Halford, Shawn Owens and James Eastham led the
fundraising effort. However, the total pledged amount of $4,458,000 during the
“Enlarging the Tent” campaign represented significantly less than what was needed to
build all of the planned facilities.
So, the Committee and the architects went to work to scale back the size of the new
project. It was back to the drawing board. This huge task fell to a committed Building
Committee that labored countless hours to ensure that we were able to build a structure
that both met our needs and wisely utilized the financial resources God provided to us.
The Chairperson was Danna Walton, a capable deacon and lawyer. The members
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were: Bobby Davis, Jim McGregor, Jimmie Carroll, Charlie Turner, Glenda Rayburn, Ed
Platt, Charles Basden, Lynn Halford and Martha Cantrell.
The biggest issue facing the Committee was deciding what to cut from its “dream
design”. The initial design was for a 2,500 seat sanctuary and a three-story educational
building to house additional pre-school educational space, facilities for the music
ministry and the church offices. Should we eliminate everything except the sanctuary?
Or, should we downsize and cut quality from sanctuary, so we could build offices and
nursery space? Hard decisions were made – downsize the sanctuary; defer construction
of the second and third floor education space until a later phase, but keep the admin/
nursery space. There was much discussion about whether the church could afford the
$500,000 needed to add the nursery and administration space. Pastor Phil asked the
Committee to table the discussion until he could visit with the deacons who were having
their monthly meeting on the second floor. He walked down the stairs from the third floor
to the second, went into the deacons meeting and told them the dilemma. The
deacons unanimously agreed that we should go forward and they would support it.
Pastor Phil walked back up to the third floor and reported to the Building Committee
who agreed to move forward. (The church also gained a conference room from space
that was intended to be the vertical corridor for an elevator, since it would no longer be
needed).
The Committee met constantly with
the architects to refine the building
design. One issue that provided
some fun discussion was whether the
lighting on the steeple and front of
the sanctuary would violate some
lighting restrictions that were put in
place to avoid negative impact on
the observatory at Brazos Bend State
Park. Measurements of those lights
were made to ensure that the
church did not violate any lighting restrictions. The architects also considered whether
the steeple would require a red blinking light on top because of flight paths for the
nearby Sugar Land Regional Airport. Fortunately, we were just under the height
requirement!
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MOVING AHEAD WITH PLANS
Finally, Merriman-Holt’s detailed design package was complete and ready for the
bidding phase. With a new, workable building budget in hand, the Church voted to
begin the search for a builder with the hopes of breaking ground for the new facility
sometime in 2003. Trusting God, the Committee moved ahead. Eight construction firms
were invited to present their company’s qualifications and the Committee chose to
interview five.
Through the interviewing process Fretz Construction, headquartered in Houston, was
selected later that year. The builder then spent many months assisting the Committee
with cost options for various building amenities. Finally, Fretz was able to develop a firm,
final cost estimate for the project that fit our budget. The process had taken awhile, but
a final construction contract was signed with Fretz in 2004 and we were ready to go!
Building Specs:
53,117 square feet of building under roof
Sanctuary size – 14,060 square feet
Sanctuary seating – 2,100 persons
Choir loft seating – 144 persons
Height of the steeple – 142 ft. above street level
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GROUNDBREAKING
On Sunday February 1, 2004 the congregation gathered on the on the actual plot of
land to witness the groundbreaking ceremony. Honored guests that day included Sugar
Land Mayor Dave Wallace, State Representative Charlie Howard, and others. Key
personnel from Sugarland Properties Inc., Merriman-Holt Architects and Fretz
Construction were also in attendance. The ceremonial first spade of dirt was turned, and
all cheered!
On the ground there were chalked outlines and staked signs depicting the sanctuary
and other areas of the building. A huge, tethered helium balloon flew up in the sky
where the steeple would be located. The overcast weather that Sunday morning did not
dampen the enthusiasm of everyone in attendance. It was a great day!
Construction began shortly thereafter, in March 2004. The Committee was hopeful that
the first service could be held within 12 months. However, as is often the case with large
construction projects, numerous challenges were ahead.
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EARLY SITEWORK
The earthwork went quickly, and excavated dirt was trucked offsite. There was a line of
dump trucks along the entire entrance road waiting their turn to be filled with unneeded
topsoil.
A larger campus meant there was a need for additional parking. New pavement was
laid behind the Phase I building along the back fence in addition to new parking
adjacent to the sanctuary. (Additional parking would also be added a couple years
later at the east end of the property).
Foundation piers were drilled and rebar set for concrete pours. Then, the wet weather set
in, inundating foundations and drilled piers. Water was pumped out and concrete work
began. WTBC members began to see the sanctuary dream come to life.
After the foundation was laid, truckload after truckload of red structural steel beams and
columns arrived at the jobsite. An enormous construction crane carefully slung the
individual pieces into place and they were bolted and welded to together to form an
impressive structure against the Sugar Land skyline. Passers-by couldn’t help but notice
that “something was cooking” at WTBC.
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A DAY TO REMEMBER
One of the memorable events
during construction occurred
on Wednesday evening,
September 29, 2004. It was the
actual raising of the church’s
steeple high atop the steel
framed sanctuary. Like most
Baptist churches, the steeple
was to be symbolic of WTBC’s
outreach to the local
community and a prominent
landmark in Sugar Land’s
growing skyline.
Pre-planned festivities took place at the construction site after a delicious bar-b-que
dinner sponsored by Fretz Construction inside the gym.
Members were given white chalk to write their name, a scripture verse or a note on the
large structural steel columns and beams framing the new building. The markings from
that day would be forever preserved behind the walls to come.
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Pastor Lineberger led a brief service from what would someday be the pulpit, and the
choir members stood in the future choir loft. Everyone else sat on bare concrete steps or
stood where the pews would someday be located.
Then, with help of a large crane Fretz Construction workers raised WTBC’s new steeple
high above the ground and everyone cheered when it was placed in its permanent spot
atop the structure. The top of the copper-clad steeple towered 142 feet above grade,
visible for over a mile in both directions along the Southwest Freeway.
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UNDER CONSTRUCTION
After the structural steel skeleton was complete, the masons moved in. Brick work went
quickly and the building began to take shape.
Work continued busily on the interior as well. It was a well-coordinated “symphony” of
construction. Subcontractors of every kind could be seen working their craft any given
day – plumbers, electricians, sheetrock, acoustics, lighting consultants, carpet, finish
carpenters and more.
The new space also meant expanding the “physical plant” of the church property. An
additional 240 tons of air conditioning capacity was added to the 300 tons from Phase I
building. The units were located on the ground behind the buildings. Considering that
most homes have three to five ton air conditioning units, that’s a lot of cold air!!!!!
AT LAST – A REAL SANCTUARY
The Diaconate, under the leadership of Jim Key and Joan Spitz, planned a day to “Fill
the Sanctuary with the Word.” On the Saturday before the first Sunday in the new
Worship Center, the congregation gathered to read through the Bible from early
morning until late in the evening. It was a great day hearing people spread throughout
the new worship center reading Scripture aloud. The new Sanctuary was bathed in the
entire Word of God before any service was held in it.
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Then, the day finally came to unveil new sanctuary. The church opened its doors to a
large crowd of over 2000 people on Sunday May 22, 2005. Special guests included
Charles Wade, Executive Secretary/ Treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of
Texas, and Tom Billings Executive Director of the Union Baptist Association of Houston. It
had taken about fourteen months for the actual construction since the first dirt was
turned, and it was worth the wait! Everything was beautiful and new. This would surely be
a building that would stand the test of time and see many people reached for Christ.
God had truly blessed the faithfulness of the WTBC members.
The final cost of the new sanctuary was $8.9 million. Including furnishings and ground
improvements the project totaled $10.2 million. It was the beginning of another exciting
chapter in the life of WTBC!
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FINAL FUNDRAISER: “1.1 BY 1/31”
One of the last responsibilities associated with the sanctuary building program was to
convert temporary construction financing to a permanent loan by February 2007. By mid
-2006, the church members had already generously donated $3,867,000 of the
$4,458,000 amount pledged, as well as $550,000 in designated gifts for furnishings.
However, another $1.1 million dollars was required by the bank before conversion of the
“bridge loan” to a permanent loan of $7 million. David Brothers was asked to lead a short
-term and intensive fundraising campaign, aptly named “$1.1 By 1/31.” Beginning in the
Fall of 2006, the campaign began to raise the necessary money in four short months. At
the end of each Sunday service, David asked a member or group of members to “run
the stairs” to the video control booth to push a button to announce the progress of the
campaign on the big screens. Remembering that “God owns it all,” the church members
responded to the challenge and proved to be cheerful givers as we were able to meet
the goal and significantly reduce our debt by over $1.1 million in a short time. Sugar Land
Baptist Church was on solid financial footing.
A NEW NAME
The founding members of Williams Trace Baptist Church in 1982 chose the name largely
because the property for this new church was located originally on what was Williams
Trace Boulevard. The street name would change to Sweetwater Boulevard in front of the
Church building. When the church relocated to a larger tract of land on the Southwest
Freeway in 1999, a name change was considered but it was felt that it would be too
overwhelming with the move. Over the next ten years the idea was reconsidered
occasionally, but there was not a strong consensus to change the name of the church.
In 2009 the Vision Task Force, led by Mike Brown, began considering several issues
involving long range planning. In January 2010, several proposals were made to the
church including amending the Church Constitution to change WTBC’s name to The
Baptist Church at Sweetwater. There was a spirited business meeting to discuss and
debate whether to change the name. The name change issue was emotional,
particularly for those families that had seen WTBC grow from a tiny neighborhood church
to a much larger, regional church.
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At this point, the Vision Task Force formed a “name change subcommittee” to focus on
this issue. David Brothers led town hall meetings and members of the subcommittee met
with various church groups to explain the perceived need for a name change, obtain
input from the church members and discuss the various pros and cons. The biggest
concern expressed by the subcommittee members was that the use of the name
“Williams Trace” in our name was now misleading and confusing since the church was
no longer located on Williams Trace Boulevard. The Southwest Freeway had a large
Williams Trace exit sign about a mile north of the church’s current location. It would be
natural for people traveling the Southwest Freeway to assume Williams Trace Baptist
Church could be found at the exit of Williams Trace Drive. Numerous examples were
cited of visitors who had become lost or were unable to find the church after taking that
exit with the mistaken belief that the church was located on the street that had the
same name. The first funeral held in the Church was for Virginia Kleeman. The funeral
home, located in Rosenberg, drove past our new location to the Williams Trace Drive exit
to find the Church. Needless to say they were late getting to the Church after making a
phone call to get the correct location. Others were late for weddings, baptisms and
other special events since they were not members and weren’t sure of the location.
Among those were Dr. Charles Wade who came for the dedication Sunday, and Dr.
Robert Sloan, the new President of Houston Baptist University. Dr. Sloan humorously
suggested from the pulpit that we should name the church, “Two Exits Past Williams Trace
Drive Baptist Church.” Finally, the subcommittee members determined that the long term
interests of the church would be best served by a name change. Many church members
were reluctant to change the church’s name because of tradition and their emotional
tie to the Williams Trace name; the church had worked hard to develop a reputation of
good will in the community that some were afraid would be lost by a name change.
Ultimately these members realized that churches don’t live on past reputation but on
faith looking forward.
Church members were encouraged to pray about the issue and to submit possible new
names if they felt so led. On Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, 2010, a twenty-four
hour prayer vigil was held in the prayer room. During this prayer time, every church
member was prayed for by name. In addition, those who met throughout the twentyfour hours prayed for the church staff, the ministries of the church, and the church as a
whole.
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The subcommittee received over 25 suggestions; some humorous and light-hearted, but
most were thoughtful and deserving of serious consideration. After several meetings and
considerable input from the church membership, it was determined that Sugar Land
Baptist Church was the name that most of the members desired; it was also the
unanimous recommendation brought forth by the subcommittee.
On April 25, 2010, a vote was held immediately after the Sunday morning worship
service. The written ballots were counted and it was announced that the motion to
change the name of the church to Sugar Land Baptist Church passed by more than the
required two-thirds majority of members present. With the issue finally put to rest, all
agreed to move forward together with a new name and a renewed vision!
SUGAR LAND BAPTIST CHURCH TODAY
If you were to socialize in the Trinity Café after worship service you may encounter one of
the many new members that have joined in the last year. Just as likely is a conversation
with one of the many families that have travelled most of the thirty year journey as SLBC
members.
Pastor Phil Lineberger provides leadership from the pulpit on Sunday mornings and can
be counted on at the end of every service to direct visitors interested in joining SLBC to
either come down the aisle or seek out the New Members table outside the sanctuary
“on my right, and your left”.
For thirty years we have been blessed that members give generously to the mission of
SLBC and the budget has grown with the church. The budget of Sugar Land Baptist
Church is currently over $3.5 million.
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Sugar Land Baptist Church has been uniquely blessed with a tremendous stability of its
ministerial staff over the years. With God’s help, the continuity of qualified, talented staff
and their consistent leadership and vision has allowed this congregation to become
what it is today.
Today, the full-time ministerial staff provides wonderful leadership to the Church. They are
located in state-of-the art facilities behind the sanctuary and adjacent to the pre-school
area.
SLBC Staff December 2011:
Front row L to R: Mary Murphy, Ann Brothers, Debi Arnold, Kary Kram, Cynthia Watts
Back row L to R: Lisa Keeling, Davey Gibson, Chris Curran, Pastor Phil Lineberger,
Braxton Edwards, Scot Cameron
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MISSIONS
As mentioned earlier, WTBC began early on with a Mission Committee, participating in
mission projects locally and in El Paso, Texas. The church entered a new level of missions
involvement in 2001 with the first trip to Mexico in March 2001 under the leadership of
Jimmie Carroll. Jimmie has led 33 trips with 75 adults and 46 youth involving an amazing
318 man (and woman!) weeks of work!
A group from WTBC made its first mission trip to Bulgaria in early 2000’s—this was a Youth
trip to work in the orphanages. We have made four additional trips and sent three 40’
containers of humanitarian aid in the last 5 years. International trips have grown to
include: Africa (2010), Argentina (2009), and Greece (2010 and 2011). In the summer of
2012, we are planning a return trip to Bulgaria.
We have also grown in our outreach closer to home, with trips to Arkansas to help with
tornado relief, New Orleans for hurricane assistance, and multiple trips to Bastrop to help
with wildfire clean-up. We support and work with several local organizations, providing
volunteer helpers and supplies, such as school supplies, Christmas gifts, food and other
resources. These organizations include Project SMILE, East Fort Bend Human Needs
Ministries, C.A.R.E., Family Promise, Gracewood, Moms in Touch, Habitat for Humanity,
Loaves and Fishes, Homeless in Houston, Helping Hands, Lifeway, Fort Bend Women’s
Shelter, Living Water and Second Mile Mission Center.
Local Church Partnerships include Primera Iglesia Baptista, Bethel Ministries, The Bend,
First Baptist Church of Beasley, New Commandment Baptist Church, Grace Chinese
Baptist and Agape (Indian) Church.
To give coordinated leadership to the missions ministry of Sugar Land Baptist Church,
Cynthia Watts was hired to fill the new position of Missions Coordinator. In 2011, Sugar
Land Baptist Church members and friends donated over $185,000 to missions, over and
above our regular tithes and offerings.
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ADULT DISCIPLESHIP AND EDUCATION
One of the foundations of Sugar Land Baptist Church for the past 30 years has been
small group Bible Study. Sugar Land Baptist Church demonstrates the principle that in
order to grow bigger, a church must grow smaller. Each Sunday morning, there is a small
group Bible Study for everyone in the church. At the present time, there are 23 adult
small groups on Sunday morning. Several years ago, the term that was used for these
groups was ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship). This term was used to stress two main goals of
these groups.
These groups are formed with
the goal of connecting with
God. Each group is centered
on studying the Bible and
discovering God’s truths for
our lives.
These groups are also formed
with the goal of connecting
each other. We hope true
fellowship takes place and
community is formed.
To sum it up, these groups are formed for church members to become life-long followers
of Jesus by living and doing life together. These ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship) groups are
the bedrock of Sugar Land Baptist Church.
However, these are not the only small groups of the church. Sugar Land Baptist hopes
that each member is glorifying Christ in everything we are doing. Therefore, there are
studies throughout the year that focus on finances, parenting, marriages, etc. We have
other groups that walk next to someone through a hurt or tragedy such as Grief Share or
Divorce Care. We also have groups built around one’s passions such as a church softball
team or a photography club. While many of these groups are as different as night and
day and change during the seasons of our church, each of them support the overall
mission of the church: Connecting people with God, with each other, and with the
world.
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SUGAR LAND BAPTIST CHURCH GROWS YOUNGER
As Sugar Land Baptist Church turns 30, we still see the commitment of her members to
growth in all areas. The church does not remain content to simply grow older; rather,
they it continues to look for young adults and families that are the present and future of
Sugar Land Baptist. So in 2007, the position of Associate Pastor/Young Adults was created
to oversee this vital area of life and ministry at SLBC. Davey Gibson moved into this
position in 2010.
To help grow and connect these young adults, weekly Adult Bible Fellowships (ABF) were
formed around the various stages in life. Sugar Land Baptist has a growing classes for
single adults, newly married adults without kids (or just starting to have kids), parents of
preschoolers and early elementary (2 classes), and parents of elementary aged children.
The church started a class for college-aged students in the spring 2012 in an effort to
have a place where those out of student ministry, but not yet on their own to find
community together. These 6 ABF groups are the very heart of the Young Adult Ministry
at SLBC! There are regularly over 100 young adults studying God’s word and seeking to
grow deeper in their commitment to God and lead their families closer to Him.
Family Get-Away, Spring Break 2012
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Fellowship and mission is also crucial to Young Adult Ministry. Our young adults help support
a great number of the mission efforts at the church. From Project SMILE providing which
provides food for local families in need at Thanksgiving, to the family mission trip over the
Labor Day weekend, to individual ABF classes supporting the various local and global
church mission efforts the young adults learn about and live out a Kingdom-minded mission.
When it comes to fellowships, you will find the SLBC young adults really enjoy spending time
together! Throughout the year there are various opportunities for young adults to grow
deeper in relationship together as we share life with each other. Our young families
especially appreciate Parent’s Night Out provided by our preschool and children’s ministries
which takes place at various times throughout the year. This church sponsored “date night”
provides a much needed time for the couples to recharge their relationships together and
with others in their social circle.
God has truly blessed Sugar Land Baptist with young life everywhere—young children
running the halls and young families beginning their spiritual walks together. The past 30
years have shown that the passing of the mantle will be in good hands as we look to 30
more years and beyond, connecting people with God, with each other, and with the
world.
YOUTH
The Youth program activities and curriculum are planned with the purpose of impacting the
lives of students within the Ft. Bend and Lamar Consolidated school districts. Under the
leadership of more than 30 caring adult youth leaders, parents, summer youth interns, Terri
Honeycutt (administrative assistant), and youth minister Debi Foley, many students have
been given the opportunity to experience a relationship with Christ and grow in their
understanding of who He is and what His will is for their lives.
Weekly, the youth ministry has Sunday morning Bible study for each grade and gender
prepared by volunteers. They spend time in the Word of God to get to know Him more and
to see how to apply Scripture to daily life. Wednesday evening the youth gather together
first to learn new and different forms of worship that they can use to lead others to follow
Him. Then they gather as a group to play games, dig into the Bible and worship with the
youth praise band. This is a great time to bring friends to experience the presence of God
right in the middle of the week.
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In addition to the weekly activities for students, the youth ministry also organizes special
events throughout the school year and summer. Some of these events are: Youth
Summer Camp, Mission Trips, River Wild, Disciple Now, E*Star Retreat, Middle School &
High School Winter Retreats, LCX, Pumpkin Pigskin, Fishbowl, Game Night, Summer
Splash, Class Parties, Paintball, Dessert Theater, Ice Blocking, Spring Break Trips, Project
H20, Senior Recognition, and Mission Days. The youth ministry at SLBC strives to have
every youth event meet the purpose of evangelism, missions, worship, discipleship, and/
or fellowship.
The youth ministry also works alongside the 6D Ministry. 6D Ministry helps 6th grade
students to prepare to face adolescence as a follower of Christ through a ministry
tailored just for them throughout the fall semester with Wednesday night Bible study and
games, Sunday morning Bible study, 6D Retreat, and various other fellowship and mission
events until they move into the youth ministry in January.
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CHILDREN
Caring for, leading, and teaching our preschoolers, children and their families are vital
ministries of Sugar Land Baptist Church. Lisa Keeling guides this ministry as the Associate
Pastor for Preschool and Children.
SLBC’s preschool ministry serves many young family families in the community. We
provide a wonderful MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) program, parenting classes, Moms
of Multiples group, and other special events. Our weekday program, Children’s Day Out,
has expanded to 4 days and includes a very popular Bridge class for children who are
not quite ready for kindergarten. In the summer the Preschool Ministry provides fun,
Biblical activities for the children of our Vacation Bible School workers during the
preparation days and the week of VBS. A summer camp called “Adventure Camp” is
provided in July and is open to the community (formerly Veggie Tales camp).
Parents are encouraged to participate in the parent/child dedication service during the
year. The parent/child dedication is offered 8-10 times per calendar year. This is a time
when the parents dedicate their child to the Lord and SLBC pledges to provide support
and Bible study for the parents.
The teachers and volunteers in the Preschool and Children’s Ministry coordinate events
for children on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings and other times during the year.
We continue to provide quality teaching on Sunday mornings with developmentally
appropriate Bible Study for all ages. Children are also offered a worship experience on
their level that includes fun music, active games, and interactive lessons.
The children’s ministry added Divorce Care for Kids on Sunday nights in the Fall of 2011.
This is a great opportunity to help children and families through a very difficult time and
share Christ’s unconditional love with them. We also added Bible Drill on Sunday nights in
the spring for 3rd – 6th graders. The kids have a great time learning scripture and Bible
skills. They have competed at three levels, church, association, and State. The majority of
the children compete all the way to the State level.
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Vacation Bible School is the highlight of the Children’s Ministry each summer. The most
recent VBS had 708 children and 200 workers enrolled. SLBC provides a terrific camp
experience for 3rd – 5th graders with Preteen camp.
WORSHIP AND ARTS MINISTRY
The Music Ministry, now called the Worship & Arts Ministry, has expanded over the past 35 years under the leadership of Scot Cameron in several areas including support staff,
choir numbers, instrumental players, and community events. With the building of the
current Sanctuary, the choir loft and platform space dramatically increased to seat over
120 singers and a full symphony orchestra. The Sanctuary Choir has consistently grown
over the years to 130 on roll and as many as 110 singing in special events and big
attendance Sundays. The orchestra, consisting of volunteer players, college students,
and professionals now plays at least once a month and for all seasonal concerts and
events. In addition to musicians, Ballet Grace has become the resident dance group at
the church, partnering with the Worship & Arts Ministry. The current ministry is supported
by three full time positions…Pastor of Worship & Arts, an Associate, and an Administrative
Assistant. Several part time positions support the ministry, mainly a Technical Arts
Coordinator, Sound Engineer, pianist, and organist as well as a host of contracted and
volunteer workers.
The opening of the Sanctuary in 2005 provided a quality venue for the area in hosting
large scale concerts. The Fort Bend Performing Series, hosted by the church, brought
world class acts to the platform for ticketed concerts open to the community. Local
ensembles and school groups have rented the Sanctuary for their yearly concerts,
including area high school choirs and orchestras as well as the Fort Bend Boys Choir, the
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Houston Brass Band, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, the Houston
Symphony added Sugar Land Baptist to a season subscription series, making it the
symphony’s second home, providing ticketed concerts and great publicity for the
church. The Worship & Arts Ministry began a community outreach concert called the
Sugar Land Christmas Celebration. The first concert in 2010 brought in over 1,400 people,
leading to the addition of a second concert in 2011 with a total attendance of over
2,600 for the two concerts.
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GUEST SERVICES AND VOLUNTEERS
The Vision Task recommended that SLBC needed
to provide ways for our guests to be welcomed
and greeted more intentionally when they visited,
and for our members and regular attenders to
become more involved in the life of the church,
finding and being equipped for a place of
service in the life of the church. These
recommendations resulted in the position of
Director of Guest Services and Volunteers. Mary
Murphy was promoted to this position in 2008.
Today we have a strong ministry team of over 150 volunteers serving as a part of our
guest services. Our goal is to make sure that everyone who visits this campus is made to
feel welcomed “from the street to the seat.” This goal is accomplished by several teams
that include parking lot greeters, shuttle bus drivers, door greeters, welcome center hosts,
ushers, emergency medical responders. In addition, we have a team that meets with our
guests on Sunday morning, providing them with a welcome gift and information about
the activities and ministries of Sugar Land Baptist Church.
Another goal of this ministry is to help people discover how they have been created “to
do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10). This goal
is accomplished by offering classes
and events for new members, and by
helping people to find and become
involved in ministry and service, based
on their spiritual gifts, personality and
passions.
The Guest Services and Volunteer
Ministry supports and undergirds all of
the other ministries within Sugar Land
Baptist Church, and actively support
the mission of Connecting People with
God, with Each Other, and with the
World.
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MEN’S MINISTRY
The Men’s Ministry has a long history at SLBC. Bryan Stoltenberg leads the Men’s Ministry
to plan events that includes everything from work days, to care for the grounds around
SLBC, to father-son pancake breakfasts with celebrity key-note speakers. The annual
crawfish boil is the highlight of the year; a
huge tent is constructed in the parking lot
with tables covered with newspaper set up
so all can enjoy some “in season” crawfish.
Last year over fourteen hundred pounds of
Louisiana crawfish was imported for the
feast. Under the direction of Jim Stewart, a
continuous supply of boiled crawfish with
Cajun spiced corn and potatoes was
prepared and dumped onto a serving
table until SLBC members and their guests
got their fill.
WOMEN’S MINISTRY
The mission of the Women's Ministry at Sugar Land Baptist Church is to encourage
women's faith in Jesus Christ to mature by providing opportunities for spiritual growth
through prayer, Bible study, service, worship and fellowship, resulting in changed lives
and reaching other women for the Kingdom of God. The Women's Ministry Team is
dedicated to serving women in our congregation and the surrounding community
through organized groups such as Women in the Word, MOPS and MOMSNext. They seek
to provide opportunities for fellowship and support through Special Events, Missions,
Prayer, and CARE (Casseroles Are Ready Everywhere) and promote activities in the
monthly publication of Stall Talk. The ministry's current Director, Lisa Mullings, is building
on the firm foundation laid by Susan Hawkins, Terri Ramirez, Tori Lane and others who led
the ministry for many years.
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The hope is to leave a legacy of women helping women to do
life with a God-centered focus. That was the theme of the most
recent retreat, "The REAL Women of Sugar Land Baptist Church"
– REAL being an acronym for Redeemed, Empowered,
Authentic and Loved. Teaching sessions were based on those
four words and taught with testimony given by REAL women
from our congregation. All women are welcome to come be a
part of this legacy handed down from the biblical women of the
past, to join those reaching into SLBC’s future.
DIACONATE
The Diaconate of Sugar Land Baptist Church has functioned primarily as a ministry to the
families of the congregation. At one time the Diaconate was organized to serve
particular family units. Each deacon was responsible to be aware of and minister to any
needs of a set number of families under his or her care. Ten years ago the Diaconate
was organized around the spiritual gifts of the deacon. Ministry teams which functioned
out of these gifts were organized to minister to the needs of the congregation. Each
deacon identifies his or her gift through prayer and the study of Scripture. That deacon
then joins the ministry team which allows his or her gift to function. The 2012 Deacon
Officers are: Steve Vance, Chairman; Don Golding, Vice-Chairman, Tom Smith,
Secretary, and Larry Post, Treasurer.
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KEY DATES IN SUGAR LAND BAPTIST CHURCH HISTORY
1982 1st meeting of WTBC with 27 members, at Colony Bend Elementary
1982 Dr. Robert Newell called as first Interim Pastor
1982 Ken Corr became first full-time pastor of WTBC
1984 WTBC constituted as a church with 300 members
1985 “Committed to Growth” fundraising campaign with $500,000 goal
1986 Dedicated first building on property at Williams Trace & Austin Pkwy
1987 Church approved second building program / voted to ordain deacons
1989 Groundbreaking for Education Building on original property
1994 Dr. Winfred Moore called as Interim Pastor
1995 Church voted to acquire 15.5. acres on Southwest Freeway
1995 Church called Dr. Phil Lineberger as Senior Pastor
1995 Fundraising for new property
1996 Began worship at Clements H.S. auditorium; offsite bible study
1996 Fundraising for new facilities
1997 Broke ground for Phase I at new highway location
1999 First service in new building on 16755 Southwest Freeway property
2002 Celebrated WTBC 20-year anniversary, entitled “Willing To Be Called”
2004 Fundraising for New Sanctuary
2004 Broke ground on Phase II – new sanctuary, offices and parking
2005 Held first service in sanctuary
2010 Changed name to Sugar Land Baptist Church
THE NEXT GENERATION
What is in store for the next generation at Sugar Land Baptist Church? With history as a
precedent the future will continue to be brighter and brighter. Sugar Land Baptist will
continue to move forward in faith reaching Ft. Bend County and the world with the
gospel of Jesus Christ.
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SUGAR LAND BAPTIST CHURCH MINISTERIAL STAFF
CURRENT STAFF:
Dr. Phil Lineberger, Senior Pastor ................................................................. Nov 1995 – Present
Kary Kram, Business Administrator................................................................ Feb 1997 – Present
Mary Murphy, Director of Guest Services and Volunteers ..................... Apr 2003 – Present
Debi Foley, Associate Pastor/Students ....................................................... Jun 2008 – Present
Scot Cameron, Associate Pastor/Worship and Arts ............................... Aug 2009 – Present
Davey Gibson, Associate Pastor/Young Adults ...................................... Aug 2009 – Present
Lisa Keeling, Associate Pastor/Children ..................................................... Feb 2010 – Present
Cynthia Watts, Missions Coordinator .......................................................... Apr 2011 – Present
Chris Curran, Associate Pastor/Adult Education and Discipleship....... Oct 2011 – Present
Braxton Edwards, Assistant Minister of Worship and Arts ....................... Oct 2011 – Present
FORMER STAFF
Dr. Robert Newell, Interim Pastor ...........................................................................................1982
Dr. Kenneth Corr, Pastor ............................................................................ Aug 1982 – Feb 1995
Pam Tanner, Minister of Music ...................................................................Aug 1984 – Jun 1997
Eddie Alley, Associate Pastor ................................................................. Aug 1987 – May 1998
John Wiltshire, Minister of Youth ............................................................... Sep 1990 – Feb 1994
Keith Murdock, Minister of Education ......................................................Jun 1994 – Aug 1997
Eddie Platt, Interim Minister of Youth....................................................... Mar 1994 –May 1995
Dr. Winfred Moore, Interim Pastor ............................................................ Mar 1995 – Nov 1995
John Moore, Associate Pastor/Youth ..................................................... May 1995 – Jan 2008
Linda Sledge Page, Associate Pastor/Childhood Education............Nov 1996 – Dec 2009
Ann Brothers, CDO Director; Director of Preschool ................................Jul 1997 – Mar 2012
Jim Gifford, Associate Pastor/Education and Administration .............. Jul 1998 – Feb 1999
Greg Stahl, Minister of Music .................................................................... Aug 1998 – Aug 2008
David Adams, Associate Pastor/Education and Administration .........Mar 1999 –Jul 2011
Seth Ward, Assistant Minister of Music .................................................... Oct 2003 – Aug 2006
Eddie Carder, Associate Pastor/Creative Development ................... Jan 2006 – Aug 2007
Griff Martin, Associate Pastor/Young Adults............................................ Jun 2008 – Jun 2011
Mike Massar, Executive Pastor ................................................................. Mar 2009 – Jun 2011
Johann Acuña, Assistant Minister of Worship and Arts ....................... Feb 2010 – Sep 2011
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16755 Southwest Freeway
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
281-980-4431
www.sugarlandbaptist.org
Dr. Phil Lineberger, Senior Pastor
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