History

Westgate Baptist Church has its roots in old Tabernacle Baptist Church. The Tabernacle Baptist Church was organized on September 6, 1959, by Rev. Carl G. Gibbs, Nolan Harrelson and families, which made nine members. The church met at 471 Magnolia Street until December of 1963. In August of 1963, a piece of property was bought and a church building was constructed on White Ave. Even though the building was unfinished, the church moved in and had services the first Sunday of December, in 1963. The Sunday school attendance that first Sunday was 111.

In 1965, a Christian Day School was organized with 4 and 5 year-old kindergarten. In 1974, the church and school moved to its new location on Smith Road. The buildings located on 29 acres, included classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria. The school graduated its first 12th grade class in 1977. The enrollment that year was 210. In the late 1970s Dr. J. Robert Martin became the pastor of Tabernacle. Due to problems related to moving and building on the Smith Road property, prior to his coming, the original Tabernacle Baptist Church was terminated and a group of those folk came to Temple Baptist Church, located in the present facilities that now house Westgate.

Temple Baptist Church had been started under the direction of Rev. Siler and had purchased the land and facilities of the old Westview Elementary School. The churches merged their congregations and Dr. Martin became the pastor of the Temple Baptist Church in 1980. The church voted in December of 1981 to change the name to Westgate Baptist Church to better identify our location in the community.

The church called Rev. Alan Taylor to be pastor in January of 1983. Under the leadership of Pastor Taylor, remodeling of the facilities took place. Sidewalks and columns, a new roof and roof-line, and the gym were all added during his tenure. The church grew with new families added and souls saved.

Rev. Ed Deese was called to be pastor in October of 1988. Under the leadership of Pastor Deese, there was additional remodeling and the Easler building was added. During this time, the church and school became stronger as a body of believers in Jesus Christ. A faith missions program was added, which resulted in a substantial increase in the resources for missionary support.

Rev. Bill Bethea became the next Senior Pastor and began his ministry on August 30, 1998. Pastor Bethea served at Westgate for the next 19 years. During this time, the church facilities saw many improvements to include the addition of a parking lot and soccer field. Two international evangelistic ministries were sent out from the church at this time as well – National Hoops (a basketball outreach ministry) and Inside the Lines (a basketball/volleyball prison ministry).

In January 2018, Rev. James Wooten became our current Senior Pastor. Emphasis has been placed on reaching out to our community, and as such, we began an outreach through the Upward Star Center Sports Programs handing out waters and devotions. We have also started holding men’s and women’s Bible studies, and a Mom to Mom encouragement group for moms of infants and toddlers. Westgate has also been blessed to partner with missionaries around the world. We are excited to see God’s continued blessing and working during this period in the life of Westgate Baptist Church.

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