Westgate Baptist Church was incorporated on January 22, 1981, when Tabernacle Baptist Church and Temple Baptist Church joined together. From the beginning, the purpose of Westgate has to glorify God by proclaiming the good news of God’s saving grace through salvation found in Jesus Christ. Through preaching and teaching God’s Word, our desire has always been to see lost souls come to Christ and help believers grow in grace and truth.
Our current buildings and property were once the old Westview Elementary School. By the grace of God and the sacrifice of His people, our facilities have undergone many improvements and the addition of new buildings.
Westgate Baptist Church has its roots in Tabernacle Baptist Church. The Tabernacle Baptist Church was organized on September 6, 1959, by Rev. Carl G. Gibbs and Nolan Harrelson. They and their families were the nine founding members of the church. 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 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 a 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, the original Tabernacle Baptist Church ended and a group of members came to Temple Baptist Church, which was the present location of Westgate Baptist Church on Old Reidville Road.
Temple Baptist Church had been started under the direction of Rev. Siler. The church had purchased the land and facilities of the old Westview Elementary School. Tabernacle and Temple Baptist Church 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, which identified the church with the west side of Spartanburg. On January 22, 1982 Westgate Baptist Church was incorporated. After Dr. Martin resigned as pastor, the church called Rev. Alan Taylor to be pastor in January of 1983.
Under the leadership of Pastor Taylor, much of the remodeling took place. Sidewalks and columns, a new roof and roof-line, and the gym were all added during his tenure. The school saw its greatest enrollment under his leadership and the church grew with new families added and souls saved. Rev. Taylor resigned in the early summer of 1988 and Rev. Ed Deese was called to be pastor in October of 1988.
Under the leadership of Pastor Deese, all of the buildings were remodeled, and the Easler building was added. The church called a new school administrator, music director, and youth pastor. During the tenure of Brother Deese, the church and school grew stronger as a body of believers in Jesus Christ. A faith missions program was added, which brought a substantial increase in missionary support. Rev. Deese resigned in May of 1998.
On August 30, 1998, Rev. Bill Bethea became the next Senior Pastor. During Pastor Bethea’s tenure, the church saw the Lord’s continued faithfulness through improvements to the facilities. More importantly, many new people came to Christ, and two evangelistic sports ministries (National Hoops and Inside the Lines) launched from Westgate.
Pastor James Wooten began his ministry at Westgate Baptist Church on March 25, 2018. He desires to continue Westgate’s legacy of biblical clarity, compassion, and the Great Commission.
Under his leadership, the members of Westgate Baptist Church have been challenged toward greater spiritual growth and love for one another and the world. As our church grows, so do our ministry opportunities. Pastor Wooten is leading several improvement and expansion projects for the church and school.
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