Founding Years: Late 1800's
Under the leadership of the Spirit of God, 14 persons came together in a tabernacle at Union Grove Cemetery on Sunday, June 9, 1878 and organized a church that was first named the Missionary Baptist Church of Christ, with Elders J. B. Logan and Silas Crain constituting the presbytery.
J. B. Logan was called as first pastor, J. B. Evans was elected deacon and W. A. Sewell as Church Clerk. Others among those members included Brothers A. B. Evans, J. S. Evans, J. B. Swell, James A. Webb and Sisters Rutha Rodgers, Sarah Evans, S. Evans, Matilda P. Sewell, and Margaret Webb. A Church Covenant and Articles of Faith were read and adopted.
At the second meeting a month later, the first new members to join the church by letter of transfer were Brothers Thomas J. Anderson, William H. Anderson and Jess Sewell and Sisters C. T. Anderson and Nancy Anderson. James A. Webb was elected first church treasurer.
A month later, on Saturday, August 10, 1878, the church elected these three men as their first messengers to the Red River County Baptist Association: James Webb, William H. Anderson and T. J. Anderson.
The first members to be received by baptism were Sisters Jane and Ellen Mercer on Sunday, October 13, 1879.
The church observed the Lord's Supper for the first time on Saturday, May 10, 1879, and Brother J. S. Evans was licensed to the gospel ministry on that date also.
Five Years after its beginning, the church appointed a special committee on Saturday, September 8, 1883, to secure the property its present location on Pine Mill Road at Mt. Olive Road, northeast of Reno. By October 1, 1885, the first frame church building (size 30 by 40 feet) was ready for use there, and in church conference, a motioned carried to change the congregation's mane to Mount Olive Baptist Church. The Dedication Sermon was preached by Bro. Silas Crain on Sunday, October 11, 1885, and an offering was taken to relieve the new building's indebtedness which was $13.80. The church's firs Sunday School was organized that afternoon.
The Meaningful year of 1886 Bro. Z. T. Eaton donated land for cemetery and messengers attended a convention in Paris, which organized the Lamar County Baptist Association. In addition, a continuing commitment to missionary support was begun as the church voted for each member to donate 5 cents per month for missions!
Moving toward the 1900's
Brother T. J. Anderson was elected as Church Clerk on October 26, 1896, and he served in that position until his death in 1925. (He had tendered his resignation in 1923, but the church refused to accept it!)
The pastor's salary had previously been set at $30 per year but Brother T. R. Bowles called as pastor in Saturday, April 23, 1898, for the sum of $75 per year! A year later, a special collection of $1.75 was taken to help pay his expenses to the Southern Baptist Convention. In September of 1899, Brothers T. J. Stockwell and T. J. Anderson were elected as messengers to the Baptist State Convention meeting in Dallas.
The Church purchased its first organ (a second-hand one - for $25 in May, 1903.
On Sunday, October 18, 1914, Bro. S. S. Crain was called as pastor with a salary of $8 per month. The church voted to be responsible for this amount as a body, for the pastor's salary had always been raised for personal subscriptions before this. Finances apparently improved a good deal during the 'teens, because five years later, the pastor's salary was increased to $300 per year.
After 63 years of meeting only one Saturday and Sunday per month, the church voted on Sunday, January 25, 1942, to become "half-time"-that is, to conduct services on two weekends per month. This happened halfway through the six-year pastorate of Bro. Curtis H. Hoover.
Two other interesting financial developments are recorded in the Church Minutes for 1942. The Southern Baptist Convention had fallen into considerable debt as a result of the Great Depression, and the "$75 Million Campaign" was the principal effort to repay it. Mt. Olive was asked to contribute $20 as our church's share in this campaign. A janitor was also hired to build fires in the church's stoves during the winter months for $2 per month.
The church building was again in need of improvements by 1945, when $271.85 was spent for a new foundation, new floors and some other repairs. In 1948, three new classrooms and a front porch were added. In 1950, butane gas was installed in the building and three more classrooms were contracted for a cost of approximately $1000.
The church's tradition of summer Vacation Bible School began June 1, 1948, with a vote to conduct the first one.
The 1950s and 60s
Two years into the three-year pastorate of Bro. Frank Marshall, the church voted on Sunday, December 16, 1951, to begin full-time services as of January 1, 1952. A year later, bro. Carl Camp was called on December 7, 1952, as the first to be our full-time pastor from the outset of his ministry here.
In 1954, 18 new pews were built for the church at a cost of $346, with our men providing the skilled labor. Later in the year, the Church 's piano literally fell apart, and there was no other choice but to purchase a new one for $662.50!
The church began to subscribe to The Baptist Standard for its members on May1, 1954. A building was bought and moved onto the property in 1956, and was remodeled for classrooms on September 1. An acre of land was given by Mr. Houston Steel for construction of a parsonage in 1957, and the church voted to put each fifth Sunday offering into a new parsonage fund. A building was purchased for the parsonage and moved on to the lot by September 6, 1958.
A week-long revival was begun on April 11, 1966, with preaching by four men who had been licensed to preach by Mt. Olive Baptist Church: Doc Barnett, L. C. Stout, Dewayne Thompson and Homer Walkup. There was one addition, 22 rededications and Don Graham surrendered to preach the gospel.
The church's fist brick sanctuary and classroom building was built in 1968 under the leadership of Pastor Robert Renfro, and dedicated on November 17 at an approximate cost of $21,500.
Miss Gency Coston was hired as the first paid pianist for our church on Sunday, November 9, 1969.
The 1970s and 80s
Brother Leslie Evans became pastor (initially as an interim) on Sunday, February 13, 1972, and the church made many advances during his leadership in the next 11 years. In the area of special missionary support, the church voted on October 21, 1973, to send Dewayne Thompson $15 per month to aid his service in Oregon. A year later, they raised the amount to $30 per month, and five years later up to $75 per month. The church voted to install a telephone on March 21, 1976, and to allow the beginning og a Quilting Bee in the building on January 22, 1977.
The church celebrated its 100th Anniversary on Sunday, June 11, 1978. Mrs. Alleen Nowell read a summary of the church's history, and former pastor Curtis Hoover was the featured speaker.
By the time, the sanctuary had been outgrown and the present larger one was constructed at a cost of $46,785.56 under the leadership of Bro. Leslie Evans- and dedicated debt-free on Sunday, September 10, 1978! The first to be baptized in the new sanctuary was Greg Gifford, Jim Luttral and Stacie Thompson Gregory on August 13, 1978, by Bro. Dewayne Thompson, who was visiting here from is home mission field.
Bro. Leslie Evans also lead the church to build the children's educational wing in 1979, and the family life center in1983. The approximate $75,000 cost of the latter was paid off in record time by December 2, 1985.
In May of 1981, the church donated nearly $3,500 to help Emberson Baptist Church rebuild their building, which was totally destroyed by a tornado. On April 4, 1982, the church voted to give the Salvation Army $500 and cloths for tornado victims.
Bro. Bob Hamilton began his pastorate here on Sunday, April 20, 1986, and the church sought to enhance its operations over the next two years by purchasing a new typewriter, a copy machine, a VCR and television, a new calculator, a new sound system, and 30 loads of gravel for the parking lot. The church also began to order its finances through the use of an Annual Budget for the first time.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, 1988, the church held its first "Old-Fashioned Days," with camping out, campfire cooking, brush arbor services, dinner on the grounds, and afternoon singing and games. Over 100 persons were present on each day.
The congregation voted to purchase a church bus for $945 at Business Meeting on Wednesday, March 8, 1989.
On October 29, 1989, the church authorized its first pictorial Church Directory to be prepared.
Our Family Life Center received some beneficial improvements after church actions on February 14, 1990, resulted in a new canopy over the entrance and a new sign on the exterior wall. A motion was also approved at that meeting to convert the unused butane tank into a giant barbecue grill! Another welcome extra was approved on July 8, 1992, which resulted in the neat outdoor children's playground being constructed adjacent to the FLC.
Some three years after is purchase, Mark Fendley reported on February 14, 1990, that "the church bus is dead and gone!" It was sorely missed, however, and much discussion was devoted to replacing it over the next rew years. Finally, the congregation approved the establishment of a Van Fund on May, 12, 1993, with a free-will plate offering to be taken for a van at the Morning Worship Service on every 2nd Sunday of each month. A year later, on March 2, 1994, the purchase of our present 1992 15-passenger Dodge van was authorized at $13,597.61-to be paid partially in cash and partially through a bank loan. That loan was fully paid off in 1996.
The church van has proved to be an invaluable asset for enabling a multitude of persons to participate in helpful church-related events: older adults to numerous Senior Adult Retreats at Lake Lavon Baptist Assembly, Baptist Men to retreats at Falls Creek Assembly, children to outings and Children's Camp at Lake Lavon and Lakeview Baptist Assemblies, youth to Youth Camps at Falls Creek and Lakeview Assembly and Youth Evangelism Conferences in Dallas- and as transportation to countless more Christ-honoring opportunities! Where would we be without it?
March 29 to April 3, 1994, witnessed a bold cooperative effort as Mt. Olive joined forces with Powderly, Novice, and Fellowship (of Blossom) Baptist Churches to bring Evangelist Jim McNiel to our community for a never-to-be-forgotten "Experience Easter" evangelism outreach. A biblical dramatist, he quoted whole books of the Bible (in costume) and extended a powerful invitation in each of our churches, and in two Dinner Theaters at North Lamar. Hundreds attended and scores of decisions were recorded!
Mrs. Ivy Fendley has long been a God-given asset of this church, and upon retirement from a lifetime career as an elementary school teacher, the congregation enabled her to fulfill another lifelong aspiration by voting to call her as our volunteer Church Eduacation Director on May 11, 1994. Soon afterward, she received Convention recognition and approval by being designated as a Christian Service Corps Missionary of the Home Mission Board.
Mt. Olive's first Lay Renewal Weekend event on September 16-18, 1994, featured an inspiring group of guest lay volunteers who lead us in unique, challenging spiritual growth experiences.
Our Father answered and met a critical need of our church when He brought the talented Trent Rose as part-time Minister of Music and Youth on October 19, 1997. Before long, his value and other external circumstances brought our congregation to take a bold step of faith to call him as our second full-time paid staff member. He started as such on March 15, 1998.
Because of special interest and amazing generosity on the part of Booker and Dorcas McGee, our church was able to dedicate a new VCR, a portable computer system and a ceiling-mounted video projector to the inspiration and edification of God's people on December 14, 1997. It has been a incredible asst for missions presentations, a prayer seminar, and family ministry emphases. It will prove to be a wonderful aid to worship, training, youth events, Vacation Bible School, and much, much, more.
Mt. Olive Baptist Church celebrated its 120th Anniversary of its existence, by the grace fo God, with a Homecoming on Saturday, June 6; an Anniversary Service on Sunday, June 7; and a Celebration Revival, featuring Dr. Stanley Nelson as our principal speaker, June 7-10, 1998.
On August 31, 1998 Jack Elliott retired as pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. In September of the same year Tim Reger became our Interim Pastor and is currently our Bi-Vocational Pastor. Also in 1998 Trent Rose began the Sticks ministry with the help of many volunteers.
In 1999 we began the AWANA program with Brenda Fendley as the Commander and Danny White as our Director. Each Wednesday night (during the school year) children and youth attend AWANA to enjoy exciting Awana games, hear challenging Bible messages, and memorize the word of God. A need arose due to the growing amount of children attending AWANAS for another van. It was voted on and purchased in 2000.
Since the Year 2000...
In 2000 the church began to take a new look as our current sanctuary was remodeled. All of the work to complete the transformation was done by member volunteer of Mt. Olive. The same year the upstairs portion for the Family Life Center was closed off and remodeled to become a youth room. The room is currently used for Awanas on Wednesday nights and other youth activities.
In 2001 we began to remodel the old sanctuary and education wing. Remodeling included lowering the ceiling and re-carpeting the old sanctuary and the educational wing class rooms. The nursery was painted and the library expanded. The remodeling was completed in 2002.
Also, in 2002 a portable sound system and a cargo trailer was purchased. On June 28, 2002 the church purchased 6.02 acres from W.L. Burchinal at a cost of $22,400.00. Also, on June 28, 2002 Mr. Larry D and Mrs. Mary D. Silvey gave the church approximately a half of an acre of land behind the church.
On October 13, 2002 the church hired Allan Hubbard as Associate Pastor of Worship and Student Ministries. Mt. Olive began a new outreach program called F.A.I.T.H Sunday School Evangelism Strategies. This program teaches how to witness to and minister to the lost.
Currently the church's staff consists of Tim Reger, Senior Pastor; Lance Westbrook, Asst. Pastor/Yout Minister; Danny White, Worship Leader,
Deann Reger, Pianist; Michele Risinger, Children's Director.
and Brenda Fendley, Secretary.
The History of Mt. Olive is meticulously maintained by the ever-faithful Arbelia Thompson.
Thank you, Arbelia!
To reach Mt.Olive please go to home page and use the contact form.
3509 CR 42600
Paris, Tx 75462