It was my privilege not only to pioneer this work, but to have pastored the Church for fifty-four years. After graduation from Baptist Bible College (1957) and Tennessee Temple University (1959), Nita and I believed that the Lord was directing us to Arizona to start a new Church. The Book of Acts was our pattern – knocking doors daily … from house to house (Acts 2:46,47), even to the leasing of a school (Acts 19:9) for Sunday services. After three weeks of visitation, 41 were in attendance for our first service. I’ve often described the initial service (March 29, 1959) as three-fold: Nita played the piano and sang a solo, I preached a Gospel message, and our three children cried. Hopefully, it was more than that! If anyone came forward at the invitation, I’d surely remember, but I don’t. We were not very impressive – only 23 showed up the next Sunday! For six months our financial needs were met with home missions support from Baptist Bible Fellowship churches; after that interval, our Church was financially self-supporting.
Of this I am sure: the Lord fulfilled His promise about His preached Word(Isa.55:11) as souls were saved and added to the church (Acts 2:47; 5:14). The Lord rewarded those early efforts! From the infancy of New Testament Baptist Church, the lost were converted, backslidden Christians were restored, wounded hearts and broken homes were repaired, and the prospects were eminent for a new body of Christ!
We used the public school for three years until the purchase of a five-acre site on Craycroft Road, a major Tucson avenue. The Church now has property and buildings valued in excess of four million dollars. During the time of an accelerated bus ministry, the Sunday School recorded a high attendance of 1640. We extended our outreach through Tucson Christian School. A major emphasis of the Church since the second week of its inception has been home and foreign missions. The church has conducted forty- five annual Missions Conferences. Our missions giving is over $5 million. Twenty-five per cent of our total income has gone to projects outside the Church – supporting Bible Colleges, foreign missionaries, and over 100 pastors who started Baptist churches across the United States. More than 350 members submitted to God’s call to attend Bible Colleges in preparation for full time service as preachers, missionaries, school teachers, youth leaders, etc. Sadly, not all who went out from us with this calling continued with their commitment to serve the Lord in full time ministry.