The History of Harvey Baptist Church

(collected from church records and earlier histories)

Harvey Baptist Church began as a result of revival services in a brush arbor in the Johnson Community in Erath County in July of 1904. Dozens responded to the Gospel as preached by Missionary W. M. “Billy” Green, and they were temporarily received into the membership of Valley Grove Baptist Church.

Harvey Baptist Missionary Church was organized as an autonomous Baptist church on September 4, 1904 (the first Sunday of the month). This church family first met in the Johnson Community School house. The name “Harvey Baptist Church” was derived from the name of a beloved founder of the Johnson community, the late “Uncle” Harvey Keith. His descendants were among the members in the early days of this church. Within a year, the church consisted of several dozen baptized believers, and had called their first pastor, J.M. Earls. The church’s first recorded deacon was T.J. Burleson.

In the earliest days of HBC, the church met regularly on Saturday and Sunday; observed the Lord’s Supper twice a year; exercised Church Discipline; voted for their pastor on an annual basis; its members considered “un-Christian conduct” to include missing three consecutive Sundays at church without reason; and enjoined its members to avoid “dealing in futures of all kinds”. Because of the church’s growth, however, a building committee was appointed and a church building was erected on two acres in the Johnson Community in 1908.

From the beginning Harvey Baptist Church was actively involved in ministry outside of its community, making regular contributions to Texas Baptist causes and missions. A Women’s Missionary Aid Society also formed early. By the 25th Anniversary of the church in 1932, the church was a respected part of the community and the association. In later years, HBC showed its vision for evangelism through participation in the association, State Baptist Conventions (earlier the BGCT, and more recently the SBTC); and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. The church members have done mission work the world over, including sustained projects in New Mexico among Native Americans; in Stephenville through “Victory in the Ville”; and a long-term commitment to giving and going overseas through Gateway East Africa.

Throughout the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression, the church family struggled financially but grew spiritually and as a family. Combined with the family mobility seen in times of war and economic disturbance, the trend at that time was for those in the rural areas to move into towns and cities. Erath county was no exception. To respond to the needs of people, in 1951, the congregation voted to move into Stephenville. The wooden structure of that time was brought to the corner of Cage and Third Streets.

The church trusted God, took advantage of its larger community to reach more people, and growth resulted. Also, the pastoral tenures began to grow longer, providing more stability. As a result the congregation has invested in growth and ministry by completing the first brick structure for the church (now the Youth Suite) in 1960; a larger Auditorium and fellowship Hall (1970); the Children’s wing (1982); a refurbished Auditorium and more classrooms (1995) and most recently the Family Life Center (2011-2013) just East of the main building. Throughout the history of this congregation, God’s Word and the spread of its message have been a driving factor. God has blessed with a sweet fellowship and family who reflects His Love to this community, this area, this nation, and this world.

 

Pastors of Harvey Baptist Church

NAME                                    YEAR CALLED

J.M. Earls                                 1904

W.R. Allman                            1906

W.H. Davis                               1906

J.T. Adams                               1907

W.L. Daniel                              1910

W..J. Hicks                               1911

F.J. Langley                              1912

J.W. Ray                                    1915

T.P. Knight                                1916

Sterling Price                            1916

J.W. Stallcup                             1919

W.C. Williamson                      1921

R.H. Gibson                              1923

W,C, Bramlett                          1927

W.L. Stewart                            1929

E.E. Barber                               1930

W.L. Daniel                              1933

J.E. Moreland                          1936

M.. Shannon                            1937

R.A. Cox                                    1944

Milton Baty                              1946

Gordon Bays                            1947

W.B. Johnson                          1948

Wayne Clinton                         1950

L.F. Campbell                           1951

Dale West                                  1954

B.N. Shepherd                          1954

Milton Baty                               1956

Harvey T. Booher                    1959

Paul Skinner                             1961

Calvin Gustin                            1964

Glynn Little                               1968

Bob Baldridge                           1971

Gary Loudermilk                      1979

Bob Perrin                                 1980

Kyle Davis                                  1987

Forrest Wood                            2004

Keith Moore                              2007

Richmond Goolsby                  2010

Anthony Svajda                        2015