COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH ELMENDORF, TEXAS
Kyle White, Pastor
In 2018, Community Baptist Church celebrated its 35th anniversary. The Lord burdened Pat Horner in 1983 to begin meeting with a few believers in an abandoned church building just south of the San Antonio city limits, in Elmendorf, TX. There are many details that could be shared regarding the Lord’s work from those humble beginnings to where we are today. Many of those details were chronicled in a small book we published for our 35th anniversary.
Those early days consisted of three families who met consistently and prayed as they labored to establish a Biblical foundation. God answered their prayers, and by 1989, He had blessed with an unusual outpouring of the Spirit’s power in conversions and growth of the church. From the early days, the church carried a burden for evangelism and church planting in the surrounding region and wherever door were opened in the world. This vision has led to several churches being established in various places under the ministry and guidance of CBC.
The doctrinal foundation upon which the church was established remains the same, and the vision of the church continues to include both the cultivation of rich fellowship in Christ, edification of the saints and proclamation of the gospel through various means, locally and around the world. While the faces have changed over the years, we continue to enjoy a vibrant spirit that I trust is the fruit of the Holy Spirit indwelling each of the members of this local body.
Community Baptist has enjoyed the leadership of a number of elders through her history. We desire to follow what we see to be the NT pattern of a plurality of elders, though one elder has generally been regarded as the leader among the leaders. When Pat Horner stepped down from the lead elder position to give his life to missionary work, the church called me to serve in that capacity. In 1999, the Lord directed my steps, with my family, from Granite City, IL to Elmendorf. I have had the amazing privilege of serving as Pastor ever since.
While the size of a New Testament church is not a primary concern (the NT doesn’t emphasize this when specific churches are addressed), most are interested to know the makeup of a church. Since I have been a member, we have fluctuated from a membership of upper 50’s to mid-80’s. We presently have 63 members and around 80 or so in our Sunday morning service. The Lord has blessed us with a good mix of senior and younger families. I was 39 when I came. I am now 60! I’ve had the blessing of seeing children grow up, be converted, marry and are raise their children in the church. That is one blessing of a long ministry in one place. It is a huge encouragement to my soul to witness God’s regenerating grace within multiple generations of families.
God blessed the church in 1983 with property in a country environment, about 15 minutes outside of the San Antonio shopping district. Brother Pat was granted use of an abandoned church building that was on the property. Over time, the building and land was acquired for next to nothing, as God provided in amazing ways. A new building was added in 1995, which is our present meeting place. Additional land was given to the church, which is used for housing the pastor and additional ministry workers, along with housing for guests. We have had multiple opportunities to use our guest houses for families in need or in transition, including some missionaries and pastors. The spirit of giving has been very evident within the church from the very beginning. God has been very good to us, and we love to be one His instruments to bless others.
My heart is bound with this church. While I understand I am set apart by the gifts and calling of the Lord, I view myself first to be in Christ and then a member of this body. We have partaken of the same Spirit. I am one of the members who functions according to the gifts God has given. It has been my experience over the years that I need the church as much as the church needs me. It has always been vital to me that this church be engaged as one body in the work of the ministry. I depend upon their support in every way as I engage in the work to which I have been called. I seek to lead them to labor and serve together with the sense that no one is greater than another, but each fulfilling the responsibility they have according to the gift God has given. There are no unnecessary members of the body!
Keeping the unity of the Spirit has been a primary endeavor in this church. We must maintain unity as we grow in the faith and serve together. Otherwise, we will be distracted and lose sight of the purpose for which we exist. While we have had some difficult seasons as a church, the Lord has upheld us and continues to bless us as we labor together in the gospel.
We are blessed to be heavily involved with the support of missions and engaged in public ministry of the gospel outside of our meeting place. We are not satisfied with simply meeting on Sundays and Wednesdays to the neglect of the rest of the world. God has blessed us with believers who desire to take the gospel to the world. This includes holding gospel oriented signs at busy intersections, open air preaching, personal witness through distribution of tracts and verbal communication, internet publication, prison ministry and whatever other opportunities come our way. This is a burden that continually needs to be encouraged as we are prone to become complacent or uneasy confronting a world that hates the message of the gospel of grace.
Since the church has always supported me so well, I have the privilege of engaging in ministries that would not otherwise be possible if I had to have a secular job. One of the great blessings God has given to me outside of the ministry to the church body is ministry in the local prison. For 6+ years I have been privileged to speak to 50+ men in a faith-based dorm in one of our local state prisons. God has used this effort to be a blessing to many of the men, some of whom are now out and following the Lord. CBC is very supportive of this ministry in prayer and rejoices together as we hear from men who are impacted by the Word. This is not only an evangelistic effort, but an opportunity to teach the same men for at least six months as they go through the established program for that dorm. This particular ministry is in addition to ministry to individual offenders in other places. We were blessed to receive one brother into the church in December, 2019, who spent 21 years incarcerated! To see God’s grace at work in such a sinner brings great encouragement to us all, confirming that this is the same grace that plucked us out of sin’s darkness and bondage! The gospel of Christ truly is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…
The greatest joy in pastoring is seeing believers grow in their love for the Lord, His word and one another. In those difficult times when a brother or sister is overcome by sin, it is a great joy to come along side and help them as they experience repentance and restoration. It is equally heartbreaking to watch some who have had strong evidences of grace fall away into sin and continue to pursue a life without Christ. The most difficult part of pastoring is when we are forced to work through a discipline process with one who does not respond. We desire that church growth be as Christ prescribes, not according to the standards of the world. For 36 years we have hosted a Bible conference in March, which has always been a rich and rewarding time for the church, as well as for those who come to meet with us. It is a season in the life of the church of special preparation and prayer. It is a time that brings the saints together to serve and then to receive from the rich preaching of men whom God has ordained to be with us. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were forced to cancel our March conference this year. This was a difficult decision, but necessary and we bow to the sovereign providence of God as we seek to use this season to learn what He is teaching us, and to continue to proclaim His glorious gospel.
My desire is to see Community Baptist Church remain faithful in manifesting love to one another, living daily by faith and full of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ as we serve Him together until He comes. As He adds gifts to us, I desire to see us involved in encouraging other churches and being used to assist in establishing new churches. Every New Testament church is a testament to the sovereign grace of God in this world. I am thankful to be part of one of them, and to be in fellowship with other churches who share our common faith and vision.