While waiting for a wedding to begin at 451 W. 16th Place, the minister in charge, Rev. Westbrook, who was the Pastor at the time of our oldest black Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Second Baptist Church said, “This would be a good time for a church to be organized in this area.” That small group of people back in 1919 accepted that challenge and made plans to organize a church. After being organized, they began to have services from house-to-house for a few weeks.
We have had eight (8) Pastors in 95 years of existence:
Rev. H.T. Borders 1919-1922
Rev. J.B. Carter 1922-1931
Rev. G.M. Mimms 1931-1932
Rev. E.J. Conely 1933-1933
Rev. F.F. Jefferson 1934-1939
Rev. W.M. Edwards 1939-1963
Dr. M.B. Girton, Sr. 1964-2015
Rev. John E. Girton, Jr. 2015-Present
There have been three churches organized out of our flock: 25th Street Baptist Church-1931, Pilgrim Baptist Church-1939, and Pleasant Union Baptist Church-1964. We are proud to say, our Pastor, Dr. Melvin B. Girton, Sr., was raised up in this church from a small boy starting in Sunday School, and when he was eleven years old he was converted and baptized by Rev. Edwards.
The members worked and prayed for greater blessings, but it was not until after Rev. Edwards became their pastor that a ray of light fell on them. The church really began to grow spiritually and numerically, so it was suggested that we seek a larger edifice. We finally found the site on Eugene and Rader Streets in 1955.
Through the blessing of our Lord, we put an addition to the church that included an elevator, new kitchen and bathrooms. We thank the Lord for all of our blessings as we still walk by faith. In May 1998, we purchased the mall on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eugene Streets. “Flowing Waters” Laundry Mat was established August 6, 1998, and on June 14, 1999 “Your Ice Cream Parlor” opened for business. In October 2006, the Christ Missionary Baptist Church Institute of Christian Education was implemented.
On March 29, 2015 the church unanimously voted the Rev. John E. Girton, Jr. in as Senior Pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church. Pastor G, as he is known throughout the community was born into and baptized at Christ Missionary Baptist Church when he was seven years old. In keeping with the community activism of our historic church, Pastor G sought to build onto the rich legacy and foundation begun by those who labored before us. His goal was to embrace our history rather than erase our history. Pastor G hit the streets immediately and began challenging the leadership of the city, the members of the church and the political establishment to commit resources to the families of the community. Our pastor’s vision for the community was for the body of Christ to provide hope by meeting people where they are and by building families from the inside out.
After the passing of one of our long-time members, Brother Archie Wells, Sr., Pastor G instituted The Well Ministry, which became the very first ministry under his leadership. The Well was launched to create momentum around cleaning up our neighborhood and meeting members of our community outside the walls of the church like Jesus did when he met the woman at the well.
Now after 98 years of service to the Lord, 36 years as 17th Street Baptist Church and 62 years on the corner of Eugene and Rader, we are still like those ordinary people who started our church back in 1919. We have been implementing our mission to minister to the needs of God’s people, save the lost and revitalize the hopes of our neighbors while worshipping God with a commitment to love each other as God loves us. We pray that God will continue to bless this location where our forefathers brought us in 1955. To God Be The Glory!