In Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised to build His ecclesia, or "assembly," not upon Peter as so many believe, but upon Himself and the bedrock, foundational truth that He, Himself, is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
The Tulare Missionary Baptist Church is such an assembly. We are, and have always been, committed to learning, practicing, and proclaiming the truths of the Bible, which is the infallible, inspired, and authoritative Word of God. The membership of TMBC have dedicated ourselves to giving glory to the Lord through obedience to His Word. We are an independent assembly of believers with no administrator nor head except Jesus, and no headquarters except heaven. For most of our existence, however, we have freely chosen to associate with the churches of the Cooperative Association of Missionary Baptist Churches of California, and the American Baptist Association.
The following brief history of the Tulare Missionary Baptist Church is based upon the recollections of Bro. Haskell Darst, a beloved deacon of the church who has since gone on to be with the Lord:
On February 16, 1941 following a series of revival meetings, held at the old Legion hall on North K Street in Tulare, California, a group of nine people opened a business conference for the purpose of organizing a New Testament Church, to be known as the Tulare Missionary Baptist Church. A missionary from Salinas, Bro. John Cooper was elected to moderate the proceedings. Besides the mission at Salinas, three other churches participated: the Missionary Baptist churches at Ducor, Corcoran, and Pixley. There were six people added to the original group the same day, and after the evening service two more were added, for a total of seventeen members.
In November, 1942 the church rented a building on the corner of Sacramento and Kern Street at a cost of $10.00 monthly. In March, 1944 the church purchased four lots on the corner of California and Kern Streets for a total of $180.00. In May of 1944 the church drew up plans for a new building to measure 30 by 54 feet (1620 sq. feet), at an estimated cost of $2,500.00. Construction began in 1945. In February, 1949 a house was purchased and moved on the church property to serve as a parsonage.
In 1962, classrooms were added on the East and West sides of the church building, and 2 new bathrooms built. This facility was sold in 1991 to the Tulare Living Christ Church, when the Tulare Missionary Baptist Church occupied our facility at 1902 West Prosperity Avenue. During the construction of that facility in 1991, the church adopted a theme song: "May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful." This well reflects our attitudes toward the many faithful members of TMBC who have paved the way throughout our history for our service today. But perhaps even more, it speaks to our understanding of our responsibility to future generations to set a Godly example before them.
Churches are simply people, who although we strive to live out the principles of God's Word, yet remain depraved and therefore deeply flawed, and too often disobedient to the very principles we espouse and hold so dear. The Tulare Missionary Baptist Church has, as did our Lord, and as have so many other churches throughout the two millennia since He began that first church, endured its share of trials, tribulations, and betrayals. Transitions in leadership, health crises, deaths and illnesses in families, along with a host of other pressures, have collaborated and served to batter our ship. Yet we are not shipwrecked. And we are forever indebted to the many faithful members who have served the Lord in this church throughout our history, and have laid such a foundation for us as we persevere with courageous optimism toward the future which Christ holds for us in His hands. This is going to be great!
Pastors - Past & Present
Bro. John Cooper, 1941 Troy Mize, 1950-52 K.G. McKellip, 1965-75
Lee Dowdle, 1941-42 L.E. Hatfield, 1952-53 Floyd Dawson, 1975-76
Ora True, 1942-43 Lester McAlister, 1953-57 Keith Newton, 1976-86
Dow Sheppard, 1943-45 Clint Wilkins, 1957-59 Bill Hoppert, 1986-88
Charlie Price, 1045-48 Jeff Sweeney, 1959-61 Dewayne Hoppert, 1988-2016
L.E. Hatfield, 1948-50 Alvin Mayall, 1961-65 Scott Brooks, 2016-Present