To fully understand the direction and core values of a church congregation, examine its history and the foundation upon which it was established.
1950 - Bernice Bean and Verbal, her 17 year-old son, felt the call of God to pioneer a church on the east side of Houston. Beginning with home prayer meetings and a strong emphasis on the power of prayer, they later conducted services in the Woodland Acres Elementary School in the Greens Bayou area of Houston, Texas.
1967 - When Bernice's health failed, Verbal and his wife, Anita, became pastors of the First Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ on Dewey Street.
1977 - Verbal Bean was instantly killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Charles and Bonnie Free were installed as pastors.
1978 - The church moved from Dewey Street to its present location at 13334 Wallisville Road, and the name was changed to Christian Tabernacle.
1988 - Heard, a crusade evangelist for 19 years, came on staff as co-pastor, and the following year became senior pastor. To survive financially, the small group of 70 members had continual fundraisers, such as peanut brittle, pies, tamales, take-out dinners, and newspaper inserts.
1990-91 - As God began to bless the struggling congregation, a day care was added, followed by the construction of a Family Life Center and a Christian School, pre-K through 5th grade. Beginning with a paid staff of two, Pastor Heard began to build a leadership team of gifted men and women. Four more were soon added to the staff. To provide room for growth, a second Sunday morning service at 8:15 a.m. (later changed to 9:00 a.m.) was added.
1996 - On a Sunday morning in October, a most remarkable divine visitation forever transformed our concept of "having church." As Pastor Heard read from the Book of 2 Chronicles, the power of God struck the pulpit, split it in two parts, and threw him backward to the floor. So dynamic was this visible manifestation, some saw angels and others experienced miraculous healings and unusual demonstrations of the Spirit. For almost three months, the unpredictable services focused on repentance and seeking God's face, rather than His gifts. This dramatic encounter not only revolutionized our pastor's ministry, but left a perpetual anointing upon this congregation.
1996-2000 - God's anointing upon C.T. began to attract a constant flow of visitors, escalating the church membership to 2,000. In this time period, another 12.47 acres was purchased adjacent to the church property, giving us a total of 25.21 acres at the Wallisville site. Four more associate pastors were added to the staff and by 2000, the membership had grown to 2,900.
2001 - While our own congregation was bursting at the seams, a consuming passion to reach the world for Christ motivated Pastor Heard to personally establish the East Africa School of Biblical Studies in Tanzania, East Africa. With graduates now numbering more than 1,650, these native pastors have been trained and equipped to evangelize their nation. Bible Schools established in several other nations are also training spiritual leaders to reap the ripened harvest fields for Christ.
2002 - Our future expansion, 48.2 acres of prime property was purchased on Beltway 8 at Garrett Road. Other additions included: (1) the erection of a modular building to provide more classroom space; (2) a new Spanish congregation with a Sunday afternoon service to evangelize the ever-growing Hispanic population of our area; and (3) a Saturday night service to support the Sunday morning overflow.
2003-2005 - Two new parking lots were added, making a total of five, along with extensive remodeling of staff offices and classroom space. To service our rapidly growing congregation of 3,500, a 10 o’clock Sunday morning service was initiated in the Family Life Center called, "The 10:10 Bridge."
2006-2007 - Another 15.5 acre tract was purchased on Beltway 8, giving us 63.7 acres, with frontage from Garrett Road to C.E. King Parkway. To ease our crowded situation, a fourth service at 7:30 a.m. was added to our busy Sunday morning schedule. Weekend services were expanded to include: Saturday at 6:00 p.m., Sunday morning at 7:30, 9:00, 10:10, and 11:15 a.m. and a Sunday afternoon Spanish service at 2:15 p.m. At the close of 2007, we had 70 in-house and local outreach ministries serviced by 650 volunteers, more than 4,000 members, 17 staff pastors, and 79 paid employees (including daycare, school, staff, and church).
2008 - An Eastern Gate Tabernacle Prayer Gathering was initiated on our new church property on the third Saturday of each month. While preliminary building plans were being formulated, a Capital Stewardship Campaign was initiated to fund the new facility. In the month of May, Pastor Heard declared, "Today, we cross over to our promised land on Beltway 8 . . . It's our time!" The projected date for completion is summer of 2011.
From 1990 to present - Sixteen congregations in the Houston area and other parts of the nation have been founded or come under Christian Tabernacle's spiritual covering. In spite of all this activity, our Senior Pastor has never ceased to grow spiritually or intellectually, earning two doctorates and publishing two books. With an unquenchable passion to train front line leaders, Pastor Heard travels extensively in missionary evangelism. An "apostolic spirit of fatherhood" has drawn several thousand churches and leaders, both nationally and internationally, to look to him for mentoring and leadership. God has truly blessed this pastor and congregation!