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 meetings and a strong emphasis on the power of prayer, they moved to Woodland Acres Elementary School in the east side of Houston.
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 - While returning home from Louisiana, 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 - R. A. Heard, a successful 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 a Family Life Center and Christian school, pre-K through 5th grade. Beginning with a staff of two, Pastor Heard began building a team of gifted men and women and soon added four more leaders. To provide room for growth, a second service at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays was added.
1996 - On a Sunday morning in October, a 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 demonstrations of the Spirit. For almost three months, 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. attracted a constant flow of visitors, escalating the membership to 2,000. During this time, 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 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 2,800, students have been trained and equipped to evangelize their own people. Bible Schools in other nations have since been established according to this same concept.
2002 - As a future expansion, 48.2 acres of prime property was purchased on Beltway 8 at Garrett Road. Other updates this year included: (1) a modular building to provide more classroom space; (2) a Sunday afternoon Spanish service for the rapidly growing Hispanic population in our area; and (3) a Saturday night service to support the Sunday morning overflow.
2003-2005 - Two new parking lots (total of five) were added, with extensive remodeling of staff offices and classroom space. To service our rapidly growing congregation of 3,500, a 10 a.m. Sunday 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. A fourth 7:30 a.m. service was added, expanding our busy weekend to include: Saturday at 6:00 p.m., Sunday at 7:30, 9:00, 10:10, and 11:15 a.m. and a 2:15 p.m. Spanish service. By 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).
2008-2011 - As preliminary building plans were formulated, a Capital Stewardship Campaign was introduced in May 2008 for the new facility. However, in September of that year, Hurricane Ike hit the Houston area, causing major church damage, followed by the worst economic recession in modern times. Emergency repairs included new floor tile for the first level of the building and a complete church make-over. Instead of our intended $7 million stewardship goal, we raised a total of $3.3 million, which was spent on architectural fees, several building expenditures, and in 2014, full payment of the land. (What a blessing that we postponed building during the recession!)
2012-2014 - The insurance settlement in 2012 provided funding to pave two asphalt parking lots, renovate the FLC and other church upgrades, a new drainage system, lighting, sound equipment, carpet, and entire seating for the Sanctuary. In 2014, the Young Adults established “Revol Houston”, a Tuesday night service for leaders who are passionate about Jesus, and His Kids introduced AWANA Clubs, ages 6-12, on Wednesday nights.
From 1988 to present - In Pastor Heard’s 19 years as a crusade evangelist and 31 years as senior pastor at Christian Tabernacle, his greatest passion has been to equip spiritual leaders to serve. To fulfill that calling, 20 congregations in Houston and other parts of our nation have been founded or come under C.T.’s spiritual covering, several international Bible schools have been established, and he has personally trained several thousand pastors and leaders, earned two doctorates, authored five books, and become a prominent conference speaker. Over 5,000 pastors and missionary leaders now look to him as father and mentor.