60 years and counting...

The Birth of the Founder

On October 19,1908, in a small house in Roscoe, Texas, Byrd and Nina Wallis were celebrating the birth of their fifth child, Sullivan. With a family that would ultimately number six boys and four girls, the Wallises trusted God for all their needs and raised their children in a wholesome Christian environment. Eventually God would call Sullivan and his younger brother to the ministry, as preachers of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sullivan's Call to Waco

After a time, the Wallises moved to Coleman, Texas, where Sullivan worked at a hardware store for Mr. Will Stephens. Sullivan's close friend, Raymond Horn, also worked at the store. Raymond had a sister named Hazel, and it would not be long before Sullivan and Hazel began courting. On March 25,1930, Hazel Horn became Mrs. Sullivan G. Wallis and they would go on to raise a family of four children. They eventually moved to Breckenridge, Texas, where Sullivan heeded God's call to preach and pastor his first church. God would lead them to other churches over time, slowly preparing him for a tremendous undertaking: to establish a church in Waco, Texas.

The Formative Years

In 1953, Sullivan began to organize a New Testament, Bible-believing church in Bellmead. At the time there was a large eight-bedroom house at the corner of LaVega and Bellmead Drive. He inquired with the owner, who had it up for sale. After hearing that Sullivan wanted to temporarily hold services in the house, the owner agreed on the condition that Sullivan keep the grass mowed on the property. After a month, the house was sold and the congregation moved across Bellmead Drive to an old washateria. A partition wall was removed to make one large room, and there, in August of that year Sullivan G. Wallis founded the Calvary Baptist Church of Bellmead. There were eleven charter members. Bro. and Mrs. Wallis continued knocking on doors, putting in many hours of labor and prayer, constantly trusting in God to protect and nuture the new church. Mrs. Wallis told stories of visiting every house in Bellmead several times over in those early days. Many current members give testimony of their salvation as a direct result of a visit from Bro. Wallis.

"Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant"

The church was soon able to purchase property on the corner of Latimer and Fisher streets. In late 1953, the church began erecting a building there, and flourished under the dedicated leadership of its pastor. Bro. Wallis formerly resigned from the church in 1975, but he continued to preach at every opportunity and even briefly pastored the Whiterock Baptist Church in Bremond, Texas. Bro. Wallis preached his last sermon on Sunday, January 10,1982. The following Saturday, he became ill and was admitted to the hospital. On Tuesday, January 19, just shortly after 1:00 pm, Sullivan G. Wallis was ushered into the presence of God Himself. Bellmead Calvary members who knew him well believe that Bro. Wallis may have heard Jesus Christ repeat the words of Matthew 25:21, ".. .well done thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou in the joy of thy Lord." Over the twentytwo years that Bro. Wallis pastored Bellmead Calvary, he saw many souls come to know Christ. Many of those whom he won to the Savior have been winning others, and only eternity will reveal the true extent of his efforts.

Transition

After Bro. Wallis' retirement, the church called Rev. Gene Wolfenbarger as pastor. His resignation in 1976 prompted the church to again search for a new pastor. That search culminated with the calling of Dr. James G. Adams as the church's third pastor in February of 1977.

Bro. Jimmy's Call

Bro. Jimmy (as he is fondly called) is a native of Waco, born there on June 17, 1944. In August of 1960, at age sixteen, he received Christ as Savior while attending a Youth for Christ rally. He was later baptized at the Parkview Baptist Church, and it was there, in January, 1961, under the ministry of Pastor Everett Cox that Bro. Jimmy surrendered to the ministry. Bro. Jimmy graduated from Waco High School in May of 1963 and began his ministerial studies that same year at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He married his childhood sweetheart, the former Miss Patricia Shelton, in June of 1965. They have three sons, eleven grandchildren and one great-grandson. Upon graduating with a B.A.degree in 1968, Bro.Jimmy and his family began a seven-year ministry in Guadalajara, Mexico serving with Baptist International Missions, Inc. Returning to Texas in 1975, he served as the associate pastor of his homechurch (Parkview Baptist), and administered its Christian School. He also served on the faculty of the Liberty Bible College, where he earned a Doctor of Theology degree.

Growing Pains

Bellmead Calvary grew under Bro. Jimmy's ministry to the point that adjacent property was acquired in 1977 and again in 1978. Construction of a new sanctuary seating 500 with nurseries and educational space began in 1978 and was completed in 1979. The church expanded the educational wing in 1982 with the addition of a second story to accomodate the growing congregation. This educational wing was named after the founding pastor, Bro. Wallis.

A Familiar Face Returns

In February, 2010 Bro. Jimmy resigned as pastor in order to return to the missions field. He is currently serving as the Latin American Dirtector for the David Wood WITNESS Project. We are truly grateful for his thrity three years of faithful service to Bellmead Calvary Baptist Church. In the transition from Bro. Jimmy's leadership, the church called Dr. Gerald W. McKelroy to be the fourth pastor of Bellmead Calvary. Dr. McKelroy has been at Bellmead since he was a small child. He was saved under Sullivan Wallis. God called him to preach under Dr. Gene Wolfenbarger and he was ordained and sent out as a missionary church planter to Oregon under Bro. Jimmy. Dr. McKelroy attended Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas and Hyles Anderson College in Hammond, Indiana. He has founded and pastored churches in oregon for twenty one years before coming to Bellmead.


Over the past sixty years, many beloved members have come and gone, the meeting place has changed and three dedicated pastors have left their indelible marks, but the principle mission of Bellmead Calvary Baptist Church remains, as it was in 1953, to fulfill the Great Commission: win people to Christ, see them baptized, and teach them God's Word. May God forever bless all who grace its doors.