The History of Gospel Light Baptist Church
Gospel Light Baptist Church
was established in 2000.
In 1999, a vision began in the mind of Joel Overton to start an independent Baptist church in the Malvern, Arkansas area. In May of that year, Joel Overton contacted Bob Raines and asked him to help him with this vision by starting the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Joel Overton’s home. Immediately, Bob Raines saw the need for a church building, and took his request to God. He found an empty building on the corner of 5th and Oak Street here in Malvern for a great price. Though the cost was low, the church did not have the funds at the time. Cliff Caughman out of the Gospel Light Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas, purchased the building until the church could afford to pay him for it.
The Lighthouse Baptist Church then moved to its new location at 503 Oak Street in Malvern. Bob Raines knew when he had taken the position as pastor that his commute from another town and his health would not permit him to be the permanent pastor of the church. Therefore, he began praying that God would send a man who would share his and Joel Overton’s burden for the people in Malvern.
God placed that burden in the heart of a man, our pastor, Jon Horton. In July of 2000, Jon Horton, his wife Teresa, and their only son Anthony, left Indiana and moved to the city of Malvern. Pastor Horton took the three families that attended this church and organized a new church called Gospel Light. On the Horton’s’ first Sunday at Gospel Light, there was an attendance of 11. After two months of knocking doors and searching the highways and hedges, Pastor Jon Horton renamed the Lighthouse Baptist Church, and had the charter membership service for Gospel Light Baptist Church on September 10, 2000.
Since that day, the Gospel Light Baptist Church has remodeled the entire church building inside and out, purchased three homes (two staff homes, and one which was our Youth Center), and several buses and vans. Our church has started a bus ministry busing 50 to 75 kids each week to be trained about the things of God. We have several soul winning and visitation programs and have trained several soul winners on how to win someone to Christ. The church has started a nursing home ministry which gives our elderly people in these homes a chance to have their own church service. Gospel Light also started a Christian school, Ambassador Baptist Academy, with over 20 students enrolled each year since its beginning in 2005. More exciting than any of the accomplishments listed above is the fact that we have seen over 2,000 souls come to receive Christ as their personal Savior, with more than 200 of those being baptized.
In 2004, the church purchased four acres of property with the intent of building a larger building to accommodate our growing congregation. However, several obstacles kept us from breaking ground on our Owen St. property. In April 2007, a layman, Mark Taylor, told our pastor about a five-acre piece of property with two metal buildings for sale on Tanner Street, a street close to our Wal-mart. An 84 Lumber store had gone out of business and had their property up for sale. After a church vote, we decided to make an offer of $350,000 even though the list price was much higher. Our offer was accepted quickly, and we knew God was leading us to change our plans from new construction on Owen St. to remodeling on Tanner St. In May of 2008, Jeff Speer, evangelist and church builder, moved his family to Malvern to act as our general contractor. We began remodeling immediately, and moved into our new location at 1585 Tanner Street on April 12, 2009.
Since moving to Tanner Street, we have continued to see the hand of God on the ministry here at Gospel Light, and without any hesitation we can say, “All the glory belongs to Jesus!”
We praise God for what He has done through this ministry over the past ten years, and we praise God for what He will continue to do!