Sugar Land Baptist Church History
On January 31, 1982 First Baptist Church of Sugar Land, Texas held a commissioning service for ten families and a single adult who were embarking on a great venture. They were to be the instrument that the Lord would use to establish a new Baptist Mission in the First Colony area of Sugar Land, Texas. These families from FBC made a solemn commitment to work, pray, be faithful, and to be givers in all areas in establishing this new mission church.
On February 7, 1982, Williams Trace Baptist Church held its first worship service in Colony Bend Elementary School. After prayer and negotiation, on February 18, 1982, the 5-acre tract of land across the street from Colony Bend Elementary School was purchased.
To begin its ministry, Williams Trace Baptist Church needed a leader of proven abilities. Such a leader was found in Dr. Robert Newell, who was serving on the faculty of Houston Baptist University. Early in January, 1982, Dr. Newell met with the Pastor Search Committee for WTBC. Later in the month, the Committee extended the call to Dr. Newell. He accepted. Dr. Newell was interim Pastor for Williams Trace Baptist Church from February 7, 1982. On Sunday, July 18, Kenneth A. Corr delivered a sermon in the morning worship service in view of a call. Immediately afterward, the church called itself into special session and voted to call Ken as Pastor, a call that Ken accepted wholeheartedly. On August 22, 1982, Ken Corr officially became the first Pastor of Williams Trace Baptist Church.
During 1984, the Constitution and By-laws Committee began drafting the formal documents necessary to guide WTBC once it decided to cease being a mission of FBC, Sugar Land, and become an independent church. In the Fall of 1984, Ken Corr led WTBC to be constituted as a church with 300 members.
On July 15, 1985, the still very young church gathered on its five-acre site across the street from Colony Bend Elementary School and broke ground for the construction of its first building. It was a sunny afternoon and everyone walked across the street from the elementary school after that morning’s worship service. Pastor Corr turned the first spade full of dirt to mark this significant event in WTBC history.
In November 1993, WTBC sold its property and relocated within the First Colony area to a larger site. At the end of 1994, Pastor Ken Corr resigned to answer a call from the historic First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee. The Church celebrated Ken’s 12 1/2 years of ministry, friendship and leadership before bidding a sorrowful farewell to all of the Corr family in February, 1995.
The Church needed leadership, and soon after Ken’s departure from the pulpit, WTBC called Dr. Winfred Moore, as its Interim Pastor in March 1995. Dr. Moore, long time pastor of First Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas, (who was serving on faculty at Baylor University at the time), agreed to travel to Sugar Land each weekend to preach and provide leadership.
At Winfred Moore’s urging, the Building Committee aggressively went to work studying the feasibility of relocating WTBC to a new, larger location. In November 1995, after more than eight months of pastor search, the church called Dr. Phil Lineberger to become its full-time pastor. Dr. Lineberger was pastor at that time at First Baptist Church Tyler, Texas, where he had served for four years. Pastor Phil, and his wife Brenda, would serve Williams Trace Baptist Church/Sugar Land Baptist Church for the next 19 years.
Before the new building was completed, the church met at Clements High School Auditorium, still using the old building and homes for Sunday School classes and Bible study. WTBC’s first service in its new building was held on February 7, 1999 on the newly purchased 15-acre strip of land along the Southwest Freeway. Due space concerns, it was decided to move on the “phase II” of the building project, with groundbreaking on the Sanctuary and Church Offices/Nursery wing on February 1, 2004. On May 22, 2005 the church opened the new sanctuary with over 2,000 in attendance.
EXPERIENCING GOD’S GRACE THROUGH TRAGEDY AND CHANGE
When the church relocated to a larger tract of land on the Southwest Freeway in 1999, a name change was considered but it was felt that it would be too overwhelming with the move. The biggest concern expressed by the subcommittee members was that the use of the name “Williams Trace” in our name was now misleading and confusing since the church was not located on Williams Trace Boulevard.
On April 25, 2010, a vote was held immediately after the Sunday morning worship service. The written ballots were counted and it was announced that the motion to change the name of the church to Sugar Land Baptist Church passed by more than the required two-thirds majority of members present.
On May 31, 2015, longtime pastor Dr. Phil Lineberger, passed away. New leadership was again needed for Sugar Land Baptist Church. In the months following Pastor Phil’s death, faculty from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary visited each Sunday to fill the pulpit. In September 2015, the Personnel Committee called Dr. R. Robert Creech, Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Director of Pastoral Ministries at Truett Seminary, to be Interim Pastor. Dr. Creech filled the pulpit on Sundays and worked with current staff led by Executive Pastor, Chris Curran.
A Pastor Search Committee was formed in December, 2016 to seek a new Senior Pastor for Sugar Land Baptist Church. After gathering information from the congregation, setting up town hall meetings, and processing hundreds of resumes, the Committee announced it was ready to call Dr. Taylor Sandlin as the next Senior Pastor for Sugar Land Baptist Church. Following Worship on Sunday, March 26, 2017, the congregation voted by a strong majority to call Dr. Sandlin as Pastor. His first Sunday in the Sugar Land Baptist pulpit was on Easter, April 16, 2017.
Sugar Land Baptist Church has seen God work in numerous instances affecting the lives of countless thousands in the greater Southwest Houston area and around the world through her membership and missions. We are poised and ready for what God will do in and through Sugar Land Baptist Church members in the next chapter of our church’s great history.