"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)
When Pastor Don Stone, Helotes Independent Baptist Church’s founding pastor, and his family were called to HIBC in the fall of 1982, there were just seven faithful believers meeting together.
These few were what remained of Helotes Bible Church, formerly Grey Forest Chapel.
The chapel held its first service July 10, 1977, in the home of two of its nine founding members. Later that year, in September, the congregation grew too large to meet in a home and began meeting in Grey Forest Youth Building. In November, they voted Rusty Maddox, a founding member, as their pastor.
But the congregation needed somewhere to call home.
In 1979 they built their home in Helotes, Texas, on what is now HIBC’s fellowship area. The congregation had multiplied to more than 100 members and held numerous weekly services, visitation, nursery, and music ministries.
After changing cities, they changed their name too. On Nov. 24, 1981, Grey Forest Chapel became Helotes Bible Church. Shortly thereafter, Pastor Maddox heeded God’s call to pastor a church in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Pastorless, one of HBC’s remaining seven members, John Hernandez, reached out to Pastor Stone through a mutual friend. Pastor Stone was then serving as associate pastor alongside a childhood friend who started a church in Marion, Texas. He knew, however, God wanted him to pastor a church elsewhere.
On Aug. 29, 1982, Pastor Stone candidated at the church. He knew immediately after pulling into the parking lot that it was where God wanted him.
Pastor Stone preached his first service as pastor at the newly named Helotes Independent Baptist Church on Sept. 12, 1982, our anniversary Sunday.
The church began to grow again. Seven quickly became more than 100. The Lord supplied the men, means, and materials to build the church’s present-day sanctuary. An anonymous benefactor even graciously donated land behind the church.
Under Pastor Stone’s lead, HIBC helped three nearby churches get started, sent a missionary to Honduras, began a bus ministry, and discipled several present-day preachers. But Pastor Stone’s greatest honor was baptizing an 84-year-old man after he got saved.
For 29 years, Pastor Stone led HIBC until Oct. 5, 2011, when he went home to be with the Lord after a yearlong battle with liver cancer.
For several years, God faithfully filled the pulpit at HIBC. The church was struggling, but God was training someone to become the new pastor. In April 2017, God called Pastor Joshua Kelley, who He had been preparing for such a time as this.
The church started growing and prospering. God was moving and working through HIBC. The church re-started prior ministries and started new ones.
It soon reached the point that Pastor Kelley could not do everything that needed to be done. The church prayed about it and trusted that God would provide the right person at the right time.
God did just that. In May 2020, Austin Binkley and his family joined the church to help Pastor Kelley with the ministries of the church.
Pastor Kelley continues to faithfully pastor HIBC, and God is working and moving through the church.
After more than 40 years, HIBC is still a light in Helotes, Texas and the surrounding area. This family-oriented, fundamental Baptist church continues to be a church home where its members and visitors can learn from the Bible in a friendly and loving environment.
Copyright 2016, Helotes Independent Baptist Church. All Rights Reserved.