Our History

Westgate is an independent, fundamental, Baptist church. Our philosophy of ministry is very simple.

Westgate Baptist Church has its roots in old Tabernacle Baptist Church. The Tabernacle Baptist Church was organized on September 6, 1959, by Rev. Carl G. Gibbs, Nolan Harrelson and families, which made nine members. The church met at 471 Magnolia Street until December of 1963. In August of 1963, a piece of property was bought and a church building was constructed on White Ave. Even though the building was unfinished, the church moved in and had services the first Sunday of December, in 1963. The Sunday school attendance that first Sunday was 111.

In 1965, a Christian Day School was organized with 4 and 5 year-old kindergarten. In 1974, the church and school moved to its new location on Smith Road. The buildings located on 29 acres, included classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria. The school graduated its first 12th grade class in 1977. The enrollment that year was 210. In the late 1970s Dr. J. Robert Martin became the pastor of Tabernacle. Due to problems related to moving and building on the Smith Road property, prior to his coming, the original Tabernacle Baptist Church was terminated and a group of those folk came to Temple Baptist Church, located in the present facilities that now house Westgate. The buildings, of course, have been greatly improved since that time.

Temple Baptist Church had been started under the direction of Rev. Siler and had purchased the land and facilities of the old Westview Elementary School. The churches merged their congregations and Dr. Martin became the pastor of the Temple Baptist Church in 1980. The church voted in December of 1981 to change the name to Westgate Baptist Church, a move that has made identification with the west side of Spartanburg a plus for the church. After Dr. Martin resigned as pastor, the church called Rev. Alan Taylor to be pastor in January of 1983.

Under the leadership of Brother Taylor, much of the remodeling to the facilities took place. Sidewalks and columns, a new roof and roof-line, and the gym were all added during his tenure. The school saw its greatest enrollment under his leadership and the church grew with new families added and souls saved. Rev. Taylor resigned in the early summer of 1988 and Rev. Ed Deese was called to be pastor in October of 1988. Under the leadership of Brother Deese, all of the buildings were remodeled, and the Easler building was added. The church called a new school administrator/music director and a youth pastor. During the tenure of Brother Deese, the church and school became stronger as a body of believers in Jesus Christ. A faith missions program was added, which resulted in a substantial increase in the resources for missionary support. Rev. Deese resigned in May of 1998.

Rev. Bill Bethea became the next Senior Pastor and began his ministry on August 30, 1998. The average attendance at that time was 149 in the Sunday morning service and 99 in the Sunday evening service.

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