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Tabernacle Baptist Church of George, Iowa was formed in 1932 by a small group of evangelical believers. It was originally called the First English Baptist Church also known as the Gospel Tabernacle. Since they had no building to meet in, they rented the Evangelical United Brethren Church each Sunday afternoon for Sunday School and worship services.
The first deacons, Harm Johnson and John Feldman were elected in April of 1932. The first trustees were Herman Feldman, George Bruns and Archie Reemtsma.
The church gave Harm Johnson the authority to baptize those who desired to be immersed and become members of the church. Sixteen believers were baptized on July 3, 1932 in the Little Rock River southeast of George.
In September of 1932 the church purchased a lot and a simple frame building was constructed. On Sunday, October 9, 1932 they decided to put in the foundation. The building was erected after that and dedicated on December 4, 1932. The benches used in the church had no backs. The sanctuary had unfinished walls and a dirt floor covered with saw dust and shavings.
About a year after occupancy, a fire severely damaged the interior of the building but not the spirits of the members. Repairs were made and services quickly resumed. The first annual meeting was held on January 13, 1933 and is a good indication of how things have changed over the years. The treasurer's report showed that the church had income of $1,051.41; expenses were $1,048.91 leaving a balance of $2.50. The Sunday School fund had an income of $214.81, expenses of $177.31 leaving a balance of $37.50.
During that first annual meeting, John Feldman, Jake Reemtsma and George Bruns were elected deacons. Herman Feldman, George Bruns and Archie Reemtsma were elected trustees. Archie Reemtsma was treasurer and R. Cassens was secretary. The Sunday School Superintendent was Tom Bruns. Enno Bruns served as janitor and was given a “heartfelt thank you” for his services. Harm Johnson was asked to continue serving as leader. He too, was thanked for his services of the past year.
Late in 1933 some renovations were made to improve the interior of the building. The walls were lined with wall board and backs were put on the benches. The floor of the church remained dirt until 1935 when a wood floor was installed.
Much of the church's growth can be attributed to the many members who served and those who continued to serve, willingly and without compensation. It wasn't until 1935 that Enno Bruns and Harm Johnson accepted love gifts of $10 and $100, respectively for their faithful services.
In the fall of 1935 the name of the church was officially changed to Tabernacle Baptist Church. It was incorporated in the Spring of 1936 and in June of that year the first pastor, Harm Johnson was ordained.
Tabernacle's world-wide mission emphasis began in November of 1938 when the decision was made to support the church's first missionary, Ruth Veenker who served in Nigeria, Africa. In the fall of 1939 Ruth's brother, Ray Veenker became the second missionary supported by the church. He too served in Nigeria, Africa.
In 1939 an addition was built to the east side of the church auditorium to keep up with the growth in membership and attendance. The Lord continued to bless the church and the need for additional Sunday School classrooms became evident. In 1943 a building fund was established and, in the spring of 1950, construction of a new building began.
A 48 x 80 block building was constructed. It seated about 200 people in the auditorium and the basement had Sunday School rooms, a kitchen and room for youth activities. Dedication of the building was held in June of 1951. In 1965 brick facing was added to the cement block exterior and in 1979 a gabled roof was added to keep the flat roof from leaking.
The Awana youth program was started in the 1970's. Wanda Johnson was the first director. It should be noted that Awana is funded as a home mission. Awana has proven to be a valuable tool of ministry and an effective means of evangelizing the youth of surrounding communities. Due to the increasing attendance of the Awana and Sunday School programs, it became apparent in the early 1980's that additional space was again needed to help meet the needs of these programs.
In the fall of 1982, a lot adjacent to the church property was purchased and the church voted to build a new addition. A building committee was chosen and building plans proceeded. The addition consisted of a new auditorium, Sunday School rooms, church offices, library, a new kitchen and nursery. The old auditorium was remodeled, converting it into an activity center/fellowship hall. Construction was completed in the Spring of 1984.
Due to continued growth the need for additional seating in the auditorium and more Sunday School rooms were needed. In the summer of 1997 a building program again was undertaken. An education wing was added to the west side of the fellowship hall and the auditorium seating capacity was enlarged. Additional parking was also provided. This project was completed in March of 1998.
The history of Tabernacle Baptist Church is more than the building of physical structures. Without a group of caring believers intent on serving Christ and building each other up in His likeness, there would be no church. Tabernacle has been blessed over the years with leadership who consistently looks to God for direction…leaders who have a solid understanding of biblical truths. Those leaders who have served the church faithfully in the position of pastor are as follows:
In 2004 the position of Pastor for Sr. Adult Ministries was added. Rev. Oryn Meinerts is currently serving in this position.
Rev. Harm Johnson 1932-1959
Rev. August Post 1959-1964
Rev. Dallas Keck 1965-1970
Rev. Charles Rogers 1971-1978
Rev. Gilbert Hamilton 1978-1990
Rev. Dan Hauge 1990-2002
Rev. Jeff MacKay 1994-1999
Rev. Matt Yaley 1999-2008
Rev. Bryan Anderson 2005-present
Over the past decade, Tabernacle has grown at a pace that demanded increased staffing to enhance ministries of the church and meet the needs of the congregation. In October, 1994, an associate pastor was added to provide help in youth ministries, Christian Education and administration. In the fall of 2001 the position of Ministries Facilitator was added to meet the needs of the church family. Eldon Johnson is currently serving in this position. The pastoral staff is ably helped by a full-time secretary. Wanda Johnson has served in the past; the position is now being filled by Marlys Korthals.
Another unique ministry at Tabernacle is its music ministry. The choir and special musical groups such as the Ambassadors, One Way, Boyden Quartet, individuals who play instruments and sing have dedicated their God-given talents to benefit and encourage others. The ministry of the Ambassador Quartet along with its accompanist blessed the church for 42 years. It is not often that 5 individuals stay together that long.
In addition to exceptional leadership and music ministry, Tabernacle has been blessed with an extension pool of ministries and activities for every age group attending church. The video ministry started in the Spring of 1992 has extended the church's outreach to neighboring communities. The Sunday Morning Worship Services are taped and then broadcast through the Local Access Cable Stations in George, Boyden, Sheldon, Sibley, Little Rock, Rock Rapids, Iowa as well as Ellsworth, Minnesota.
The ministry of missions continues to be a vital part of the church's outreach. Tabernacle Baptist Church presently supports some 20 plus missionaries throughout Africa, Asia, Mexico, South America and United States Home Missions.
Other programs of the church include Bible Studies, Sunday School Classes, Children's Church, Senior Bible Study and Fellowship, Vacation Bible School, Church & Sunday School Libraries, Nursery Care, Summer Camps, Summer Mission Trips, Musical Opportunities, Adult and Youth Groups, Social Activities Technical Support (Audio, Video, Overhead Projectionist, Website, Clerical, and Custodial), Awana and the regular weekly Worship Services.
Whatever your gifts, talents or interests may be, there's a place for you to serve at Tabernacle. And, whatever your needs may be or problems you may have, Tabernacle provides a place where Christ's love can meet those needs.