HOUSTON-Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church recently celebrated their Fiftieth anniversary, at Hilton Americas Hotel, in Downtown Houston. Established in the home of now retired Pastor Emeritus William A. and Mrs. Audrey Lawson, Wheeler Avenue was organized with 13 members on Sunday, June 3, 1962. The congregation currently known as Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church became the avenue through which those assembled would express their faith and extend hope to others.
In His inimitable Grace, God has supplied every need for the developing congregation. From the trustworthy courage of the original thirteen to the undaunted hope of over 8,000 currently, God has continued to faithfully increase the number of sheep in the flock. His all-sufficient Grace has likewise been the efficacious force propelling each ministry established and all manifestations of progress, materially or spiritually.
It was by means of the favor of God that the Southern Baptists graced the church with her first sanctuary, later known as “The Chapel,” in 1962. This place of worship was provided to the church at a cost significantly below its market value and with a zero percent interest rate! The growth of the Wheeler Avenue Complex over the years has, indeed, been a testament to the incomparable deeds of our God, for He has favored His flock with a ministry complex consisting of a prayer chapel, a scout house, a sanctuary for worship, a shipping and receiving facility, and the William A. Lawson Christian Life Center and Community Life Center, all of which were consecrated for the work of ministry during the 41st year after the inception of the church.
After forty-two years of spiritual leadership in the congregation of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Founding Pastor, the Reverend William A. Lawson, announced in the anniversary worship on June 6, 2004 that he was prepared to pass the staff to another Shepherd. Over the summer of 2004, he prepared the congregation for transition. His sermons reflected biblical patterns of passing the mantle. Pastor Lawson admonished the congregation to enter a season of consecrated prayer and to seek God’s guidance in determining the next leader. He further led the congregation in a I Corinthians 14:40 pattern: “. . . to do everything in a fitting and orderly manner” (NIV).
As God had preordained in His will and through His benevolence, the congregation elected the pulpit committee’s sole candidate, the Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby. In August of 2004, Pastor Lawson announced to the congregation that Dr. Cosby had received nearly 100% of the vote and was, therefore, the Pastor-Elect of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. On September 1, 2004, the Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby began service as the second pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and was officially installed on October 24, 2004. He led the congregation in an understanding of the five purposes of the church: evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry/mission and worship. Rev. Cosby encourages worshipers to intensify their efforts toward realizing a deeper and fuller life of faith, as he leads the church in studies of faith formation and spiritual formation, and he inspired over two hundred congregants to attend a midday and evening Bible Study on Wednesdays.