West Oak Grove Church of Christ
“It was all in God’s plan”
1989 – 2014
Who is the man behind God’s mission? Furthermore, how is he accomplishing the mission that has been set before him? Terry Wallace the God led visionary, has a passion for leading souls to Christ. During a close-up interview, Bro. Wallace expressed his deep commitment to God and his longing desire to serve God’s people. He has a genuine love for people.
Through the examples set by his grandfathers, Bro. M. J. Wallace (Church of Christ Elder) and Mr. Isaiah King (Baptist Deacon), the cultivation of his ministry began. Bro. Wallace exclaimed, “My grandfathers would often debate about the churches, which sparked my curiosity about the one true church.” Remembering excerpts from the debates, Bro. Wallace stated, “Granddaddy King would always say, “I know what I feel in my heart” and Granddaddy Wallace would say, “What did the Bible say.” These experiences intrigued, shaped, and molded the tender adolescent for the mission God had for the man.
Bro. Wallace expresses his love and thankfulness to all his grandparents for the roles they played in making him who he is spiritually. However, the relationship he experienced with his grandfather (Bro. M. J. Wallace, Sr.) lead him closer to the calling God had placed on his life. Brother Terry Wallace alluded to the fact that staying busy with church functions kept him grounded in the word and kept him out of trouble. He stated, “If it wasn’t church, school or work related I wasn’t interested.”
He said, “At the age of 14 and 15 little did I know that at that time my grandfather was planting a seed of preaching in me.” He attributes his diligent work ethics to Bro. M. J. Wallace, Sr. who planted many churches in the local area and had taken him to numerous National Lectureships of the Church of Christ, Crusades for Christ and many summer Gospel meetings each year. (2 Cor. 3:18)
During the interview, he vividly recalled driving his grandparents to the first Crusade for Christ at the McCormick Plaza Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. This life changing experience cultivated the seed of ministry for Bro. Wallace at the tender age of 15. He states, “Thousands of people came that night. I was sitting on the front seat with my grandfather. As Bro. G. P. Holt preached, hundreds of people walked forward to obey the gospel at a steady flow. I could not believe what I was experiencing! I knew then that there was this joy; there was this bubbling inside of me that I knew that preaching was my calling, that it was my life. But, when I heard Bro. Washington and Bro. Holt said, “I don’t know anything else to say, I’ve said all I know, I don’t know anything else. But there is a man behind me, I believe, he has something, just a little bit more to say.” At that moment Bro. Washington walked out and said, “I’m glad the Church was not built on fried chicken and on green beans, and wiener raffles, but it was built on the word of God! There has to be one more! Another fifty or more peopled walked forward; Tears were in my eyes, as I looked at my Grand-dad and said “one day that’s going to be me.”
Bro. Wallace’s thirst for knowledge of God’s word even surpassed his desire to play football for the University of Mississippi. “I think God was in the plan the whole time.” Bro. Wallace stated, “I wasn’t even interested in going to Bible school, I was interested in playing football for the University of Mississippi.” However, in 1983 at the age of 18, Bro. Wallace was influenced by his grandfather to attend the International Bible College (now Heritage University) located in Florence, Alabama. Dr. Prentiss Spivey was also very instrumental in Bro. Wallace’s pursuit of a Christian education. Bro. Wallace stated, “I called Dr. Spivey on a Saturday, he happened to be at the school on the day I called, and I knew again it was in God’s plan. He was at my grandfather’s house that Monday morning telling me, “yes you can excel!”
“The moment that I walked on the campus I knew that’s where God wanted me to be” stated Bro. Wallace. During his pursuit of education at Heritage University Dr. Prentiss Spivey became his mentor. His college years were tough financially; he had to work many odd jobs to live. However, those though years were mad more pleasant while keeping company with a certain your lady, LaWanda Beasley, who he met at the Smithsonia Church of Christ in Florence, Alabama.
In 1989 Bro. Wallace attained his bachelor’s degree in ministry under the tutelage of Bro. Spivey and nurture of Sister Carrie Spivey who also acted as surrogate parents. While attending Heritage University, Bro. Spivey was able to prepare 18 year old Bro. Wallace for the ministry by recommending him for his first work as minister. “The West Gains Street Church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, TN taught me the importance of discipline and confidentiality as a young minister” he also stated, “this church prepared me for my next work.” He made many new relationships with those in and out of the church. Even though the work at West Gaines Street was flourishing, God had other plans. In 1985 he took the helm at the Broadway Street Church of Christ in Mt. Pleasant, TN as a 19 year old minister. “This work (Broadway Street) grew me up,” he said.
“Broadway Street was where God sharpened my tools to work in his vineyard,” Bro. Wallace exclaimed. “I loved the people of that church and we had many good days.” In addition to Broadway Street, Piney Grove Church of Christ in Winfield, AL was very instrumental in his spiritual growth as a minister.
During this time in 1985 while living in Florence, AL and preaching in Mt. Pleasant, TN and Winfield, AL, he and LaWanda Beasley were married. As time passed, God was preparing him for another Journey; His family began to increase with a bundle of joy, Terry D. Wallace, Jr. He remained at Broadway Street until February of 1988. Upon completion of his degree in theology; Bro. Wallace began to long for the calling that was placed in him many years prior to attending Heritage University.
Following graduation in May 1989, he journeyed to Jonesboro, AR to establish a church where he and his family could settle down and call it home. However, things were not working out as he had planned because his plan was not God’s plan. In 1989, while living in Florence, preaching in Winfield and longing for Jonesboro, Bro. Wallace’s “God altered” plans led him to Hernando, MS.
Before coming to Hernando, Bro. Wallace met with the Macedonia Church in Florence for financial support. They helped to purchase his first home and agreed to support him financially for five years as a missionary work. Following that he met with Bro. Kim and Sis. Evelyn Wallace in Florence, AL. Bro Terry Wallace discussed the possibility of him and his family moving to Hernando and establishing a church there. Even though the first work failed, Bro. Kim Wallace was in full support of the move.
The first attempt to establish a congregation in Hernando was unsuccessful, even with much support. The Hernando Church of Christ has purchased land for the first work on Hernando on Hill Street. Central Avenue Church of Christ under the leadership of Bro. M.J. Wallace supported the work as well. Almost a year later spirits were broken and members were dispersed after the demise of the work in 1987. Nevertheless, God had plans for another person to move this area spiritually.
Bro. Wallace age 24 began carrying out his plan for the new work the first Sunday in July of 1989 in a small metal building. Yet he encountered much opposition; which was a direct result of the failed work two years prior. But God was in the plan. After recognizing Bro. Wallace’s diligence to the ministry, The Hernando, Central Avenue, Norris Road and West Moreland churches contributed to the new work. Bro. Wallace stated, “The first worship service consisted of 9 members, yet after the third worship service with 25 people in attendance, I knew then this church would do some awesome things.” He also stated, “They loved people, they loved each other and there was cohesiveness even at that small place and there was a thirst for the knowledge of God – they wanted to grow.” Because of their thirst to learn, Bro. Wallace brought some of the greatest preachers in the brotherhood to help encourage and empower the membership. Through Bro. Wallace’s faith and relationship with God, he knew that the church would grow. By 1990 the membership had grown to 35 adults and about 20 children. He knew a new facility would be needed and began searching for an area to build. After about four years of hard work and dedication, the congregation was in need of a new home.
The youthful congregation was turned down by many banks. However, the young men kept the faith. In 1992 through the influence and good name of Bro. M. J. Wallace a loan was secured at the People’s Bank. By March of 1993, the 70 membership church known as Hill Street moved to their new home on West Oak Grove Road, with a new name, “West Oak Grove Church of Christ”.
Bro. Wallace said, “On the dedication Sunday in 1993 I knew then, the building was too small.” As his congregation continued to flourish, his vision was apparent. With that in mind, in 1998 he began to search for a new place to call home again he was met with opposition and God prevailed. He was able to purchase 25 acres of land on Highway 51. However, it would be six years before ground-breaking on the new site.
In preparation for building the new home on Highway 51, the building in “the Hole” had to be sold. Bro. Wallace said, “God was in the plan.” In 2003 the building was sold before putting it on the market. “It seemed as though this sell left us without a home, he said, “But I had made arrangements with the Hernando Church of Christ.” With the help of the Hernando Church of Christ the transition was smooth. The Hernando Church allowed West Oak Grove to worship at 12 noon on Sunday’s and Tuesday evening Bible class. They worshiped there for little more than a year, as they prepared to move to “The Grove”.
2004 produced much excitement as they entered “The Grove” at 3455 Highway 51 South. Bro. Wallace exclaimed, “It was a beautiful place to see and behold; it was the work of all the members that got us here; their servant attitude.” He added, “So God was in the plan then and he is even in the plan now.” He attributes the warmth and loving spirit of the Grove, “to knowing the Lord and living in the spirit and letting that permeate into the people around me.” He says, “When you study the word of God, spend time with God, He gives you those things and it filters off on the people, elders, deacons, or whomever those men may be that surround you.” He added, “We have always had a faithful leadership here at West Oak Grove. When the preacher and those men are together, there is no limit to what God will do with the membership.” It is my prayer that we do greater and grow faster. However, I would hate to grow faster and not stronger.
Leading into West Oak Grove’s 21st year in existence much spiritual advancement was experienced. However, it was after the 21st year through much prayer and hard work that the Jonesboro, Arkansas a vision- that began 23 years earlier became a major milestone for the West Oak Grove family. While partnering with the Valley View Church of Christ in Jonesboro, the evangelistic effort began. In the year of 2012, was the birth of North Pointe Church of Christ in Jonesboro, Arkansas. “We are grateful for what the Lord has done with the Jonesboro Mission and are excited to see where God will lead in the future,” says Bro. Terry D. Wallace Sr.
. . . and the story continues . . .
"The One True Church"