Rev. William GillespiePastor William

Pastor Gillespie has been a pastor and church planter for over thirty-five years. He has a B.A.. in Pastoral Studies and
Bible from Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Ankeny, IA. He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of Baptist Home Missions and is Director of Inner City Ministries seeking to enlist and encourage men to plant churches in our cities.


I was constantly faced with the question of where I would go when I died. This was especially on my heart while serving in the Navy. After returning home from a ten month cruise I learned that my cousin had drowned while exploring a cave. I remember the funeral and thinking where did he go, Heaven or Hell? Where would I spend eternity? I tried to console myself that I was baptized and a church member, but it did not satisfy.

A co-worker of my wife was constantly inviting her to come visit her church. The girl was getting no response with Tress so she asked her husband to invite me. I accepted the invitation. The people were friendly and made us feel right at home. The Pastor preached a good message and he asked the congregation if you are not absolutely certain where you will spend eternity now is the time to know. Today is the day of Salvation. That was the question I was asking myself although I failed to respond. After the service we were given a visitor card and checked NO visit from the Pastor.

Monday morning Pastor Earls called and I was glad. He came to our house the same day and shared with me something I never knew existed in the Bible, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye may know that you have eternal life.”(1 John 5:13a) Realizing I was a sinner I invited the Lord Jesus Christ into my life to be my Savior. My life was changed. I am no longer uncertain I know for sure I will go to heaven not because I was good, but because of the promise of God.

Burden & Call to the Ministry

My enlistment in the Navy was almost over; however my Pastor Dr. James Earls encouraged me to join Emmaus Road Baptist Church in Chesapeake, VA. I was discipled under his ministry and became involved in visitation and the jail ministry. It was during this time that God called me to preach the gospel.

When I was discharged from active duty in February 1975 I returned home to St. Louis and went back to my old church, but I discovered that they were not preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word. I talked to the pastor and it became apparent that he was trying to please the people. I visited several churches however I could not find one Baptist church which was preaching a clear gospel message among black people. I prayed and asked God to send a man to plant a good sound Bible believing Baptist church in my neighborhood. 1978, God lead me to Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. It was during a mission’s conference God spoke to my heart and I surrendered my life to do whatever God would have me to do. God directed me back to St. Louis in 1983 to plant Churches. We have been involved in three church plants. There are 2.5 million people in the St. Louis Metro area. Five hundred thousand are black. On the north side where I live new families are moving in daily. We are currently planting a church in North County.

We started Maranatha Baptist Church on Easter Sunday 1999 through a Bible study with my next door neighbor. God has given me a burden to see more churches planted. There is a tremendous need and God has laid on my heart to train laborers. We believe in missions!! We currently support nine missionaries and three mission boards through Faith Promise Giving. My vision is to see Maranatha Baptist Church practicing our Lord’s commandment to preach the gospel to every person.

To contact Pastor Gillespie please e-mail