Greater Metropolitan
Missionary Baptist Church

5856 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL  60637
"Building relationships to build up people to build the Kingdom"

Church History

In March of 1927, a match was struck when eight individuals assembled in the home of Sister Banks to organize a church; presiding over the meeting was Reverend Richard W. Collins. These early beginnings stirred hope and imaginative visions of spreading the gospel of salvation. Reverend Banks was chosen Pastor and the church was called Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church holding services in a storefront of 60th and State Street.

At first, just a few were touched and warmed; but the fire spread through outreach of Sunday School, morning services, choir musicals and a food kitchen program which fed many neighbors twice a day. As the flame and fire traveled, the church gave birth empowered by the Holy Spirit. Reverend Montgomery G. Ward was called by the church in 1940 to shepherd the congregation. He admonished the people to be strong and trust the Lord for the impossible. In 1956, the impossible became possible when property was secured at 5856 S. Wabash and the church building was erected. Reverend Ward served eighteen years and in 1958 accepted a call in Los Angeles, California.

On November 1958, the fiery Reverend Arlander C. Mitchell was called as Pastor. Like Paul and Barnabas who organized the churches’ leadership; Reverend Mitchell developed Spirit-led leaders who could help the church grow. During this period, the congregation worked towards reducing the financial debts of the church and Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church was renamed Greater Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church Inc. Although many outstanding accomplishments had began during his watch his fire dimmed when he was called to rest in 1961.

In February 1964, a Spirit-inspired builder, Pastor Lee William Craig, was called to shepherd and nourish the believers with God’s truth. Soon the congregation outgrew its structure and was asked to choose either to rebuild on its current site or relocate. After weighing both positives and negatives, the church overwhelming chose to rebuild and remain in the community. In 1980, the vision was materialized when the members embarked on its official expansion program. The bricks were mortared and the dream realized in January 1982, when we entered into our new edifice. In 1991, the L.W. Craig Educational Center was completed. After thirty years of service Pastor Craig retired in 1994, leaving a legacy of good works. Following his departure, Reverend Walter Lemons, Jr. served as interim pastor.

In 1996, the Lord sent one of “His helpers” a young lion as under-shepherd, Pastor Michael Runnels to lead His flock; and a youth movement was underway. He brought new and fresh ideas to revitalize the church, first spiritually then new attitudes. Troubled by the complacency he observed in the congregation, he asked the Lord difficult questions and like the prophet Habakkuk, he was commissioned to write a new vision for the church. As the church moves forward in this new millennium, Reverend Runnels inspires the people to become “instruments of healing and reconciliation for a generation caught in the snare of the net of time”.

We are marching forward in time always remembering the match that was struck in 1927. We can envision “planning, praying, practicing the presence of God; training for the service through the reading and studying of the Word of God, equipped with the weapons of spiritual warfare to serve this present age with a vision for this millennium”.

We are thankful to our Father for the gift of history and we pledge to keep the Great Commission “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” Amen
Matt. 28:19, 20

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