Calvary Hill Baptist Church History dates back to May 5, 1957, when Pastor V. H. Lyles, along with 16 charter members, organized and established the Chandler Drive Baptist Church in Garland. With 26 people enrolled in Sunday School and an annual budget of $840.00, the church embarked on a mission of ministry. Within its first four months of existence, Chandler Drive Baptist Church had held its first Revival Meeting, conducted its first Vacation Bible School, with 80 children in attendance and ordained its first Deacon, Bro. James Krodel. By its first anniversary the church’s membership had grown to 80 people, with 103 enrolled in Sunday School.
Over the years the ministry of Chandler Drive continued to expand, and as a result, its membership continues to increase. Pastor Lyles retired in 1960 and was succeeded by H.C Dean, who led the church until his death in 1964. Pastor Shamblin became the church’s third pastor. Under his leadership Chandler Drive entered into a building campaign. In December, 1965, a new brick sanctuary was completed at a cost of $36,000.00. Dedication services were scheduled and a guest preacher was invited to speak. His name was Bro. Ralph Gossett. Bro. Ralph made such an impression on the people of Chandler Drive that when Pastor Shambin resigned in January 1966, he was called to be the church’s fourth Pastor.
Prayer and the proclamation of God’s Word became the central features of ministry at Chandler Drive. The church flourished and within a few years outgrew its limited facilities. With no room for expansion and a rapidly growing congregation, Bro. Ralph called the church to prayer. After months of seeking the Lord, a difficult decision was finally made. In December, 1971, during a special business meeting, the people of Chandler Drive Baptist Church, following the leadership of the Lord and their Pastor, voted to leave Garland and relocate. A building and seven acres of land were purchased at 3300 LaPrada Drive in Mesquite.
Calvary Hill Baptist Church held its first Service on Sunday, February 20, 1972.The new name was adopted in light of the new location. Those in attendance that first Sunday sat on folding chairs. The floor was not carpeted, neither was there a baptistry. There were only four Sunday School classrooms and no adequate office space. Although Calvary Hill may have lacked some conveniences there was no shortage of commitment. The people worked hard and gave sacrificially. Soon the sanctuary floor was carpeted and pews were purchased. Week long prayer vigils were scheduled regularly and an aggressive outreach ministry was established. Worship services became more like revival meetings or evangelical crusades. There was a sense of excitement and expectancy every time the church gathered together. Word of this new, exciting fellowship spread throughout the community and the church continued to grow. More room was desperately needed.
In September, 1974, a two story educational building was completed. This addition more that doubled the available Sunday School space. It also provided a large nursery, a kitchen, fellowship hall and offices for the Pastoral Staff.
Prayer and the preaching of God’s Word continued to be the central focus of ministry at Calvary Hill. With the additional classroom space now available, the ministry of discipleship was expanded. Sunday School enrollment surged. Children’s and Youth ministries could now be fully provided. Crowds became so large that people would arrive a half hour early just to get a seat. For those who arrived late, the services could be viewed on a closed circuit television in the fellowship hall.
Once again, more room was needed for the ever-growing number of people being ministered to by the church. The south wall of the Sanctuary was removed and an annex accommodating 250 seats was added. This addition, along with the new parking lot, was completed in December 1975, just in time for Calvary Hill’s annual Christmas Musical. As usual, the Sanctuary was filled to capacity. The Lord was building His church. God had established a course for them to walk. New ministries were established each year. Calvary Hill Baptist Church was pursuing a purpose and a vision.
Throughout the remainder of the 70’s and into the 80’s Calvary Hill continued to be a lighthouse of the Gospel. Revival Meetings, Bible Conferences and Southern Gospel Music drew large crowds from Mesquite and surrounding cities. Great preachers such as R.G. Lee, Jack Taylor, Ron Dunn, and Bill Stafford were heard year in and year out from the pulpit ministry of Calvary Hill.
In September, 1988, the church added a new staff member; James O’Dell was called to fill the position of Assistant Pastor and Minister of Education being vacated by Maxie Thomas. As a recent graduate of the Criswell College, Bro. James was anxious to become part of an ongoing church ministry. What made this even more interesting was the fact that Bro. James had been saved in a Revival Meeting at Calvary Hill on February 7, 1982. Becoming part of this ministerial team was like returning home. Soon it would become clear that he was home to stay.
In September, 1990, Bro. Ralph Gossett retired from the Pastorate of Calvary Hill, having served its people for more than 20 years. As his replacement the church called Bro. James O’Dell.
Determined to build upon strong foundation already present, Bro. James continued the church’s commitment to prayer and the proclamation of the Word of God. God’s hand of blessing has remained on the church. Throughout the decade of the 90’s Calvary Hill maintained a pattern of growth. In 1997, construction of a multi-purpose educational facility was begun. This new building would provide much needed Sunday School space, a gymnasium, and a new fellowship hall and kitchen. On May 3, 1998, the church celebrated the completion of the project and dedicated the building to the ministry of the Lord. Due to the enormous recent growth in our youth ministries a 4,000 square foot facility has been constructed to host 200 Junior High and High School students. This area was dedicated January 10, 2007.
Today with almost 400 in attendance in Sunday School and a Sanctuary that is filled to capacity each Sunday Morning, the purpose and vision established so long ago are still being pursued. In the last two years the Lord has continued to grow and strengthen the church. A new century has found the people of Calvary Hill Baptist Church just as excited, just as expectant and just determined to honor the Lord and His Word as ever before.