Abbreviated History of Mt. Olive Baptist Church

Last Updated April 1, 2018


Provided below is a brief history of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.   During its 130-year history, the faces of its members have changed, the facilities have changed, and the ministry efforts have changed, but its message has remained the same.   What became lost in compiling this factual summary was the ability to convey the sincere and heartfelt desire of the members to be obedient to God’s teachings, to seek His guidance, and to step out in faith.  The actions taken by Mt. Olive members throughout the years reflect their desire to provide facilities and programs that are pleasing to the Lord and will draw others to Him.


Mt. Olive’s Beginning

On Saturday, April 4, 1888, the United Baptist Church of Christ at Cole Springs, Cole County, Missouri, granted letters of dismissal to 85 of its members for the purpose of organizing another church of the same faith and order near Pioneer Mines.  These 85 individuals formally organized on June 2, 1888, becoming charter members of today’s Mt. Olive Baptist Church.   


The First 60 Years – 1888-1948

In September 1888, the church approved construction of its first building on approximately two acres of land conveyed to the church by charter member T. J. Scott.  According to the recollection of stories told to long-time member Gene Steenbergen, the original building was farther west and down the hill from the present building.  It was supported under one side by posts, which were said to have been high enough for a man to walk under.   Worship services and business meetings were held once a month and the pastor was selected on a yearly basis.  The first mention of Sunday School in the church’s business meeting minutes is in September 1897 reflecting approval of the Superintendent and teacher; however, it is likely that meeting weekly for Sunday School and prayer predates this record.  


Mt. Olive held its first Vacation Bible School in 1944 and the second in 1945, but it was not until 1950 that it became an annual outreach ministry. 


In 1908, Mt. Olive conveyed the east half of the 1888 conveyance back to T. J. Scott in exchange for approximately the same amount of land (37,500 sq. ft.) adjacent to, and south of, the west half of the 1888 conveyance.   It was on this land that the church constructed a new building (sanctuary only).  This building was dedicated in May 1909.   (Per Mr. Steenbergen, when the 1888 structure was demolished, collection plates were crafted from its logs.  One of the collection plates currently resides in the Pastor’s office.)


Worship services continued monthly until November 27, 1938, when, under the leadership of Pastor Earl Pounds, the church voted to begin half-time preaching. 


The Bro. Cole Years – 1948-1992

In September 1948, Bro. Farrie Cole, Jr., was called to minister at Mt. Olive.  Under his leadership, in June 1949, the church established a building fund (10% of the regular offerings) for a future building program.  On January 6, 1951, the church agreed to hold Wednesday evening prayer services once a month.  On April 4, 1952, the church voted (41-yes; 23-no) to “go to full time work,” effective July 1, and to call its pastor for an indefinite period of time (ending the 64-year practice of calling the pastor on a yearly basis).  On this same date, the church unanimously called Bro. Cole as its first full-time pastor.


In October 1954 (six years after the building fund was established), construction on a two-story educational addition began.  That addition was dedicated on October 16, 1955. 


An update to the church facilities in 1967 through 1971, included a complete renovation of the church’s interior.  Paneling, carpeting, and air-conditioning were installed, padded pews were added, and a kitchen was built in the church basement.


On December 26, 1979, Mt. Olive purchased two segments of land from Irvin Janssen.  The land bordered the north, south, and east sides of Mt. Olive’s property.  One segment contained 12.283 acres; the other (on the east side of Route AA) contained 3.352 acres. 


In 1977, the women of the church reactivated Women On Mission (then Women’s Missionary Union). 


On Sunday evening, May 10, 1987, Mt. Olive broke ground for a new building and basement to be added to the structure already in place.  The first service was held in the new sanctuary on May 22, 1988, and dedicated on June 5, 1988, 100 years after the church’s founding. 


Bro. Cole’s faithful and loving service to the Lord and the Mt. Olive members ended in February 1992 – a staggering 43 years and 5 months after it began.


1993-Present (2018)

On December 1, 1995, under the guidance of Pastor John Knapp, Mt. Olive called Bro. Alan Earls to serve as Youth Minister on a permanent, part-time basis.  Bro. Alan and his wife Paula implemented new programs for the youth, emphasized the importance of studying the Scriptures, reached out to community youth, oversaw youth mission trips, and provided Christian guidance and counseling. 


In 1995, Mt. Olive began a new community outreach ministry involving the purchase of the church’s first van.  


In the late 1990s, the 1909 sanctuary was reconstructed into Sunday School rooms.


When Pastor Knapp resigned in February 1999, Bro. Alan Earls accepted the call to serve as Interim Pastor, while continuing his responsibilities as Youth Minister.  In August 1999, Bro. Alan accepted the church’s call to serve as Pastor in a bi-vocational capacity, and in March 2000, Bro. Mike Nichols, and wife Heidi, accepted God’s call to serve as Youth Minister.  


Under Pastor Earls’ leadership, the church placed even greater emphasis on missions.  Adults traveled to other states to participate in mission efforts.  Emphasis was placed on Wednesday evening prayer meetings with mission programs for the children and Bible studies for the youth and adults.  At the October 1999 business meeting, the church supported a proposal to provide hot meals on Wednesday evenings during the school year. 


In the spring of 2001, the gravel parking lot was paved with asphalt; that fall a garage was constructed to house the church’s vehicles and provide needed storage.   The church authorized the purchase of a second van on March 25, 2001, and the purchase of a mini-bus a several years afterward.  The van ministry, which began in 1995, provides transportation to Wednesday evening programs during the school year and Vacation Bible School attendees during the summer.


On June 22, 2008, the church dedicated its newly constructed memorial prayer garden.


With implementation of the AWANA Program in the fall of 2008, there was no longer adequate space within the church to accommodate the Wednesday Programs.   Therefore, the Youth Program was moved to the garage until a better solution could be found.  They continue to occupy that space.


Bro. Mike Nichols resigned from the Youth Minister position effective October 31, 2016, after he and his wife, Heidi, had compassionately and faithfully served the community’s youth for 17 years.  On November 20, 2016, the church called Bro. Alex Earls as its third Youth Minister.


On February 28, 2018, Bro. Alan retired from his secular career, and on April 1, 2018, he began serving as Mt. Olive’s Pastor on a full-time basis. 


Changed by What Remains the Same

There have been many changes through the years, but the changes that Mt. Olive members cherish most are those that took place in the lives of well over 1,200 individuals who came to know the Lord at Mt. Olive and/or came to Mt. Olive to serve Him.   These changes, as well as all those noted above, were made possible because of what has remained the same:  JESUS.


 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:9