The Church purchased forty acres of property in Aumsville. Pastor McKelroy's vision was to begin building a new auditorium, an educational building, a huge stainless steel kitchen, plenty of restrooms, and a gymnasium. In September of 2007 we were able to see that vision come to fruition. Future plans include adding sports fields and a fully equipped playground.
Little did we know that God had big changes in store for the McKelroys and for the Willamette Valley Baptist Church. In early 2010 the McKelroys followed God's call to take a church in Texas, leaving the Willamette Valley Baptist Church searching for God's man to fill the pastorate.
We are so thankful that God led us to Pastor Rick Donley, who was the assistant Pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Spokane, Washington. In May of 2010 he and his family made the move to Aumsville to continue their call to the Lord's work here in Oregon. Since that time we have seen the Lord work in the lives of the church members and in reaching new families for Christ. Several new ministries have also been added over the past months.
Willamette Valley Baptist Church now averages 250 people on Sundays. The school, which started with three students and one teacher, has grown and has a great staff as well as many volunteers. God has also allowed the Church the blessing of seeing some of the fruit return.
While God has blessed Willamette Valley Baptist Church with such a colorful history, there is still much to do. We would love to have you join us as we labor together.
In 1997, WVBC bought the Keizer facility. The auditorium was originally built as an army barracks for Camp Adair and was moved to its current location in 1947, where it was turned into a church building. It was exciting to have six restrooms, all of them inside!
The auditorium had cushioned theater seats, which sounded like a herd of elephants every time the congregation was asked to stand. The walls were dark wood paneling. Again, the Church remodeled, and as the church grew, the nursery was removed from the balcony to allow for additional seating during the services. The offices and Teen Center were soon relocated to the modular, which was purchased in 2000.
Additional buses were purchased, bringing the total to six, and there were well over one hundred people involved in the Bus Ministry and Bus Church. A Radio Ministry, the Nursing Home Ministries (held in six different homes), the Union Gospel Mission Ministry and the Shut-In Ministry were also added, in addition to the Young Married Ministries, Teen Choir and Orchestra programs.
By 1993, attendance averaged 83 and WVBC was ready to move to their own building. The old Turner Feed Store in Turner was purchased for $100,000 and the monthly payment jumped from $200 monthly to $1200. With much excitement and remodeling, the Feed Store was transformed into a church. The first services in the new building were held in a room with cement floors, while 60-watt bulbs provided the only light. The birds in the rafters insisted on flying around during the preaching. This particular building came inherent with several obstacles, which the members of WVBC decided to overcome. During the winter, the rain pounded loudly on the tin roof, making it difficult at times to hear the messages. During the summer, there were so many flies that fly swatters were issued at the entrance to the auditorium. There was also the issue of only 1 restroom that was easily overcome with the help of “Best Potts” port-a-potty, which we set up out back by the neighbor’s horses. The Lord blessed the attitudes and efforts of the WVBC members and, within a few months, attendance jumped to an average of 123. By Anniversary Sunday, the service was so full that people were sitting outside on the loading dock, or rather, the front porch.
While out in Turner, the Lord continued to add families. Several more buses were added and soon the Bus Ministry was moved to the afternoon in order to open up seats during the church services. It was here that our Youth Ministries started Every inch of the building was in use and the Lord finally brought WVBC to a new building.
Salem Heights Hall was a good move for Willamette Valley Baptist. The Church shared the building with a dog obedience class, an aerobics class and whoever else wanted to rent the building. The church members had to sweep, clean restrooms and set up the chairs, alter, PA system, and anything else that needed to be set up before tearing it back down to sweep and clean restrooms again after each service. A steel horse trough for baptizing was purchased, which also had to be brought in, filled and then emptied after each service. It felt like the Mobile Baptist Church.
This location was a place of many firsts for the Willamette Valley Baptist Church. It was at the Salem Heights Hall that the first big fundraiser was held. A platform and a pulpit were built, both of which the Ambassador’s Class uses today. Approximately $600 had to be raised for this project, which was quite a sum for the congregation at the time. This was the start of raising money that eventually lead to more chairs, more songbooks, and a sundry of other items necessary for church growth.
Curtains were hung to divide a room that started what is today the Willamette Valley Baptist’s Sunday School program. It was also at the Salem Heights Hall that the Church bought their van and the first bus. The WVBC bus ministry has never looked back. Pastor’s vision was to run 20 buses, so the first bus was numbered #20. Junior Church was held at a rented school facility across the road. It was during the years at Salem Heights Hall that the Jail Ministry and the Willamette Valley Baptist Church School were begun.
Dr. & Mrs. McKelroy held the first services of Willamette Valley Baptist Church October 23, 1988 in their 800 ft mobile home on Market Street. Shortly thereafter, they moved the Sunday services to the Boys and Girls Club on Summer Street. It was a great location for the handful of members; the congregation met in the balcony with the pinball machines and then, after the services, the men would have basketball games down on the main floor.
During that first year, the Church had a high day of 40, but on the First Anniversary, attendance was down to only 25. It was a long year. By 1990 the average attendance had grown to 37. Preacher met with the men, asking that each family give an extra 5% tithe so that the Church could afford to move to a better facility in South Salem. The new building payments would be $200 a month, which proved to be a big stretch for the little church.