The St. John Missionary Baptist Church has a very rich history that dates back to the 1800’s.The two founders of St. John Missionary Baptist Church was in 1899 Rev. Gilbert Green and Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson both formed and organized ST. John Missionary Baptist Church in the Houston’s Third Ward Community in a small building near Calhoun Ave and Live Oak St. In 1901 land was purchased by the Rev. James B. Bouldin in the 2100 block of Broadway now (Bastrop St) who was Pastor of the St. John MBC for a short stint while Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson stepped aside. Sometime in 1901 Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson returned back to St. John and was pastor of the church in 1901 until 1915 which lead the church to split with him leaving as well as several hundred members. In 1917 Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson and several hundred members began services around the corner of the established St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Gray and Bastrop St. at what is currently St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Dowling (Emancipation St) in the Houston’s Third Ward Community as well. St. John had four Pastors after the departure of Rev. Hilliard R. Johnson from 1915 to 1924 – Rev. W. M. Johnson, Rev. William Clark, Rev. E. W. Hawthorne and Rev. William Wyatt.
In June of 1925, Rev. Nathaniel C. Crain, from Sweet Home Baptist Church in DeRidder, Louisiana became Pastor of St. John. Rev. N. C. Crain was a sincere, humble and dedicated preacher and teacher who promoted harmony and respect within his congregation. Under Rev. Crain’s leadership and guidance, there was tremendous growth within the Sunday school classes, Baptist Training Union (BTU), Usher board, and Missionary societies, the Starlight Band and the establishment of a kindergarten school. With the mass growth of people moving to the city of Houston after World War ll a much larger building was needed. In 1946 a local black contractor by the name of James M. Thomas became Houston most prominent architect for black congregations. Under the leadership and vision Mr. James M. Thomas, he was able to orchestrate a Three-Story Gothic Revival Masonry Structure building, with nave and Twin Towers which a bell rung on Sunday mornings and Funerals. The churches that was built during the 1930’s to 1950’s was the exemplifying style of local African-American church architecture.
Rev. N. C. Crain’s tenure ended in 1973 and at that time he was the longest serving Pastor of the Church. Since then the Church has had several Pastors over the years – Rev. C. B. West (deceased), Rev. C. Vincent Berry, Rev. Bennie C. Thomas, Rev. Jules W. Smith (deceased) and Rev. Keven D. Johnson and in 2013, St. John Missionary Baptist Church was designated as a historical landmark.
In November of 2017, the Rev. Trey Thomas was called to be Pastor the St. John Missionary Baptist Church on Gray St. Pastor Thomas is a powerful preacher and teacher of the Word of God has helped the church to experience a new hunger for the Word of God and a renewed commitment to the ministry and work of the Church. Membership has increased and God has truly blessed the St. John Missionary Baptist Church Family with “Power, Purpose and Praise”.