The Holy Spirit fashions the character of a ministry to suit the needs of the people at a particular time in their Christian journey. The heritage of the Pleasant Grove Church is built on the contributions of those called to shepherd the people and on those who followed their shepherds both in obedience and faith.
In 1872, the Reverend Steward founded Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, one of the oldest, largest, and most beautiful churches of the Southwest. Small in number, but large in faith, the church initially worshipped in a house, but soon the church out-grew the house and built a sanctuary.
The other founding shepherds are from 1872-1895, Rev. Stewart, Rev. A. Wheat, Rev. Gains, and Rev. Whiting served as pastors. Next from 1895-1920 Rev. J. Rhone, Rev. I. M. Hendon, Rev. J. B. Bouldin; Rev. N. T. Lane; Rev. F. H. Cook served as pastors. Finally from 1921-1944 Rev. L. C. Crier, Rev. H. B. Bennett, Rev. G.H. White, and Rev. G. S. Sayles served as pastors.
In 1945, God sent a shepherd by the name of Aaron A. McCardell, Sr, who pastured for twenty-three years, longer than any of the prior thirteen pastors. The Lord gave Pastor McCardell the vision to build a still-standing stone building where the church family gathered together, praying and trusting God. He inspired the church family to do outreach to the community, prayerful Bible study and applying of the Word. The late Pastor A. A. McCardell established a radio ministry, street ministry, the A. F. Drill Squad, and bible study for pastors and ministers.
In 1968 Pastor McCardell “took his flight” to be with the Lord. During his ministry, he had taught and inspired a young preacher, C L. Jackson, who received the mantle of pastoral-ship of Pleasant Grove in 1969. Pastor Jackson came with his wife Bettie, son Sheldon, and daughter Bridgette. He often reminds the congregation that nobody thought he was qualified because he dropped out of school in the tenth grade. Plus, he reiterates that his hair is kinky, his lips bigger than boxing gloves, and he splits verbs. However, he stresses he knows three things: He is Saved, Called, and Sent. He tells the congregation that he was saved on the back of a dump truck, with brogans on his feet and wearing dirty work clothes.
Pastor C. L. Jackson has led the church family deeper into the study of the Word of God! He has inspired the church family to be BOLD in the Lord and to boast of the great things the Lord has and is doing in their lives and in the ministry of Pleasant Grove. The legacy of excellence in leadership and ministry of historical accomplishments of Pleasant Grove continued, as the church became the first African American congregation to televise live from the sanctuary, using its own television equipment. For many years, at 12 noon on channel 39, the telecast would be in progress with the choir singing praises unto God. Then Pastor Jackson would begin a passage of scriptures that the church has grown to love and quote (Isaiah 40:28-31).
Many great psalmists have journeyed through Pleasant Grove: the Ransoms, Jessie Williams, Lee Ida Campbell, Olivia Branch-Walker, Jennifer Holliday, V. Michael McKay, who pinned many songs from the sermons of Pastor C. L. Jackson, and DuWayne Davis.
The Lord has allowed Pastor C. L. and Sister Bettie Jackson to travel the world extensively to proclaim the Word of God, build churches in foreign countries and set up schools. Pleasant Grove grew in leaps and bounds. The Lord gave Pastor C. L. the vision to build another sanctuary in the shape of a dome. He told the congregation that many of his friends laughed at Him and thought he was making an unwise decision by building the building he envisioned in Fifth Ward? The members sold chicken every Sunday and built the present sanctuary on nickels and dimes. There were services on the front porches of houses that were to be torn down. Tent and street revivals were held as the church followed the vision God had given to their Pastor.
Finally, in 1979 the day arrived when the church had a processional going into the building God had provided—A House of Power, a House of Prayer, and a House of Perfected Praise!
Pastor C. L. Jackson has walked with Presidents, official dignitaries, prime ministers, and board members to many organizations. He was honored with the medal of Faith in Washington, D.C. in 2010, where he spoke to over half a million people. He has authored many books, including the popular GOD’s Mouthpiece, which received outstanding reviews. He had tape and album ministries and a community planning and development ministry in Fifth Ward and other areas of Houston. He continued and augmented the tradition of the “Prayer Bowl” started by Pastor McCardell.
There have been over seventy years of consistently “sounding down the word of God” through our Pastors and to that the congregation wants to say “Love You Plenty Too Much.”
The LORD called Dr. Charles L. Jackson home on December 18, 2016. He served as pastor for 47 years. His personal objective was to minister and preach the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST whereby all men can be saved! The mantle of pastoral ship of Pleasant Grove was passed on to Doctor Sheldon L. Jackson. Pastor Sheldon has vowed to “Do what the LORD says to do and Say what the LORD says to say!”