First Baptist Church (FBC) began studying the feasibility of starting a new church in west Midland. However, the oil and gas industry, which sustains the Midland economy, was suffering a historic depression. As a result, it was determined that it would not be practical to undertake a new church plant in the face of these economic conditions.
Ten years later, the oil industry had adjusted to low commodity prices and the Midland economy had stabilized. Dr. Gary Dyer, senior pastor of FBC, proposed that the plant of a west Midland church be revisited.
A committee was formed that began to interview potential candidates. Eventually, they decided upon a young man who was soon to graduate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky named Patrick Payton. During this time, a group of families who felt led to be a part of the new church plant had begun meeting together to plan and pray on Sunday nights.
This was also when the name Stonegate was submitted. The name was taken from two New Testament passages.
John 10:7-9English Standard Version (ESV)
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
1 Peter 2:6English Standard Version (ESV)
6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
This name, being anchored in scripture, will serve as a reminder that the proclamation of Jesus Christ is the sole foundation of our teaching and doctrine.
The new church officially began. Midland Independent School District graciously allowed the new church to meet at Abell Junior High School. On that first Sunday, approximately 250 people arrived in the cafeteria where services were held. Volunteers had arrived early to set up musical instruments and speakers for the worship team and chairs for the congregation in addition to the children’s ministry set up. Little did we know that Abell would be Stonegate’s home for 3 and ½ years.
The West Wadley location we have today was originally under contract.
Members of our congregation had been praying for this location with the thought that it was the land that God had given us. Shortly after, the original contract fell through and allowed us to make an offer. The offer was accepted and we began planning for our new building. Prayer days were held where church members would gather at the new site to dedicate the property for the Lord’s purposes.
Our new building was complete. On our last Sunday at Abell, the congregation walked the quarter mile along Wadley to our new home.
One year later in 2004, the new building on West Wadley was paid off, and the church began to work on plans for a building that would be just for our Kids Ministry.
Stonegate has always been committed to telling “the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord” (Ps. 78:4). In 2008, we took a major step toward solidifying our commitment to being a church devoted to ministry for kids. Our SGKids building opened its doors and has been serving Permian Basin families for nearly a decade.
In 2012, Stonegate sensed a call to move beyond 6000 W. Wadley Avenue. A multisite strategy team formed and began researching ways to expand Stonegate across the Permian Basin.
Stonegate Odessa launched in 2014, following in the footsteps of Stonegate Midland—meeting in a middle school auditorium. Bonham Junior High has played host to Stonegate Odessa since its launch.
In 2016, Stonegate purchased an old nightclub on the east side of Odessa and began demolition and construction. Teams are drawing plans, filing building permits and moving toward a 2017 opening of the Odessa campus’s new home.