In January 1949, a group from the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church decided to initiate plans for organizing a new church. The Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church was used as a place of worship. The Reverend Anthony T. White and a council of churches and ministers from the Tenth District Missionary Baptist Association officially established the new church in February 1949. Worship services were held on the fourth Sunday in each month.
Brother James C. Jones suggested the name Mount Olivet and it was accepted by the membership. Reverend Willie Lee Brannon was elected Pastor. The deacons were Brother George W. Banks, Sr., and Brother Milliard Freeman. Later Brother McQuillar Hegwood was added to the Deacon Board. The Deaconess were Sister Mollie Lewis, Safronie Moore Hamilton, Leola Brandon, Thelma C. Blade, Eliza Jackson, Nellie Y. Freeman and Naomi Hegwood.
A building site and material were needed to build an edifice. Three lots on the corner of Swayze and Maddox Streets were purchased from Mr. Jack Steele. A barrack was purchased from Selman Field and moved to the site. Blueprints were drawn by Brother James C. Jones, Contractor. Brother George W. Banks, Sr. was employed as carpenter and other members helped with the work. The ground breaking ceremony was held in November 1949.
After the edifice as completed, two hundred (200) steel bottom chairs and a piano were purchased. Sister Fannie Brown gave the first Bible. Sister Ida Hill donated a pulpit chair. The dedication service was in September 1951. In February 1952, Mount Olivet became a non-profit corporation.
During Reverend Brannon’s pastorate, Brothers S. O. McHenry, Julius Greggs, and Lee Andrew Warren, Sr., were added to the Deacon Board and a Boy Scout Troop was organized in December 1951 with Brother James C. Jones as Scout Master.
Reverend Brannon’s leadership extended from 1949 to 1969. However, in March 1964, Reverend William R. Ellis was elected presiding minister during Reverend Brannon’s lengthy illness.
During Reverend Ellis’ leadership, the church saw a tremendous growth; extended worship service to second and fourth Sundays; organized the Nellie Y. Freeman Scholarship Fund; purchased pews and office equipment; ordained Reverend Everett E. Slack; and crowned the following deacons: Brothers Richard Zemry Johnson; Willis Lawrence, Jr., James Jones, Charlie Gunn, Jr., and Daniel Head. Reverend Ellis resigned in April 1974.
In July 1974, Reverend Henry Jones was elected pastor. During his one-year service, a Pastor’s Aide organization was formed. Reverend Jones’ pastorate ended in December 1975.
Rev. Oliver W. Billups, Jr. was elected Pastor Sept. 17, 1976 and installed October 1976.
Under Reverend Oliver W. Billups’ leadership, in 1977, two lots were purchased from Daisy E. Goodwin. In 1979, Brothers Ricky Banks, Dorth Blade, Wilbert Hunter were crowned deacons. In July 1980 assessments for church programs were deleted and tithing was taught. Worship service was extended to each Sunday in the month; a male chorus and a female chorus were organized in 1981.
A new edifice was completed and dedicated in February 1984. In 1991, with the combined efforts of the Pastor and members we purchased a van. In 1994, Brothers Artis Wilson and Scott Ward were crowned deacons. Junior deacons were also organized.
Brother Mariko T. Billups preached his first sermon the 3rd Sunday, December 1994 in the morning worship.
The Lord kept his loving arms around Mount Olivet so much that we had our note-burning ceremony on May 28, 1995; just eleven years after the completion of the new edifice.
In April 2000, Bro. Mariko Billups, son of the ministry, came home from Morehouse School of Religion to do our annual revival. Rev. Gairie Harris, Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, was the evangelist for our youth revival.
In April 2000, we started a radio broadcast which can be heard each Sunday from 1:30 until 2:15 p.m., on Ol Skool 1680 A.M.
We received a grant toward our after school Tutorial Program which enables the program to continue to make great strides.
Thirty-nine members were added to the congregation from February 2000 to February 2001.
Brother Mariko T. Billups was ordained for the Gospel Ministry after being approved by the Council of Ministers of the Tenth District Association; Moderator Andrew J. Mansfield presided on September 21, 2001.
On Monday, July 15, 2002, our church burned which caused one million dollars in damage and we were readily received by Pastor A. J. Mansfield and the First Missionary Baptist Church Family. We had our first Sunday School and Morning Worship service in First Baptist gymnasium on Sunday, July 21, 2002, after the church fire.
We were invited to continue at First Baptist until our church was repaired. We were made welcome to have our Sunday school meetings, our auxiliary meetings and our business meetings at First Baptist by using the sanctuary, fellowship hall and classrooms.
We began having combined prayer meetings and Bible study. Our male youth were invited to be the special guests of the First Baptist youth retreat, “Boy’s Nite Out” sponsored by First Baptist’s Brotherhood. Forty-two (42) members were added to the congregation from February 2002 to February 2003.
January 5, 2003 – April 6, 2003 – Joint Bible Study with First Baptist Church “Journey Through Spiritual Bootcamp” (328 adults and youth)
May – First Sunday, Mount Olivet and First Baptist had combined morning worship at First Baptist Church.
Mount Olivet held its Rededication Service after being dislocated by fire for eleven months. Rev. A. J. Mansfield and the First Baptist family were our guests. Theme: “Returning Home” – May 25th.
On May 29, 2003, our church purchased two lots at 2925 and 2927 Maddox Street. The lots were cleared and a new parking lot and garage were constructed.
Our church participated in the Convoy of Hope (a food giveaway and evangelistic effort), through a financial contribution and witnessing to the unsaved – Monroe Civic Center (October 25, 2003). Twenty-seven (27) new members were added to the church.
In May, Mariko T. Billups, a son in the ministry, graduated from Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, GA with a Master’s degree. Thirty-seven (37) new members were added to the church.
January 22-24 – The Mount Olivet church family chartered a bus and accompanied Pastor Billups to install Rev. Mariko Billups as Pastor of the Calvary Independent Baptist Church in Blythewood, South Carolina.
February 11, 2005 – Traveled to Angola State Prison with Pastor Billups for worship.
February 19, 2005 – Senior Mission began feeding the elderly and the sick and shut-in members on Saturdays.
Thirty-six (36) members were added to the church from the fourth Sunday of February 2005 to the third Sunday of February 2006.
July 10-14 Children’s Day Camp-Bible Study. Visited the IMax Theater, Louisiana Boardwalk in Shreveport, Biedenharn, Masur and the Black Heritage Museums; Black Bayou Wildlife Refuge.
July 24-28 Older Youth Bible Study and trip to Little Rockk, Arkansas to Central High School, State Capitol Building, President William Clinton Library and the Riverwalk.
September 23, 2006 – We celebrated Pastor Billups’ 30th Year with an appreciation banquet that was held at the Barak Shrine Center, Rev. Mariko Billups was the guest speaker. On September 24, 2006, we continued the celebration with the 30th Year Appreciation Program and Rev. Billy R. Billups and the Candlelite Baptist Church, Austin, Texas were the special guests. Forty-eight (48) members were added to the church from February 2006 to February 2007.
January 15 – The Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation was hosted.
March 2007 – RECLAMATION MONTH
November 2007 – Veterans Honors Day (members invited veterans to worship). Sixty-three (63) members were added to the church during the year. We began having early service on Sunday, June 30, 2008 at 10:00 am with Sunday School at 9:00 am.
January – COMMITMENT MONTH
February 24 – 59th Church Anniversary – Special guests for the occasion were Rev. Morris Austin and Trinity Baptist Church of Shreveport, LA
3rd – “Partners in Ministry adn Growth” (Deacans workshop)
17th – “Youth Challenge-Youth Recognition Program”
25th – Trip to Jacksonville, Fl. Installation Program of Rev. Mariko Billups at the King Solomon Baptist Church. The Olivet Nation journeyed to Florida by bus, plane, vans and cars.
June 13th – Carroll High School Class of 1958 – 50th Reunion Worshipped with Mount Olivet
September 12th – First Mount Olivet Church Banquet-Monroe Civic Center
September 21-23 – Edward Joseph, Marrero, LA Evangelist-Youth Revival
November and December – Adopted 60 families-shared food, clothes and gifts with these families.
January 25 – Tenth District Association – Installation Service with Pastor Billups as new president.
February 22 – 60th Anniversary of the church with the guests from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Grambling, LA. The founding members were honored along with senior servants.
May 25-29 “VBS-Extreme Spiritual Makeover” (361 participants)
September 12 – Mount Olivet Church Banquet-Monroe Civic Center
November 7-8 – Hosted Tenth District Ushers Workshop and Fellowship Program with State President Elizabeth Holiday, Guest Speaker.
December 20 – Share-A-Gift Mount Olivet membership adopted 42 families and shared clothes, toys and other gifts.
Throughout the year the “Olivet Nation” fellowshipped with…First MBC-Monroe, Riverside Baptist Church-Monroe, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church-Monroe for various occasions i.e., Note Burning Service, Cornerstone Laying Service, 132nd Church Anniversary. Fifty-eighty (58) new members were added to the church February 2009 to February 2010.
2010 – The Year in Review
The year began with a commitment worship the first Sunday, Pastor Billups was the speaker for the City’s annual Martin Luther King Day Program on January 15th.
In February, we were blessed to celebrate our 61st Church Anniversary with Pastor Clarence Hicks and the Avenue Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.
March begin with Christian Growth classes – “The Introduction of the New Testament” for eight weeks for adults and “Discipleship and New Life” for youth.
April brought revival of the church family through the preaching of Rev. Ronald Williams, Evangelist. It was also the beginning of our special days of outreach…Taxi Sunday, Nellie Y. Freeman Scholarship Day, Children’s Day, Friends Day, Harvest Day (foods are gathered to share), Share-A-Gift Sunday (gifts of clothes and toys are donated to share), and Pack-A-Pew Sunday (the unsaved were solicited to worship).
During the months of May and June we enjoyed the fruits of our evangelistic efforts with over 600 attendees in Vacation Bible School. Throughout the summer months we engaged in various workshops for church growth. In November, we hosted the Louisiana Baptist Convention, during which Pastor Billups was appointed Dean of the State Congress of Christian Education. The fall of the year closed out with a Survey of the Old Testament and our annual Christmas Drama – “Simeon and Anna” with participants of all ages from the congregation on December 19th at 6:00 p.m., followed by food and fellowship.
“The Olivet Nation” was privileged to fellowship with St. Joseph Baptist Church-West Monroe, New Daughters of Zion-West Monroe, Mount Zion-Grambling; and Church of the Present Truth-Monroe durung the year.
We were wondrously blessed. Seventy-nine (79) souls were added to the church family from February 28, 2010 to February 20, 2011. WHAT AN ALMIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!
The year 2011
The church celebrated Pastor Oliver W. Billups Jr. 35th year of Pastoral. A banquet was held Saturday, October 1st, and the Appreciation Worship was Sunday, October 2nd @ 3:00 p.m. with Rev. Mariko T. Billups as the guest speaker.
Throughout the year 2011, the youth did Easter and Christmas Dramas. They also held a Car Wash for the Senior Citizen and visited the War Veterans Home.
The church adopted families and gave gifts and clothes for the Share-A-Gift Program in December.
We were blessed with Fifty-two (52) new members February 2011 to February 2012.
2012 – The Year in Review
The 2012 year started with the new Pastor’s Alternative, a Sunday morning Bible Study, which was well attended by the membership. This new class continued for 9 months.
In February, Mount Olivet Baptist Church celebrated its 63rd church anniversary with Pastor David Campbell and New Second Baptist Church of Bastrop, LA. The youth of Mount Olivet participated in the Renaissance Parade during Black History Month. Brother Earnie Myles of the Earnie Myles Show was our Black Heritage Speaker on youth Sunday.
March, we participated in the Spring Congress on Christian Education, Tenth District Association.
April, we were “wowed” by the Easter Drama entitled, “The Passion of Jesus”. Our Spring Revival, Rev. Aaron Dobynes was the Evangelist, Evergreen Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA. This month the Youth Department washed the cars of the “senior” members and this project extended throughout the summer.
May, The Ushers reflected on another year’s service in their Annual Anniversary, during the 1st Sunday worship service. Mount Olivet celebrated the academic achievements of its high school graduates and presented engraved Bibles and scholarships were awarded.
June and July afforded teachers and potential teachers the opportunity of participating in the course “Seven Laws of a Teacher”. This curriculum was the first of its kind to be taught by Pastor Billups and was open to other churches. The purpose was to equip teachers to better instruct their students.
August, Several single members attending the National Single’s Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.; We also hosted the Tenth District Association Annual Session. The month closed with the Men & Women’s Weekend, which is always well attended.
September, We honored Mount Olivet’s Grandparents and acknowledged friends during our Friend’s Day Worship. The Word was shared with our youth during our Annual Youth Revival with the motivational preaching of the Gospel by Minister Mark Lewis from Lafayette, LA, who always does a dynamic job in reaching others, both young and old.
In October, the Adult Choir spent a weekend reflecting on the “Reason Why We Sing” during a Saturday workshop facilitated by Pastor Billups followed by their anniversary celebration held during Sunday worship services.
November, Mount Olivet held its annual Veteran’s Day Recognition Service/Program to recognize the unselfish and honorable service to our country by men and women of all branches of the military. Mount Olivet brought non-perishable items and staples for the Harvest Day Worship and these items were donated to Granny’s Kitchen, a nonprofit kitchen.
As December drew to a close, we invited unsaved family members to worship with us during our Family Day Service; the Share-A-Gift program allowed us to bless children who were less fortunate with gifts for Christmas; the Senior Mission Fellowship gave the Mission an opportunity to rest from their year’s work of providing meals to the sick and shut in and visiting the nursing homes. The Year 2012 closed with the presentation of the Annual Christmas Drama “Angles on Assignment” with participants of all ages.
The year 2012 was filled with swift transitions; our congregation mourned the loss of six members. However, we do not despair as those who have no hope, for we were also able to REJOICE over the addition of Thirty Seven (37) new members who were added to the church between February 2012 and February 2013. WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!!
The Year 2013 in Review
Mount Olivet entered into the 2013 year with the same vigor and commitment as in previous years. The year began with a “Journey of a Lifetime” a 52 week study of the whole Bible, taught by our own Minister Scott Ward, III during regular Sunday School. The rest of the congregation attended a joint Sunday School class taught by several equipped members of our congregation. Bible Study is an ongoing educational tool used by Pastor to increase our understanding of biblical principles and the work of God. The Seven Laws of the Learner was offered as a continuation of a series introduced by Pastor Billups during the previous year to better prepare participants to teach the Word of God.
In February 2013, Mount Olivet celebrated its 64th Church Anniversary with Rev. Milton J. Ceasar and the St. Mark Baptist Church family of Jonesville, Louisiana, as our special guest. Rev. Ceasar shared with us “The Purpose of Our Lives” is to do the work of God. Mount Olivet installed the 2013-2014 ministry leaders during this anniversary celebration. Because we all experience grief and loss in different ways, Mount Olivet offered assistance to those who experienced difficulty in their grieving process by offering an 8-week Grief Support Group facilitated by credentialed counselors within our church body.
In March, a number of members of Mount Olivet attended and participated in the Evangelism class held at First Baptist during the Spring Congress of Christian Education. A class entitled Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) was offered to share guidance and instruction to parents of all ages on how to better understand the role and effects of positive parenting over 3 class sessions coordinated by one of our members.
In April, our annual revival provided just what we needed through Rev. Thomas N. Bessix of the New Gideon Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Word was declared with clarity and conviction, so much so that Rev. Bessix was asked to return the following year.
In May, Mount Olivet honored its Adult Ushers during their annual Usher’s Anniversary with an encouraging word from Minister Ward, entitled “More Than Just Doorkeepers”. Members used their personal vehicles to provide transportation for the unsaved or those out of fellowship to our annual “Taxi Day” Worship.
Mount Olivet regularly acknowledges the academic achievements of its young people and high school graduates during the month of May. Our Recognition program was held on Youth Sunday to disburse scholarships from our Nellie Y. Freeman Scholarship Fund. In addition to these events, our Vacation Bible School effort was spearheaded by a very capable directress and staff. This year’s theme was “Rock It Out” with Jesus, which was very well received and well attended by all ages.
In June, Mount Olivet hosted the Tenth District Board Meeting and Worship Service and was the guest at Mount Pleasant for their 5th year Pastor’s Anniversary. During the preceding months, Mount Olivet was involved in finalizing plans to host the Louisiana Baptist State Convention as it convened in Monroe, Louisiana in July. We served as the host church for the parent body, and late night services. The convention was attended by 1,500 registered participants who voiced a desire to return to Monroe soon, because of the hospitality shown by the entire Northeast Louisiana Host Committee. We were the guest church at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Grambling, Louisiana, for their 10th year Pastor’s anniversary.
August. Despite being physically drained from hosting the State Convention, Pastor Billups and the Mount Olivet family drew on its spiritual strength in preparation for the Tenth District Annual Session which garnered similar success. This month ended with our Men & Women’s Weekend, which is always well attended.
Because we are believers and we want our friends to be saved as well they were invited to worship with us during our Friend’s Day Worship Service. Our Annual Youth Revival evangelist was Rev. Marcus Ellison of the Mount Olive Baptist Church, Greenwood, LA. Pastor Ellison captivated our youth as well as adults with many Bible based illustrations. He too was invited back next year.
In October, the Adult Choir spent time together during their Saturday workshop, and their Sunday morning Anniversary song service was nothing short of soul stirring.
In November, a “Veteran’s Day Salute” was held to acknowledge and give thanks to the men and women who gave unselfish devotion securing the freedoms we enjoy today through service to God and country. As the year ended, Mount Olivet shared the bounty God has bestowed upon us throughout the year. We also gave hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items to local community entities to help others. This year, our church prepared, distributed, and delivered over 100 “Love Boxes” to needy families in and around the Monroe area during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. These boxes contained smoked turkeys, ham, sugar, meal, flour, butter, eggs, celery, onion, cake mix, frosting, irish and sweet potatoes, brown and serve rolls, and more.
As we reflected on the goodness of God, we ended the year with a banquet themed “A Gathering of Our Spiritual Family” which was held at B. D. Robinson Conference Hall, Monroe Civic Center. This event proved to be “An Evening of Fellowship and Fun” for all. Each child in attendance and (some adults) left with stuffed bears courtesy of our Pastor, Oliver W. Billups Jr. The culminating event for this year was our Annual Christmas Musical, a spiritual reminder to us all of God’s Ultimate Gift to the World…His Son Jesus Christ.
While we, who are here today, were blessed to live through 2013, unfortunately, at least one member who started out with us was called to rest from her labor. Mount Olivet remembers and celebrates the life of Sister Gracie Handy who will continue to live in our hearts and minds as we remember her contributions to humanity. As we continue ongoing evangelistic efforts we are mindful however that God gives the increase. As such, the Lord added fifty-three (53) souls to the church during 2013. TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE!!