The story of Heritage Baptist Church is intimately connected to the life of our founding pastor, Ted Christman (January 2, 1946-February 4, 2019).
Ted was born to godly parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He enrolled at Bob Jones University where he met his wife Dianne during the first week of class. Following graduation, he enrolled at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary from which he earned his Master of Divinity degree. While there, he served as the Dean of Men and coached the soccer team.
Pastor Ted (or “PT” as he came to be affectionately known by many) had an electric personality. So many apt descriptions could characterize his life. He was a genuine worshiper, rigorous scholar, spiritual father and grandfather, encourager, counselor, possessor of an evangelistic heart, caring shepherd, approachable, influencer, and healer of fractured relationships. An inveterate practical joker, his life was filled with humor. He had a vibrant relationship with Christ, one which allowed him to share it with others in edifying and sometimes hilarious ways. His heart was committed to those on the fringe, never missing a moment to uplift and share his faith in Christ.
Pastor Ted led a multi-faceted ministry. He founded Heritage Christian School in 1984 and the Midwest Center for Theological Studies (later Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary). Ted has contributed a chapter to Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, authored Forbid Them Not: Rethinking the Baptism and Church Membership of Children and Young People and published A Daily Bible Reading Schedule, widely used throughout the U.S. and around the world. Pastor Ted was actively involved in the Owensboro community, having served on the board of directors of Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, as a member of the Daviess County High School Site Based Council, and a coach of youth athletics. He hosted a radio program for two decades and a television program "God's 5 Minutes,” and led numerous community-wide Bible studies as part of his pastoral outreach. He also launched a Christian counseling service in Owensboro. His commitment to his fellow ministers resulted in his creation of The Pastor's Fellowship, a group of more than 30 area pastors who met regularly.
However, chief among his life’s work was to serve as a shepherd of Heritage Baptist Church. In 1972, six families with a growing love for Reformed Theology began meeting together for Bible study, prayer and fellowship. Within a few months, an emerging desire was birthed to plant a church. After much prayer and consultation, one year later, the little group invited a recent seminary graduate from Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit Owenboro and preach for them. Eventually, they asked him to become their pastor. He accepted the call, and the spring of 1973, a young couple named Ted and Dianne Christman packed their belongings in a U-Haul and moved south to Kentucky. On July 21 of that year, Ted was ordained to the Christian ministry and began a pastorate that extended 46 years.
First meeting in homes, then at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Heritage Baptist Church found a permanent home on Thruston-Dermont Road. In 1979, the church purchased four and a half acres of property in this developing area of the community. By 1980, a small church building with an education wing was completed. Since these early days, God has continued to shower mercy upon the ministry of Heritage Baptist Church. The church continued to grow as new disciples were baptized, members were added, additional elders and deacons were raised up to serve the church, and additional construction was made on our existing building to make room for the growth. A larger scale building project (the completion of a gym for the school and new worship center for the church) was completed in 2012.
Pastor Ted’s legacy continues through the pastors, deacons and congregation that remain behind to carry on the biblical vision of making, maturing and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ in Owensboro and beyond.