Dallas church and founding pastor celebrate 40 years of ministry

by Leann Callaway on February 20, 2024 in Local Church Stories

DALLAS – For the past 40 years, the “Exciting” Singing Hills Baptist Church in Dallas has been on a mission to reach and teach people to carry out the Great Commission under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Howard E. Anderson, Sr.

And, yes, anyone who attends there quickly makes sure that you realize “exciting” is part of the church's name.

“Our ministries have changed as our congregation has grown and aged,” Anderson noted. “I’ve been blessed to minister to four generations of families in our church, and our ministries have evolved to meet their needs and the needs of the changing community around us.”

Making ‘giant steps’ for God

On February 5, 1984, Anderson challenged the congregation to “make giant steps for God” as he preached out of 1 Samuel 17. Anderson fondly remembers the first worship service that was held at the Moorland Branch YMCA on East Ledbetter in Dallas with 14 adults and 10 children attending. The church is now located on University Hills Blvd. with 400 people regularly attending their worship services and has established over 83 different ministries in their own congregation and local community.

“It was a giant step at the time, but we did not realize its enormity,” Anderson said. “When God called me to ministry, I always assumed I would also be called to pastor a church. The call from an existing church never came. By the time graduation arrived, I felt God leading me to organize a church in the neighborhood where we lived. This was a difficult decision because it seemed like an enormous task. My college professor sent me to visit with the late Dr. Manuel Scott, the pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Dallas. His words are still clear in my mind, ‘God never calls a man without giving him a platform.’”

Grounded in God’s word

From a young age, Anderson had a strong desire to be grounded in God’s Word and realized the importance of sharing the Gospel with those around him.

“As a young boy, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior and was baptized at the age of 12,” he said. “As I grew up, I was chosen president of the Baptist Young People’s Union, where Scripture verses were drilled into my head with repetitious cadence. I credit those years with establishing a stable foundation of God’s Word that I can still recall from my memory.

“From 1976 to 1978, I became involved with the Bill Glass Prison Ministry, and I traveled around the country sharing the gospel with prison inmates. It was an eye-opening experience where I developed a deep passion for the conversion of lost people. The desire to reach people with the gospel took firm root in my heart and has guided my ministry at the Exciting Singing Hills Baptist Church for four decades. Perhaps it was this great concern for reaching people or some other spiritual gift, but it soon became apparent that people were attracted to my teaching.

“The thought that God was calling me to ministry was becoming apparent, but at the time, I felt that I was too old to start down that path. It took some time, but God was persistent. In May of 1979, I committed myself to the ministry. My wife, Shirley, was very supportive, but we were both apprehensive about where God would lead us. My experience as a licensed electrician taught me that to do something well, training is required. I needed ministry training, and once again, thoughts of being too old crept in. Nobody wants to start over in a new career at age 33. However, I trusted that God knew what He was doing and enrolled as a student at Criswell Bible College in 1979.”

A year before establishing the “Exciting” Singing Hills Baptist Church, Anderson became the first African American to receive a degree from Criswell College while graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies in 1983. In 1993, he received his master’s degree in pastoral theology from Criswell College.

‘Sensitive and submissive’ to Holy Spirit

Through the years, he has garnered numerous accolades and achievements, including the prestigious honors of serving on the Accreditation Committee at Criswell College. In 2003, he received his doctorate from Bethany Divinity College and Seminary in Dothan, Alabama. He has served on numerous committees for the Dallas Baptist Association, Texas Baptists, Southern Baptist Convention and as a trustee for Southwest Medical Center in Dallas. He has also written three books, including Growth Principles for an Exciting Church, which focuses on practical ways for churches to grow both numerically and spiritually.

The longevity of his pastoral ministry and faithful leadership has not gone unnoticed. On Sunday, Feb. 25, the congregation will celebrate both the 40th anniversary of the church and honor their founding pastor during their morning worship service.

“While people have come and gone, the biblical purposes of reaching, teaching, developing and serving people has remained at the forefront of ministry for 40 years,” said Dr. Golden Davis, who serves as the church’s associate pastor.

As church members gather to celebrate this occasion, Pastor Anderson gives glory to God for His hand guiding and directing every step of the way.

“I attribute the longevity of my ministry to God’s mercy, grace, and goodness and the great people He has placed in the Exciting Singing Hills Baptist Church,” Anderson said. “Our journey as a church has not been without challenges. We have weathered storms, faced uncertainties, witnessed the ebb and flow of life’s trials and experienced the devastation of COVID-19.

“Yet, through it all, we have persevered. We have expanded our ministry through virtual means, embracing technology to minister to souls within our community and throughout the world. We have ended or retracted some ministries, expanded others and sought new ways to continue to meet our mandate of reaching, teaching, developing and serving people for Christ.”

Anderson said one of the greatest lessons he has learned is to be sensitive and submissive to the Holy Spirit's guidance in life and ministry.

“I would advise young ministers to be prayerful, patient, and trust God’s guidance through His Word, His Spirit and other godly counselors.”

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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