Mission Centers of Houston provides for the physical and spiritual needs of people living in Houston’s inner city. We change lives with the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.
We have two locations:
- Gano Mission Center
- Joy Mission Center
Click here to see all our programs.
Mission Centers also serves as a connection for churches, organizations, and individuals seeking mission opportunities in Houston. This happens through volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals at our existing mission centers and through our missionary training program.
Mission Centers of Houston is a subsidiary corporation of Union Baptist Association. We are a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization supported by individuals, churches, and grants. All gifts to Mission Centers are tax-deductible according to IRS guidelines.
Board of Directors
- Marc Schwartz, Chairman
- Andy Armstrong
- Royce Measures
- Bob Stroupe
- Pat Pollan
- Chris Smith
- Andrew Armour
For nearly 60 years, Mission Centers of Houston has worked to transform the lives of people living in Houston’s inner city and the people who come here to serve.
In the early 1940s, an existing ministry to children and families was moved from the Primera Iglesia Bautista Houston to the Mexican Goodwill Center. This center operated primarily as a ministry to impoverished Latinos in Houston’s Near Northside. In 1960, the center became the property of the Union Baptist Association and later was renamed the Fletcher Mission Center. Mildred McWhorter, also known as Miss Mac, was appointed Director of the center. For the next 30 years, Miss Mac’s name would be synonymous with inner-city Baptist mission work in Houston.
In 1965, another center was opened on Avenue F in the Magnolia Park neighborhood near the Houston Ship Channel. Seeing the joy on the faces of neighborhood children whenever they arrived, Miss Mac named it the Joy Fellowship Center. During the 1960s and 1970s, Mildred McWhorter and other volunteers visited the two neighborhoods, learning the needs of the residents and developing a variety of programs to address those needs, including after-school ministries for children and teenagers, food and clothing distribution, ESL and GED classes, job placement, and of course, Bible study and worship. Over time, trust of the communities was gained, and the Lord rewarded prayers and hard work with very fruitful ministries.
In 1980, the Gano Mission Center became part of the Baptist Mission Centers. This sizable property included the historic three-story building that provided housing for visiting missionaries.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, Miss Mac became a well-known missionary speaker and promoter of home missions. She retired as Director of the Baptist Mission Centers in December of 1992.
Over the next decade, various directors worked to advance the ministry and raise funds for future work. During this time the missionary intern program began. In May 2007, the Mildred McWhorter Missionary Building opened for administrative offices and to house the missionary interns. The development of ministerial students through the summer program has become a hallmark of our ministry. In 2008, the BMC Board of Directors voted to change the name to “Mission Centers of Houston.” This opened the door for other denominations and organizations to join us in our mission work. In 2015, the Fletcher and Gano Centers consolidated, and now all ministries to Houston’s Near Northside are housed at the Gano Center.
In April of 2016, Rev. Jeff Chadwick was appointed as Mission Centers new Executive Director. He is responsible for providing the overall leadership, guidance, and vision for the organization and is the main point of contact and liaison between Mission Centers and its various ministries and business partners.
Looking to the future, we see the landscape in the Near Northside of Houston near the Gano Mission Center changing as old homes are being torn down and replaced with modern townhouses and condos. This is forcing the under-resourced residents in the area to move out as property taxes and rent skyrocket with increasing property values. Mission Centers has begun working with church plants and networks in the area as partners in ministry to continue reaching people for Christ as the ministry model in the area changes over the next five to ten years. While this happens, we will continue to provide our traditional ministries and services to help those who have come to rely on us and who need it most.
The Magnolia Park Area of Houston’s Greater East End, where our Joy Mission Center is located, is very stable in terms of demographics, but the physical and spiritual needs continue to escalate. Beginning in June of 2017, Mission Centers is adding an area missionary to our staff whose primary focus will be reaching out from the Joy Center to the many neighborhoods in the area. We will be seeking to focus outward through identifying and raising up lay leaders who will form and lead neighborhood groups. These leaders will identify those who need help and spiritual guidance which will in turn allow us to work with our mission partners to provide what is needed. The Joy Mission Center will serve as a hub for gathering the groups together, training and encouraging leaders, providing educational and Biblical training, and coordinating mission work in the area. The facilities will be utilized to provide a centralized location from which these ministries will occur.
As Mission Centers of Houston continues to adapt to meet the changing needs of the inner city in the areas we have traditionally served, we will be well positioned to expand our mission work into new areas of the city where the Lord leads us. We believe that the model of ministry we will be carrying out through the Joy Center will be the model that the Lord will let us to take to new areas of Houston in the future.