“Because I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I must do what He would want me to do rather than what I had rather do; therefore, I must tell you that the Lord had assigned me to a new work.” So began a draft to a letter that Pastor Jerry Prevo wrote to the members of the Pine Crest Baptist Church in Signal Mountain, TN.
Jerry Prevo had a small, but growing ministry in Tennessee. The Pine Crest Baptist church grew from a handful of faithful, to over 200 in attendance in the two years of ministry. Many may have justified that God was blessing the ministry so as to convince Pastor Prevo to continue at Signal Mountain, but that was not how he saw it. He felt God wanted him to move on to something else; a mission field maybe. So for six months, Pastor Prevo put this to prayer.
In late summer of 1971, a small and steady outreach in Anchorage, AK was in need of a full-time pastor. Don White, who felt God had called him out of Ohio to begin an Anchorage mission known as the Bible Baptist Church, came across Pastor Prevo’s name in a search to locate a potential minister for the Bible Baptist congregation. Though they never met, White was convinced that Pastor Prevo was God’s choice to lead this church.
A trip to Anchorage, and a belief that God was calling him to Alaska, seemed to be all Pastor Prevo needed to place his wife Carol, his son Allen, and what possessions they could into a minivan and head north to Alaska. It was a cold day in October 1971 and snow covered the ground when Rev. Jerry Prevo, his wife Carol, and son Allen arrived in Anchorage, Alaska. This was a big day in the Prevo’s life. It brought them face to face with a new church, new people, and a fresh challenge in the Lord’s work. That was 46 years ago.
It is hard to believe that from these humble beginnings would eventually become America’s most northern mega-church, occupying a 150,000 sq. ft. building, employing over 100 people, producing three radio stations and one TV station, the largest bus ministry in Alaska, and a major influence in the politics and culture of Alaska; all because Jerry Prevo believed God had bigger plans for him and he was faithful enough to trust God to complete them.
Pastor Prevo’s leadership seemed to take over as soon as he began his influence over Bible Baptist. By the following spring, membership was up and there was almost an immediate need to seek a larger location.
Two projects that spurned growth were an assertive program to have the largest bus ministry and the best attended Sunday school program in Alaska. Within a year, Bible Baptist was on the road to these goals. By 1973, the Bible Baptist congregation had outgrown their building on Debarr Road and moved into their new facility on Northern Lights and Baxter and has been since known as the Anchorage Baptist Temple.