HOUSTON – Many parents live a lifetime working to build a fortune to leave a financial inheritance to their children. While the road is narrow, amongst those that labor and toil to leave a spiritual inheritance for their children to acquire or mirror. Personally, I believe that there is no greater inheritance that a parent can leave a child than to equip them with the essential tools to ensure that they will have eternal soul security. Apparently, this thought is one that I shared with the late, Bishop David Allen, Sr. For it was just six weeks prior to his passing, that he commissioned his son, Pastor David Allen, Jr. to lead Christ Temple Apostolic Church (CTAC), in his stead. Continue reading to learn more about this three-generation spiritual relay, conceived in the heart of Houston’s Fifth Ward.
History of Christ Temple Apostolic Church (CTAC)
In 1937, eight individuals, inspired by the Spirit of God and led by founder/pastor A. J. Patterson, established Pentecostal Assembly in Houston during the Great Depression. They built the initial edifice of lumber from apple crate boxes purchased from Southern Pacific Railroad. During the years of 1937-1976, the church relocated several times and engaged in impactful ministry under Senior District Elder Patterson. On July 12, 1976, CTAC became incorporated and growth necessitated a building program. The following year, building improvements were completed and the building was dedicated.
On March 27, 1984, Elder Patterson entered his heavenly home to be with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through his many years of hard work, fasting, and praying he left a profound legacy. He and the ministry of CTAC established 12 churches and two outreach ministries, edified more than 2,500 members, and helped countless souls receive their salvation.
The next month, District Elder David Allen, Sr., (stepson of Elder A.J. Patterson) who had served eight years as Assistant Pastor, was chosen as the shepherd. In May of 1984, installation services were held for Pastor Allen Sr. and a new era for CTAC began. Four years afterwards, a new worship center was constructed as God continued to expand the ministry.
During the time period of 1995-2010, Pastor David Allen Sr. was elevated to Suff. Bishop. Being a trail blazer, he established many firsts in CTAC’s ministry which continue today. CTAC ministries include a prison outreach, food pantry, outreach to local small ministries, praise dancing, and the church’s popular Christmas Cantata. After 25 years of pastoring, the Lord prompted Bishop Allen to name his son, Pastor David Allen, Jr. as successor.
Pastor David Allen, Jr.
David Allen, Jr. was born in San Antonio, Texas to Carol Ann and David Allen, Sr. He was one of five boys reared in a religious home. His family relocated to Houston in 1976. A year later, he graduated from M. B. Smiley High School. Upon graduating, he enrolled at the University of Houston and studied Engineering. Although he did not complete his degree, he was involved in an engineering program which paved the way for him to advance into the industry. He started out as a draft person that eventually evolved into a civil/structural computer aide designer (CAD). He went on to work in this capacity for over 25-years. His role as a civil/structural computer aide designer afforded him the opportunity to serve in lead roles as a CAD coordinator on major projects both domestically and abroad in Caracas, Venezuela.
After retiring from the engineering field in 2004, he came on board to serve full-time as Church Administrator at CTAC. On February 20, 2010, he was installed as Pastor of CTAC by his father Bishop David Allen, Sr. This installment solidified him as the third pastor of the church in eight decades.
CTAC in 2017 – “Write the Vision, Make it Plain”
Pastor Allen has proven to be a gifted teacher, who is passionate about discipleship. During our interview, he shared his vision for the 80-year-old religious pillar in the community. He said, “We have been working to transition the ministry from what we call a,’ traditional ministry’. We are Apostolic or Pentecostal, but when I say ‘tradition’, I’m not talking about necessarily – denomination. I’m just talking about – the way we do church and ministry. In doing that, we are trying to cast a broader net and be appealing to all ages.” To aid that agenda, CTAC has shortened its service to two-hours and is working to transition to a 90-minute service. Another phase the church is implementing is, relabeling its’ Sunday School classes to LIFE (Discipleship) classes, which will be held on Wednesday evenings. After which the church will seek to move the Sunday service times up, at an attempt to appeal to a broader audience.
Furthermore, Pastor Allen stressed the importance of having a strong presence within the community. Through his leadership, CTAC has started to identify and partner with four existing non-profit organizations in the community. As a result, already they have made great strides within the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Organization. The Barbara Jordan Endeavors Ambassadors S.T.E.M. Program provides scholarships to high school students with disabilities. The foundation encourages, empowers and equips students to become self-sufficient, discover their maximum potential and achieve their academic goals. Recently, Pastor David and Lady Regina Allen were recognized at the Barbara Jordan Endeavors 3rd Annual Unique Blue Carpet Scholarship Ceremony. The organization boasts that through their efforts they have, “raised more in donations than they have in the 17-year history of the organization”.
CTAC has also with partnered with Randy and Michelle Harden of The Naomi House. The Naomi’s House is an organization which seeks to empower incarcerated women and women exiting prison. The organization’s objective is to, “increase recidivism by promoting individual responsibility and accountability through life skills and behavioral services; helping one person, one family and one community at a time, ultimately reducing crime and incarceration.” Pastor Allen expressed that the organization has been doing a phenomenal job and they are delighted to be a part of its reach.
Fresh Sprit Wellness for Women, Inc. is another effort that CTAC has partnered with in the fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Fresh Spirit was founded by Dr. Conte M. Terrell, who is an ordained minister. The organization is dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence through means of: counseling, empowerment coaching, educational classes, group therapy and workshops, and financial assistance.
Last month, the CTAC held an Entrepreneur Workshop which targeted high school students. This effort was led by Casuel Pitts, another partner of the church. At the event, local Black business owners came and provided insight on how to start and operate a business. A few weekends out of the month they host seminars to high school students on how to create a business, from the ground up. Pastor Allen emphasized that this initiative is an effort to tackle poverty from an educational standpoint. In their appeal to reach the community, the church has raised several thousand dollars in support of these varying organizations. Pastor Allen expressed his sincere desire to ensure that residents know that, “the church is not just a building – but a resource center”.
Tentatively, CTAC is working to launch their Multi-Purpose Center. The Center will house sites for each of the non-profit organizations that they have partnered with. Additionally, they are planning to incorporate: GED training classes, a School of Business, a banquet hall, daycare center, classrooms, a food bank, after-school care and financial literacy classes through their LIFE Foundation organization.
To this day, Pastor Allen honors the legacy that his father left. In reminiscing of him, he spoke with warm words of reverence. His expressions immediately resonated that his father was his ultimate mentor and inspiration. He said, “My father was a well man, full of wisdom. Though he was illegitimately born to an orphaned child; when he gave his life to Christ as a teenager, he broke that cycle. He raised five boys and all of us in church.” He continued, “He was a very good man… He was a role model, example and a great pastor. He mentored me up to adulthood and fatherhood.” “I can’t point to any other person that has had a greater impact on me than him,” he added.
In rendering advice to members of the African-American community, Pastor Allen believes that it is important to be, “proactive in the lives of people outside of your biological family.” He feels that the best way to reach this goal is to become affiliated with the local church. Although often underestimated, he declares that the church is still the backbone of the Black community. He says, “Those of us that really do have a heart for our people and the community should get plugged into a local church and be part of the answer. The local church is comprised of people who are willing to get involved and they are only as good as the people that are running it. So you got to get plugged into a local church and figure out where you can make your largest contribution; roll your sleeves up – put the boots on the ground and be a part of the solution”
Pastor David and Lady Regina Allen are celebrating 35 years of marriage this month. I was privileged to speak with Lady Allen briefly, during our interview. In doing so, she expressed her delight in sharing in on the mantle that has been passed down to her husband. She fervently declared the church’s mission statement, “Disciplining and Empowering Lives for the Kingdom of God.” She then informed that the church is a well-rounded, family-oriented ministry. Lady Allen said, “We have Children, Men, Women and Marriage ministries working here to be an asset within the community.” Pastor and Lady Allen have been blessed with three children: David, III, Jonathan (Jennifer) Allen and Meagan (Josip Juric). All of whom lead productive lives and are active in the ministry.
Christ Temple Apostolic Church is located at 6202 Lockwood Dr., 77026. For more information or details regarding the ministry contact (713) 635-1301 or visit the website at www.Christtemple.cc. Service times are Wednesday, (Bible Study) 7:30-8:30pm and Sunday Morning Worship commences promptly at 11:00am.