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It is the mission of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church to be a worshiping, witnessing and welcoming congregation committed to a spirit of excellence in the praise of the Almighty God through Jesus Christ; the Christian Education of children, youth and adults for the maturation in the faith; and worldwide ministry for the promotion of peace and justice in every aspect of life. To this end, all people will be touched and transformed by the liberating power of God’s Holy Spirit.

The theme of the church is: “Where We Worship Jesus Christ and Minister to the Total Person”

About the Pastor 

  The Reverend Dr. Marcus D. Cosby, the third child born to the late Mr. Rogers Cosby and Mrs. Bobbie J. Cosby, serves as the Senior Pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. A proud native of Chicago, Illinois and a product of Emmanuel Baptist Church where Dr. L.K. Curry served as pastor, Cosby received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and English from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Master of Divinity Degree in Homiletics and Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia and the Doctor of Ministry Degree in Homiletics from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.

Dr. Cosby is married to his high school sweetheart, Mrs. Audrey Marie Cosby, and they have been blessed with three beautiful daughters, Adrienne Marie, Ashley Marie and Aliyah Marie and two sons, Marcus D., II and Matthew D. Cosby.

As the successor to the Founding Pastor of Wheeler Avenue, Dr. William A. Lawson, Pastor Cosby has been blessed to continue the ministry of this intentionally intergenerational congregation in the inner city of Houston, Texas since 2004, having served as Associate Pastor since 1998. With four Sunday worship services and a membership of nearly 13,000, he has led the congregation to ensure its impact both on and far beyond the church campus with the inception of the Wheeler Avenue Christian Academy, serving children from 6 weeks old through the fifth grade; by opening a transitional housing facility for homeless single mothers in the Third Ward community of Houston; through cultivating a missional outreach in multiple villages in South Africa; and maintaining a passion for creatively impacting the lives of the forsaken and forgotten wherever they may be found.

As a consequence of his passion for qualitative preaching, Dr. Cosby has committed himself to equipping preachers for the work of the ministry. In addition to training the more than 100 ministers who comprise the Clergy Team of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, he serves as Adjunct Professor of Homiletics at Houston Graduate School of Theology and has taught the same at the Houston extension program of the ITC. In 2008, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. And in 2013 he became the Founder and CEO of Preaching with Power and Authority Ministries, a corporation committed to the pedagogy and promotion of relevant biblical preaching for the 21st Century.

Additionally, Dr. Cosby serves as a member of the Board of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, the Home Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the Fisk University Board of Trustees and the General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Inc. He has served on the Board of Directors of the African American Pulpit; the Houston Area Urban League, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the Texas Commission for Community Service and Volunteerism, and as an Advisory Board Member of The Gardner C. Taylor Preaching Archives and Listening Room in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and a Life Member of the NAACP.

Among the gifts and talents with which God has blessed Pastor Cosby, none are more meaningful and fulfilling to him than preaching and teaching. He has been blessed to carry his ministry across the country and on the Mother Continent of Africa. He has lectured, preached and taught in numerous and varied settings, including conferences, conventions, retreats, revivals and on university and seminary campuses. Finally, Dr. Cosby seeks to encourage and empower all humanity through the timeless and transformative truths found in the Word of God.

Church History

In March of 1962, thirteen pioneering worshipers assembled in the lounge of Texas Southern University’s Baptist Student Union for the sole purpose of establishing an ecclesiastical form of expression through which the worship of God and service to mankind could co-exist.  The congregation currently known as Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church became the avenue through which those assembled would express their faith and extend hope to others.  With resounding certainty, the journey from June 3, 1962, the official founding date for the church, to June 5, 2006 has been a grace-filled venture.

In His inimitable Grace, God has supplied every need for the developing congregation.  From the trustworthy courage of the original thirteen to the undaunted hope of over 12,000 currently, God has continued to faithfully increase the number of sheep in the flock.  His all-sufficient Grace has likewise been the efficacious force propelling each ministry established and all manifestations of progress, materially or spiritually.

It was by means of the favor of God that the Southern Baptists graced the church with her first sanctuary, later known as “The Chapel,” in 1962.  This place of worship was provided to the church at a cost significantly below its market value and with a zero percent interest rate!  The growth of the Wheeler Avenue Complex over the years has, indeed, been a testament to the incomparable deeds of our God, for He has favored His flock with a ministry complex consisting of a prayer chapel, a scout house, a sanctuary for worship, a shipping and receiving facility, and the William A. Lawson Christian Life Center and Community Life Center, all of which were consecrated for the work of ministry during the 41st year after the inception of the church.

Representing the Trinitarian reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Pastor William A. Lawson led the congregation to conceptualize ministry outreach to the “triangle” that borders the geographical locale of the church in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas.  As God’s Grace abounds, the original unrelenting commitment to shine the light of Jesus throughout the Third Ward is continuously evolving in the service of the Wheeler Avenue ministries.  This expansive thrust for ministry began early in the history of the church through the initiation of the Mission and Mercy Program in 1963.  The Infant School, founded by Pastor and Mrs. William A. Lawson in 1968, followed.  To further enlarge the impact of outreach ministries, the church became involved in a multi-faceted project through the Central City Comprehensive Community Center in 1974.  This ministry offered a voter registration program and other services to the community under the executive leadership of first lady Audrey Lawson.

Developments during this grace-filled journey have been directed toward the spiritual nurturing of children and youth as a primary focus.  Accordingly, the church provides ministry activities including the Rites of Passage Program for young males, the Transformation Program for young females, a Children’s Church and other special ministries for youth and college students.  These ministries are dedicated to the training of young people in the principles of the Christian faith.

After forty-two years of spiritual leadership in the congregation of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Founding Pastor, the Reverend William A. Lawson, announced in the anniversary worship on June 6, 2004 that he was prepared to pass the staff to another Shepherd.  Over the summer of 2004, he prepared the congregation for transition.  His sermons reflected biblical patterns of passing the mantle. Pastor Lawson admonished the congregation to enter a season of consecrated prayer and to seek God’s guidance in determining the next leader. He further led the congregation in a I Corinthians 14:40 pattern:  “. . . to do everything in a fitting and orderly manner” (NIV).  As God had preordained in His will and through His benevolence, the congregation elected the pulpit committee’s sole candidate, the Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby.  In August of 2004, Pastor Lawson announced to the congregation that Dr. Cosby had received nearly 100% of the vote and was, therefore, the Pastor-Elect of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

On September 1, 2004, the Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby began service as the second pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and was officially installed on October 24, 2004.  Following the suggestions which were generated from the strategic planning efforts of trustees Robert Jones, Cheryl Lawson and Penny Nobles under the pastorate of Rev. Lawson, Pastor Cosby began to establish a ministry blueprint for the twenty first century.  He led the congregation in an understanding of the five purposes of the church: evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry/mission and worship.  He encouraged worshipers to intensify their efforts toward realizing a deeper and fuller life of faith, as he led the church in studies of faith formation and spiritual formation, and he inspired over two hundred congregants to attend a midday and evening Bible Study on Wednesdays.

Encouraging a decentralized approach to conducting the work of the ministry in a theocentric context, Pastor Cosby invites the ministry staff to assist him in nurturing, guiding, and providing for the needs of the flock.  After considerable prayer, the Pastor was led to establish the Congregational Care and Development Ministry and appointed Rev. Dr. Patricia R. Williams to this assignment.  In other developments, each staff person, ministry and administrative, attended a staff retreat in January of 2005 to prayerfully consider how the staff might function in a ministry environment where Excellence is the Standard.  Rev. Dr. Donald Cole of the Krist Samaritan Center, a Marriage and Family Therapist with expertise in organization and family systems, facilitated this activity.

The grace-filled journey is assuming an intimate family character, turning inward to uplift and strengthen the home flock.  Two ministry developments to encourage and celebrate the Grace of God within the flock are Faith-Filled Friday, which celebrates the steadfast trust in God demonstrated by a congregant, and Charter Day, which commemorates the inception of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.  The Pastor’s Council of Elders, Deacon Chair, Dr. Tophas Anderson, Deaconess Chair, Mrs. Penelope Nobles, and Trustee Chair, Mrs. Shirley C. Evans. provide wisdom and guidance for the building up of the family, in concert with Pastor Cosby.  Concurrently, as in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the church is experiencing a phenomenal increase in membership.


The church meets at 3826 Wheeler Ave. and Sunday service times are as follows:

First Service : 7:15 a.m.

Second Service: 9 a.m.

Third  Service: 11 a.m.

Fourth Service: 1 p.m.

For more information about Wheeler Avenue call 713-748-5240 or visit the church website at