Although retiring from Woodridge Baptist Church, Pastor Greg Wallace plans to remain busy. Photo by Susan McFarland

Greg Wallace, 68, senior pastor of Woodridge Baptist Church in Kingwood, is retiring after 31 years of ministry, 24 as pastor at Woodridge. When he joined the church 25 years ago, it was little more than a parcel of land and a church with a handful of members. Today, the church has close to 2,000 members and the church complex is valued at $18 million.
Wallace grew up one of eight children on his family’s farm in Searcy, Ark. Wallace said he left Searcy to join the Navy in March 1969 and never went back. 
“I spent three years and three months in the Navy as a nuclear component welder and fitter and served on the USS Enterprise. After I got out of the Navy, I stopped in Houston where my brother lived. I stayed and met my wife, Karon,” he said.
Wallace worked various jobs in the area and earned a bachelor's degree in religious studies from Southwest Bible College and Seminary. In March of 1983, at the age of 35, Wallace decided to heed the call and pursue becoming a pastor. Wallace worked Tuesday through Friday and went to seminary on Mondays. His first church was in Childress, Texas. The family spent two years and three months there before coming back to this area, where he was a founding pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atascocita, where he stayed until July of 1991.
In 1991, Wallace went back into the business world, working at a transportation and logistics company and also for the Baptist General Convention of Texas on a part-time basis. A good friend asked him to come to Kingwood to preach at Willow Terrace Baptist Church. 
“We didn’t have a church, just the piece of property. Two of the families were customers of mine and they asked me to come and be the bi-vocational pastor. I came here to be the pastor for six months and have been here ever since. I also stayed in the business world until January of 2000. During the time of much of the growth of our church, I was working full-time and preaching and giving leadership to the church on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” said Wallace.
Today, the church has 63,000 square feet of fellowship and meeting space and owns 20 acres off Northpark. Wallace said the church has family activities every day and also sponsors frequent mission trips, many of which he and Karon, his wife of 44 years, have attended. “We have celebrated our wedding anniversary on mission trips in Panama, Kenya, Mexico and Poland. We want to hit all the continents. Karon has one more and I have two to go,” said Wallace.
Wallace has been on mission trips to Kenya 25 times. “I went three times a year for six or seven years. We've been all over the world to provide eye care through a ministry I co-founded called 'Sight Ministries International.' Members of the church recently went to Guatemala on a mission trip and provided 450 eye exams in just one day. We always take optometrists and we carry lenses and frames and build glasses there. It’s amazing. We gave one lady a pair of glasses, and that was the first time she had seen her baby. During a trip, we usually give out 700-1,000 pair of glasses. The majority of people have never seen an eye professional in their life. It’s great to give the glasses, but the better part is that with every pair of glasses we also give the Gospel. The real joy is growing the Kingdom,” he said.
As for his plans after retirement, Wallace said he will continue writing and training on evangelism and hopes to spend a whole lot of time with his five grandbabies and Karon and hopefully get to play a lot golf. 
“I was a good golfer before and with my competitive nature, I want to spend some time on lessons and get my handicap down to the single digits, if possible,” he said. The couple also plans to try to knock out the continents they have not yet visited and are planning a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. In his spare time, Wallace likes collecting Remington statues. “I’m a big Western fan. I love Western books, movies. I have leather-bound Louis L’Amour books in my personal library,” he said.
Wallace is reflective about retiring: “I’m going to miss being here, coming to work, the camaraderie and being the pastor. Everybody has seasons of life, and I’m headed into another one. Kingwood and our church are getting younger and younger and our church needs a younger pastor. It’s time for a new guy to step in. If I’ve grown the Kingdom during my time here, I’m happy.”
There will be a retirement celebration in honor of Wallace’s 31 years of ministry on Sunday, Dec. 4, with a reception taking place in the Woodridge church gym immediately after.

Susan McFarland
Author: Susan McFarlandEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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I am a northerner by birth, but got to Texas as quick as I could more than a dozen years ago. I am very curious by nature and love peppering people with questions for Tribune stories. In my spare time I sell real estate, write my travel blog, and hang out with my family and my adorable Boston Terrier, Charlie. I cover local businesses, special interest topics, and area events.

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