The Bates Family Is Starting Their Own Church

The Bates family, who started off as sidekicks to the Duggars on 19 Kids and Counting and then got a spinoff called United Bates of America, are copying the Duggars in another way: opening their own church. The Duggars have church services held at their home, which probably helps them get some kind of tax exemption. Bates family patriarch Gil Bates, however, will be a) preaching to people other than his own family members and b) holding services somewhere besides his own house. Wife Kelly Bates wrote about the new life change on the family’s official blog:

About 18 years ago, Gil walked a little church aisle one Sunday morning when our first pastor, Mark Williams, preached a message: “Vessels of Honor.” Gil told the Lord that morning that he would preach whenever the Lord opened the doors of opportunity. Gil has never asked to speak anywhere, but over the years on occassion, God has allowed him to preach at various churches. In recent years, several families approached asking if God had been directing Gil to pastor a church. It’s certainly easier to “attend” church, so we hid from the idea of such a huge responsibility and undertaking. Nonetheless, Gil began speaking to Pastor Gwinn about the tugging at his heart. God has a way of prompting and prodding us to do something that we are in no ways capable of doing on our own! Pastor Gwinn, with his typical exhorting mannerisms, said, “Boy, hurry up and get to work! And make sure you start the services on time! Don’t be late!”

Three weeks ago, with the generous help of our loving Still Waters Baptist Church family we met at the brand new Bible Baptist Church for our very first service! We are temporarily meeting in the conference room of Holiday Inn Express in Clinton, Tn., but we know God has a wonderful future in store for us… through the mountain top experiences and through the valleys!

We’ve already seen His hand of provision in so many ways! Our Still Waters Church family and Pastor Gwinn donated our keyboard! Pastor Mike Samples of New Testament Baptist donated 100 hymnals! With mixed emotions of leaving our precious friends at Still Waters, we rejoice through our tears to see God faithfully walk us hand in hand, as little children, on this very new step of faith.

So, does this mean that whenever someone asks a Bates family member a theology question, they can answer it because they prayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night?

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  • Becca C.


  • willa

    Why are we giving so much attention to these huge, ultra conservative, self-serving capitalist, paternalistic families?? At first, it was bemusing to see them talk about why all the girls are expected to wear skirts all the time and how great it is to spend half your childhood helping to raise your younger siblings but now I find the undue attention really disgusting. Where is the TLC show about single moms and dads raising intelligent kids on their own? Or the liberal, contracepting family that endorses Obama? It’s high time for a change!!

    • Calona

      The Bates are very nice people! You should meet them before you jump to conclusions. 🙁

  • Ellie Mae

    Yeah, the TV is FLOODED with ultra conservative programs. These people aren’t hurting anyone, and better yet our tax dollars are not supporting them – because they support themselves! Why should we not have Christian families on TV, that have values?? Why give them attention? Because they are doing it right. They’re not on welfare, they are a close knit family, and they have conservative views. That makes them neither glazed eyed zombies, or disgusting human beings.

  • Oh good. Just what the world needs. More Fundie whack jobs preaching their nonsense. When will people stop giving attention whores like this and the Duggers what they want? More attention!

  • Mother

    These people will probably promote their racist bigotry on others. Like their “Christian Wall of Fame” with Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  • bj Smith

    I’ve met the Bates. They are hard working, unselfish, giving people. They make their own living, have 5 children in college. They live by historical Biblical standards. No druggies, homosexual, criminals, or thieves in their family. Maybe being conservative isn’t that bad.

    • Ella

      Homosexuality isn’t a choice, so if they happen to have no homosexual children, then that was purely by chance. I find it kind of rich that you sit here implying that everyone should respect their way of life, yet you judge a certain group of people that were born without a choice. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?