Dr. Tom Berry considers it one of the highest of life’s honors to have been called by God into His service. In June 2002, he celebrated 48 years of full time service for the Lord Jesus Christ. Tommy Gene, as his family called him as a child, was not a likely candidate to be called of God into the ministry.
He was born of very moral, nominal church-going parents in the wild-west town of Fort Worth, Texas. However, it was when the family moved to Dallas, that a neighbor inquired about his interest in joining a church softball league. The rules required that he must attend the church. It was there that God spoke to his heart and even at the young age of eleven, he realized his need of salvation and the forgiveness of sin. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and became a follower of Jesus Christ.
Immediately upon his conversion he sensed God’s call to the ministry. He was not knowledgeable at that young age to understand what it meant. It was not until his sixteenth year that he acknowledged God’s call and made a full surrender to God’s purpose for his life.
During his teenage years, the family moved to the east Texas town of Canton. Canton was a farming community, and on the farm he faced many challenges. One of his greatest thrills was having his own horse, which he bought with money earned from growing cucumbers.
While there, he met a preacher, Pastor Richard Hankins, later to become the founder and pastor of the Columbus Baptist Temple in Columbus Ohio. Reverend Hankins was used by God to make a great impact on his young life.
Soon he was in training for the ministry at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Later he transferred to Bob Jones University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In later years he was honored by this same university with a Doctor of Divinity degree.
It was at Bob Jones University he met and fell in love with Jeanette Thomas of Indiana. Both felt that God had brought them together and they were married three days after his graduation. God blessed them with two boys and a girl, Daniel, Richard and Dianne. Dan and Richard brought into the family unit two precious girls, Kathy Anderson of Georgia and Sandy Shepherd of Maryland. The family now includes six grandchildren.
Tom was ordained to the ministry July 1, 1954 at the Central Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. He was already involved in his first mission with the Gospel Light Evangelist Team which was made up of his Bob Jones classmates. They spent the first summer in Jamesport, Missouri.
His classmates returned to college, and God led Tom to become the first fulltime pastor of a small 103-year-old church known as Bethesda Baptist of Brownsburg, Indiana.
Tom and Jeanette, with baby Dan, served Bethesda for two years before launching out into full time evangelism. Forming the Tom Berry Evangelistic Team they traveled the country preaching revival meetings for three and one half years, living out of a suitcase.
God directed what seemed like a coincidence; Danny would soon need schooling, which meant Jeanette would no longer be able to travel in evangelism. God used these circumstances to lead to a ministry as pastor of the Faith Baptist Church of Avon, Indiana.
God’s blessing was upon Faith Baptist Church of Avon. Hundreds received Christ as their Savior and many were called into full time ministry as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. A deaf ministry was founded that made an impact on the deaf community there. As the attendance grew, building programs were initiated to accommodate the growth.
While pastoring at Faith Baptist, Tom also taught for eight years at Indiana Bible College (which later merged and became Heritage Baptist University) In 1991, Heritage bestowed on him the Doctor of Humanities degree.
After eleven and one half years at Faith Baptist, God led Baptist Bible Church of Elkton, Maryland to call Tom Berry as pastor. This included becoming President of Elkton Christian Schools, the overseer of Miracle Acres Youth Camp, a printing ministry, and a fleet of twenty seven buses. During this time the church sponsored Elkton Baptist College with Tom serving as President.
In the midst of all these many duties he also served on the board of Maryland Association of Christian Schools for fifteen years and as president the last three years. He also served on several mission boards during this time and conducted revivals, seminars, and conferences.
Tom became President and Executive Director of Salvation Now, Incorporated of Mineral, Virginia, a Christian organization that supported national preachers in India and the Philippines. It also conducted a ministry to alcoholics locally.
Tom has always had a heart for missions. He led Faith Baptist church to become a “mission minded” church, and led Baptist Bible Church to support over 80 missionaries on a monthly basis. He has personally visited numerous mission fields conducting evangelistic campaigns and conferences in Mexico, Barbados, West Indies, Romania, India, Peru and Haiti.
Tom served with Rev.. Don Kyer, in setting up a Bible Institute in Timasoara, Romania. He traveled to Romania many times to teach modules to the young Romanian preachers. After serving nearly 27 years Tom retired as pastor of Baptist Bible Church
In 1994 Tom founded a non-profit organization called Truth Helpers, Incorporated. Truth Helpers, currently supports ministries in Romania and Haiti. In 1997, Truth Helpers, Inc. founded Truth Chapel Community Church and Tom served as their first pastor. His son, Richard, succeeded him in January 2002.
In 2004, Healing Water Bible Church, Intl, asked Tom to serve as their interim pastor. He agreed, if they would continue in their search for a Filipino pastor. After almost four years, he continues to serve with the church ministry.
At age 75, Tom, along with Jeanette is still actively serving the Lord. God has opened doors for them to continue to be a help with mission projects both at home and abroad. God has miraculously opened a ministry using the Internet. truthhelpers.com enables Tom to share his experience and his unique Bible knowledge of 54 years by posting sermons, e-books, and devotionals. Ministries providing help in virtually all areas are also being posted.
Tom is finding that serving the Lord is as thrilling now as it was in the beginning, and God has blessed him with good health and vitality to continue …until the Lord takes him home.