By Pastor Wm. Troy Sheppard

   In accordance with the pattern laid down in God's word, the Citrus Missionary Baptist Church of Inverness, Florida was organized on Saturday April 6, 1974, by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ vested in the Calvary Baptist Church of Tampa, Florida in the home of Elder and Mrs. Virgil Davis with seven charter members. Other churches participating at the organization were Gardenville Baptist of Gibsonton, Florida and Naples Park Baptist of Naples, Florida. Baptist ministers participating were Elders W. W. Wilkerson, J. H. Mattox, Bill Mayes, E. W. Hall, Wayne Crow, M. E. Wacaser, and John L. Wade. Baptist Deacons participating were Francis M. Simmons, and C. J. Weeks.

    After the church was formally organized into a body of Christ she voted to call Brother Virgil Davis as her pastor and then called for his ordination. Brother Davis was interrogated by the above mentioned council and after being satisfied of His soundness in faith and practice, the council ordained him to the full gospel ministry with the laying on of hands. Elder Crow offered the ordination prayer; Elder Mayes presented a Bible to Brother Davis; and, Elder Mattox preached a charge to the new church and her pastor.

    On Wednesday April 10, 1974, the newly formed church held her first formal business meeting. At that time she chose the name "Citrus Missionary Baptist Church".

    On April 5, 1977, the church purchased an acre of land from Mr. Wilcox on the corner of S. R. 581 (Turner Camp Road) and Entwood Court and soon had it cleared and built a house of worship. The church met in the home of Brother and Sister Davis until it moved into its newly erected meeting-house in the early part of 1979. In 1982 the church built a fellowship hall. In May of 1999, the church purchased additional land. By God's goodness she owns her property free and clear.

    The church has a rich history of being mission minded. She has supported the spread of the gospel and church planting at home and abroad. She has supported Baptist mission efforts in many places including Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Nigeria, Alaska, St. Johns Island, Peru, and Australia and the Yukon. At the present time the church supports her pastor full time, supports mission efforts at home and supports mission works in Romania, Trinidad, and Guyana.

    In March of 1995, Elder Virgil Davis resigned as the pastor of the church, and the church began to seek the Lord's leadership for a new pastor. Contact was made with Elder Wm. Troy Sheppard and on May 7, 1995 he preach as a candidate for pastor. The following Sunday the church voted to extend a call to Brother Sheppard to come and pastor the church. Brother Sheppard accepted the church's call and officially took the office of pastor July 9, 1995, having moved his membership to the church a few weeks before from the Grace Baptist Church of Rincon, Georgia. Brother Sheppard is the current pastor of the church.

    Presently the church is blessed to have in it membership two ordained ministers besides the Pastor: Elders Robert F. Clark and Virgil Davis. She is also blessed to have two ordained men serve as her deacons: Brother Lewis F. Posey and Brother John A. Wolfertz. Over the years the church has had the pleasure of having other ministers preaching under her authority including Elders Justin Meier, Howard Sheppard, and Herb Wilson.

    The Lord has been pleased to bless the Citrus Missionary Baptist Church with spiritual, physical, and financial growth without a compromise to the truth of God's Word. At present she has a good number of members, regular visitors, and seems to be enjoying a spirit of love and unity. The prayer of the pastor and the church is that that the Lord's gracious and merciful favor will be extended to them until he comes for them, and that they will strive to be the pastor and church that He would have them be.

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